3 Tips to Store Honey and the Truth About Its Expiry Date
Here’s a fact: it’s better not to store honey in the refrigerator.
Keep them in a cool and dry place instead, and be assured that honey doesn’t exactly expire (i.e. outlast the mandatory government food expiry label) if it’s stored well.
Honey is antibacterial with a long shelf life without the need to be refrigerated as long as it can be stored at room temperature. Read more below on why it is better not to keep honey in the refrigerator and why it doesn’t spoil easily.
How Do I Store Honey?
- Store honey in its original bottle
- Keep in a cool, dry storage place, out of direct sunlight (for example, in a closed cabinet)
- There is no need to refrigerate them. This prevents crystallisation
If kept in tightly sealed bottles away from sunlight, it can remain in good conditions for years and even decades. This is true for all types of honey.
Can I Store Honey in the Refrigerator?
There’s no need to do so. Storing honey in the refrigerator will make it crystallise and spoil its flavour and taste. It may look solid, thick, and take on a whitish hue.
If it’s kept in the fridge and crystallised into a solid or thick, whitish syrup, it’s not spoilt but crystallised. Take it out and allow it to warm to room temperature in a cool dry place, out of sunlight. Once it’s at room temperature, it will revert back into a liquid form and you can still eat it.
Will Honey Be Spoilt in the Refrigerator?
No, honey will not spoil in the fridge. It crystallises in cold temperatures and the helpful benefits will still be intact. However, the flavour and taste may be different.
Avoid refrigeration to prevent crystallisation. Crystallisation is the natural process of glucose sugar molecules aligning into orderly arrangements known as crystals.
Worry not as crystallisation is not an indicator of spoilage, impurity, age, or quality. It can be reversed by leaving it at room temperature overnight.
Keep it in its original bottle, in glass or high-quality plastic, in your kitchen cabinets, or on the shelves.
Make sure that your manuka honey has the UMF label as the UMF association demands high-quality plastic/glass containers to ensure that the manuka properties are maintained.
Does Honey Expire or Go Bad?
No, it doesn’t spoil nor rot easily. In fact, it can be kept for thousands of years without spoiling. Honey may change color and crystallise over the years but still remain safe to eat. It can be kept for long because of a lack of moisture inside.
Honey doesn’t go bad easily in their storage jars because:
- A low water content. (water is needed for food to decompose)
- The storage jars are usually airtight (lack of fresh air for decomposing)
- It has a very low pH value (acidic food)
- There is a presence of antimicrobial compounds, like hydrogen peroxide (made by an enzyme in the bees’ stomachs)
Why Does My Honey Have an Expiry Date?
Modern government rules mete that a maximum of 5 years expiry date must be stamped on food, no matter the type. Even though it can have a good shelf life of more than 5 years, bee farms can only stamp an expiry date of a maximum of 5 years on the bottles.
Honey is not the only food that has an “expiry date” that’s shorter than its real shelf life. Salt also has an “expiry date”. Here’s a joke on the expiry of food like salt:
What Can I Do if My Honey Crystallises or Appears Solid and Thick?
Honey can crystallise if kept in cold places like refrigerators. You can raise it to room temperate and let it warm slowly. You can also place an open jar in warm water and stir until the crystal dissolves into a liquid.
Archaeologists found many ancient pots of honey made thousands of years ago and they are all still edible.
Modern government food regulations stipulate a maximum of 5 years for the expiry date measured from the date of production. Hence, even though scientific evidence points that honey doesn’t spoil, they still impose a 5-year expiry date to fulfill legal obligations.
In other words, if you find honey in the cabinet with a short expiry date or that has expired, they are probably fine (please do your own due diligence and use sense to gauge whether a food has gone bad when reading the expiry date).
Stay calm and enjoy eating your treats!