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Honey Jar
Honey Jar
| Credit: Monica Buck

Q. Has crystallized honey gone bad?

Chris Buchner

Sunnyvale, California

A. A jar of crystallized honey, though perfectly safe to eat, probably isn’t what you are looking for to sweeten your cup of Earl Grey. Crystallization isn’t an indication that the honey has gone bad. In fact, honey doesn’t have an expiration date. The solidity just means the sweetener is more pure and less processed than the non-crystallized varieties. Some people even prefer it in the solid state because it melts in the mouth more slowly and isn’t as overwhelmingly sweet.

Honey that tends to solidify quickly has a high amount of pollen, which many mass-market makers extract during the filtering process (the result is what is thought of as typical honey). The effect of this processing is a more visually appealing product, says Zeke Freeman, owner of Bee Raw Honey, in New York City. But you lose some of the honey’s flavor and character when the pollen is removed.

If you want your honey runny, set the jar in a pot of water over medium heat until it loosens to a thick consistency. ―Lindsay Funston

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