What sort of honey eater are you? Do you like to dip your spoon into a jar of deliciously runny honey like Ogilvy’s new raw Borage honey, or do you prefer your honey to be set like the raw British Wild Woodland Honey?
Do you know your runny honey from your set honey? Why does honey sometimes set or crystallize? What is this all about? If you buy runny honey and it crystallizes, does it mean there is something wrong? Well, no – quite the opposite. The Honey Hunter explains why.
But first a word about some terms – there are a few words that are used to describe the same phenomenon: set, granulated or crystallized honey all mean the same thing.
Honey crystallizes naturally
Lovers of good raw honey may mistakenly believe that when honey crystallizes or goes solid, it has somehow gone off, but this is not the case and in fact is a sign of quite the opposite.
Most honeys will at some point become crystallized or set and this is a sign that the honey is genuine raw honey and that it has not been filtered or processed because crystallization is helped when honey contains minute particles of pollen, propolis and wax, which in effect act as an anchor for the crystals to form around, and these are contained in raw honey that has not been filtered or heat treated.
The source of nectar is all important
The reason why some honeys crystallize quickly and others do not, and also why different honeys vary in taste and flavour is all down to the type of flower that bees visit to gather nectar.
Nectar is source of sugars that make honey sweet and honey contains two main types of sugar ¬- fructose and glucose. It is the balance between these two types of sugars that this is key to whether honey crystallizes quickly or more slowly.
Honeys that have a higher level of glucose are the ones that crystallize more quickly because glucose is the sugar in honey that crystallizes. Honey is also made up with a small percentage of water and the crystallization takes place when glucose breaks away from the water.
There are other factors involved in this process, such as the temperature and other minerals, enzymes of the honey but the key reason is the level of glucose compared to fructose.
Ogilvy’s Honey has a great range of set and runny honeys that in both the British range and world honey range. Fans of set honey could try the New Zealand Rainforest honey or the Raw British Wildflower Honey.