How to soften hard honey: vintage vs. modern methods

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How to soften hard honey: vintage vs. modern methods

Much to my dismay this weekend, I found that my lovely jar of Croatian honey had crystallized! I am ashamed to admit that in my younger days I actually threw out a half-used jar of honey because it went hard.  (I know, I know, I’m cringing now too!)

But this is totally unnecessary because crystallized honey is still perfectly fine to eat!

In fact, my grocery store in London sells both ‘runny honey’ and ‘crystallized honey’ because some people prefer it that way!  

So if you’ve got a jar of crystallized honey and want to restore it to its runny state, read on…

Can I still eat crystallized (hardened) honey?

Yes!  When your honey has gone hard or solid, it’s simply crystallized.  You can still eat this honey, stir it into your tea, or even use hard honey as a gentle face scrub.

How can I soften hard honey?

There are two techniques that I’m testing today.  The traditional method of heating the honey in a bain-marie, and the faster, modern method of the microwave!

Method 1: How to soften hard honey in hot water

How to: Place your jar of crystallized honey in a bowl of hot water until it softens.

Softening hard honey in a bowl of hot water

Result: After one hour of sitting in the water, the honey was only somewhat softened.  OK, maybe I should have used a bigger bowl. Or better yet, I should have put it in a pan of simmering water, so the water would remain hot.  This method will work, but it’s slow-going.  Make sure to use a hot mitt to move the jar as it may be hot!

Method 2: How to soften hard honey using the microwave

Admittedly, this method worked really well.  I removed the lid and put the honey in the microwave on medium for about 1 minute, and voila, liquid honey!

This worked so well because my honey is in a glass jar.  I don’t think it’s a good idea to microwave plastics (because some chemicals from the plastic may leech into the honey).  So if you’re dealing with a plastic honey container, I suggest the hot water method instead (the water should be hot, but not so hot that it melts the plastic!)

If you do soften honey in the microwave, be careful when you pick up the jar because it will be hot!

What is the best way to soften hard honey?

WELL… the microwave is a lot faster. But I have serious reservations about microwaving high quality honey because it’ll kill all the benefits of having a raw, unprocessed, natural honey!

If you’ve got the time, I recommend the hot water method. Just keep the water below a simmer so you don’t heat the honey too much.

If you read in the comments, readers have lots of creative ideas about how else to soften honey including putting it in the sun (sounds reasonable) and in the dishwasher (!!! Not recommended) amongst others.

Remember – You can still eat crystallized honey! Just scoop it out to stir into your tea, or spread onto toast. Save yourself time time and just enjoy it as is.

You might also like to try these honey-based health + beauty recipes:

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