How to Rescue Crystallized Honey

Honey crystallizes when its moisture evaporates. Here's how to fix it.

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If you keep honey around, you know that the contents of an open jar or squeeze bottle inevitably crystallize over time, making it virtually impossible to remove from the container and work with.

To fix the problem temporarily, you can place the jar in a saucepan with about an inch of water, gently heat it until it liquifies, and transfer the now-smooth honey to a clean jar. But with a little science, we figured out a way to keep honey fluid indefinitely.  

Why Does Honey Crystallize?

Honey is primarily made up of two types of sugar, glucose and fructose, as well as water. When that water evaporates over time, the honey's glucose molecules lock together like Lego pieces, causing the honey to crystallize. (Fructose is more soluble in water than glucose, and thus tends to stay more dissolved in the honey.)

How to Fix Crystallized Honey

The key to staving off crystallization is to introduce another type of sugar that interrupts the glucose molecules so that they can’t attach to one another. And the easiest way to do that is to stir a little corn syrup into the honey. 

Corn syrup contains glucose and fructose, too, but it also contains longer sugar molecules such as maltotriose that get in the way of the glucose molecules so that they can’t lock up with one another. Plus, corn syrup is more hygroscopic than honey, so it’s better able to hold onto water. 

To fix crystallized honey, mix it with light corn syrup (2 teaspoons per cup of honey) in a clean jar, place the jar in a saucepan with about an inch of water, and gently heat it until smooth. —Liz Bomze

SYRUPY FIX: Corn syrup keeps honey from recrystallizing.

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