Does honey go off?
How long is the best time for a honey shelf life? What’s the best way for honey storage? Does honey go off? How long can I keep honey?
These are very frequently asked questions; the answers are best explained for you here.
Honey does not usually go off and to prove this point honey has been discovered in ancient tombs from thousands of years ago and is actually still edible.
Honey does not go off because nothing can grow in it. No bacteria can reproduce in honey, it eats these bacteria up and destroys them which is why it is totally reliable for health, beauty and medicinal purposes.
Of course thousands of years ago they did not realise these facts about honey storage although I suspect there may have been a few!
They would then have preserved their honey by using ceramic or wooden containers because glass jars were not yet available to them.
Ceramic containers for honey storage can still be used to this very day but wooden containers are likely to absorb moisture and flavours from other food sources which would change the composition of your honey.
The Best Way to Preserve Your Honey
Honey should ideally be kept in clean sterile glass containers; it should never be stored in anything metal because the acids in the honey may promote oxidation of the vessel. This can lead to an increased content of heavy metals in honey, not ideal for honey storage!
However, the honey shelf life can be extended when stored in properly sanitized and sealed stainless steel drums which are in good condition; organic honey farmers very often use this method.
Beekeepers who keep their own hives and honey bees for the production of their own raw honey, most often strain and pour their own honey harvest into glass jars. However, this is not always their preferred method.
They would prefer to store their honey with everything it contains, pollen and Propolis because this is really raw honey, the very best way to eat it and most definitely the most favoured.
Quite a lot of people prefer their honey to be crystal clear, this would be the only reason for it to be strained.
This is also useful for being able to see the color of their honey which of course can vary greatly depending on the source of flowers and trees the nectar had been collected from.
Why Are There Labels on Honey Jars Stating the Honey Shelf Life?
Food Standards agencies always like to have a best before and use by date on any kind of food source. Honey appears to be no different in that respect.
However that does not mean you cannot use your honey after the date specified. My explanation is short and there are many of you who prefer an in-depth detailed explanation so perhaps you would like to read what the experts have to say.
I suspect you are very much a honey lover like me, which is why you are reading this page and maybe you have a hidden jar in your cupboard that you are not sure is still edible because it has been there for such a long time!
Can I extend My Honey Shelf Life?
If you have stored your honey in a sealed jar with a tightly fitting lid, it is I can assure you, still edible and well within its Honey shelf life.
Honey can and often does become darker as a result of storage, although at widely differing rates. The darkening of honey depends on the temperature it has been stored.
Honey is best stored at room temperature, there is no need to keep it in the fridge although this will not harm it and it will just crystallize.
Always replace the lid of the jar after using your honey to ensure it doesn’t absorb any surrounding moisture.
There are so many honey varieties some are an acquired taste like buckwheat honey which tastes very strong and definitely not sweet. However, it can be stored in the same way as any other type of honey.
The vast array of delicious flavours I have tried and are available to all of us don’t last long in my house so honey storage has never worried me unduly!
Further ways to preserve your honey shelf life is to not overheat it so if it were to crystallize just stand you jar in a pan of hot water to gently return it to its normal state.
Please don’t worry if you were wondering if honey has a shelf life, just eat it for all the health benefits of honey there are and enjoy.