How to Tell if Raw Honey is Bad

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Not many people know that raw honey can last hundreds of years if it’s stored correctly through airtight containers. It’s not impervious to going bad, though, even if there might be some confusion based on appearance.

How do you know if the raw honey you stored away is really spoiled? Let’s take a look at what to look for, and how people often confuse crystallization with spoilage.


What Makes Raw Honey Go Bad?

Excessive heat and moisture are the true enemies of raw honey. When exposed to both of those, it can definitely lead to spoilage, or just losing all of its healthy properties.

Ordinarily, the high natural sugar content of raw honey helps keep bacteria from getting in to make it go bad. Most bacteria can’t survive in honey thanks to antimicrobial enzymes and acidic properties. 

Some contamination can occur in honey, if usually harmless to adults. Certain bacteria, molds, and yeast can get in there in small amounts. You can still consume these without getting sick. 

The biggest concern with natural contamination is C. botulinum. When infants consume this, it can be lethal. This is why you shouldn’t feed raw honey to anyone under the age of two due to botulism concerns.


Raw Honey Can Go Bad Through Human Intervention

Once in a while, honey can go bad due to mistakes in the manufacturing process. For instance, certain types of bacteria could get into the honey from malfunctioning equipment.

Errors like this can always happen, though most manufacturers of raw honey are careful not to give you a bad batch. We guarantee quality with our multi-gallons of raw honey at Artie’s Harvest.

Adulterated honey is certainly no mistake. Other honey manufacturers place additives into raw honey to rush it to market. They do this by adding glucose or other types of sugars to make it taste better. 

During adulteration, it can lead to manufacturers feeding bees sugar syrup. This is a risky move because it potentially causes disease in bees, hence tainting the honey when it’s made. It can make your raw honey go bad very fast and possibly dangerous to consume.


The Misunderstood Problems of Crystallization

Crystalized raw honey is a natural process that shouldn’t alarm you when it happens. These crystals form on the raw honey when stored in overly cold temperatures.

Many people get confused and think crystallization is completely spoiled honey. It’s really not, even if long-term crystallization can lead to the honey being inedible.

Short-term crystallization means the honey turning darker and looking rougher. The way to smooth it out is to either expose your stored honey to more sunlight or place it in a lightly heated container for a few minutes. 

Far too many people don’t love the appearance of crystallized honey and throw it out as a result. Now you know it’s not honey that went bad. The only difference is when the crystallization goes on for multiple years.


What Will Your Honey Look Like When it’s Truly Spoiled?

In the chance moisture got into your stored honey containers and made it go bad, the honey will likely look a little cloudy rather than golden. 

You’ll also notice the texture is overly rough. And, during lengthy crystallization, the honey often turns white. 

After discovering an old container of raw honey in your basement and seeing it was exposed to the open air, it’s best to throw it out. 

Open it up, though, to check the color. Some stored containers are covered up and can’t be known for sure if the honey went bad without thorough inspection.

If you can’t detect the aroma of honey when it’s opened, it’s another major sign it’s no longer good.





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