Does Honey Go Bad? - Honey Expiration Information
There are certain products which seem to last forever. It is often food we buy in larger quantities, but which we only use a small amount at a time. This is the case with honey. It is common for many people to buy a large jar and leave it in the cupboard for a long time. This may be such a long time that we aren't even sure if we can still eat it. When the honey has changed color and consistency, we may worry it has gone bad and will cause us harm if we consume it.
This is why oneHOWTO asks does honey go bad? We look at whether honey has an expiration date and what are the best ways to store this sweet product.
Does honey expire?
One of the most frequently asked questions about this product is does honey has an expiration date? According to the guidance regarding consumption, all products must have a preferred consumption date or an expiration date, but these dates do not mean the same thing.
The expiration date is related to safety. Eating food which has expired can cause serious health problems and can even be fatal if bacteria has led to diseases such as botulism. A preferred consumption date, sometimes referred to as a ‘best before date’, is different. After this time, the food may not be has high quality as it was before, but it does not mean it has gone bad. Often, the food isn't even perceptibly much different, although this is variable.
The durability of a food will depend on the quality of the product, how it is stored and other factors. In this sense, honey does not have an expiration date. Technically, it does not spoil. However, its properties can deteriorate over time and it is best consumed within two years after being harvested from a hive. This way you will consume the honey at its best quality and it won't have lost many of its positive properties.
You may not want to ask can we consume honey after the best before date? The answer is yes, although always bear in mind that the product may not be at its optimal state.
Honey storage and conservation
As we have seen, the ideal date of consumption of honey is 2 years after its harvest. Although honey does not expire, these are the years in which it will have the best quality when consumed. As with most products, not all of them withstand the passage of time and may deteriorate to a greater or lesser extent. In the case of honey, this deterioration is very slow due to its composition, which is why it is more resistant than other foods.
Honey's durability is due to various factors, such as the low percentage of water it contains (between 17 and 18%). This hinders the proliferation of microorganisms such as bacteria. The second factor that complicates the development of harmful bacteria is the pH of the honey which is acidic. Finally, the antimicrobial compounds in honey (e.g. phenolic compounds or carbon peroxide) have antifungal and antibacterial properties, preventing honey from deteriorating excessively over time.
Although honey is a product that is very resistant to time, it is true that over the years it can undergo organoleptic and physicochemical changes. These changes can affect its acidity and humidity. This can lead to a loss of quality in honey. After 3 years, honey is no longer in an optimal state for consumption. However, the durability of honey may vary depending on its storage conditions.
How to store honey
To make honey last much longer, you must know the best methods to preserve it correctly. It is these factors that can greatly influence the loss of food quality. For this reason, it is advisable to follow these tips:
- Avoid that the honey is in contact with the outside.
- Close the jar of honey very well, so that it is kept hermetically sealed.
- Store honey in dry spaces and avoid humidity.
- Do not keep honey in very high temperatures or in the fridge. Ideally, store it at room temperature and away from heat sources.
How to know if honey is bad
As we have previously pointed out, honey does not have an expiration date, but it can undergo changes that alter its optimal quality for consumption. If we want to know whether honey is in poor condition, the answer lies in looking at its appearance.
If the honey has not been properly preserved, it can lose certain properties, quality and acquire a bad appearance. If you notice that the honey has crystalized, this may be an indicator that it is not in very good condition.
Honey contains HFM, a natural compound present due to the high levels of sugar, water and acidity. When the amounts of HFM change, it may affect quality. They usually change due to exposure to adverse conditions and other factors. When the HFM is lower, the honey will turn into sugar, becoming dry and crystalized in appearance. This crystalized appearance can mean it can no longer be poured, but it doesn't mean it is bad to eat.
If the honey is not 100% pure or part of another product, it is more likely to go bad. For example, when mixed with water, the water content encourages the appearance of bacteria and other microorganisms. To check, you can place a tablespoon of honey on an absorbent paper and remove it. If there are marks or the paper is torn, it will mean that it is adulterated, since natural honey does not leave any trace.
Now that you know that honey does not expire, you may want to know about this wonderful foodstuff. To do so, check our related articles on what manuka honey is used for and how bees make honey from pollen.
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