The knowledge of how to choose good quality honey is not the only thing a honey lover should have. Once you get what you want, the next important thing is to make sure the honey is stored properly. Choosing good honey would be in vain if you can’t maintain its quality. There are at least two factors that you should pay attention to when storing honey since they can affect the quality of honey in long term: container and temperature.
Honey is very hygroscopic, so it is important to keep it in an airtight container and place it in a cool dry place. You need to do this correctly so that honey doesn’t absorb moisture from the air. Avoid using metal containers and non-food-grade plastic containers, as they can lead to oxidization of the honey, and may even contribute to health problems if chemicals leach from the plastic. Glass jars are considered as the appropriate containers to store honey. Honey that is kept at colder temperatures tends to thicken, while honey that is kept at higher temperatures has a tendency to darken and have an altered flavor.
At room temperature, crystallization begins within weeks or months (but rarely days). The crystallization process can be avoided with emphasis on proper storage temperature. For long-term storage, the use of air-tight, moisture-resistant stainless steel drums is recommended.
- Cool temperatures [below 50°F (10°C)] are ideal for preventing crystallization.
- Moderate temperatures [50-70°F (10-21°C)] generally encourage crystallization.
- Warm temperatures [70-81°F (21-27°C)] discourage crystallization but degrade the honey.
- Very warm temperatures [over 81°F (27°C)] prevent crystallization but encourage spoilage by fermentation as well as degrading the honey.