Fort Bend Beekeepers Association
Fort Bend County, Texas USA
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Honey bees gather nectar to feed the colony.  Nectar from flowers is about half water and would ferment if the water content remained that high.  Honey bees reduce the water content by moving air through the hive until about two thirds has evaporated and the nectar has changed into honey.  At that point, the bees cap the comb with a beeswax “lid” to prevent the honey from absorbing moisture from the air.

Many prefer fresh, raw local honey.  It is really different from grocery store honey that has been heated and filtered to remove almost all solid material, including tiny bits of wax and sugar crystals and the pollen grains that can be used to identify the honey’s floral source.  In fact, honey that has been ultra-filtered no longer meets the U.S. F.D.A. definition of honey since it contains no pollen.  In fact, the source of this “honey” cannot be determined.

Honey is a very concentrated solution of various sugars.  These sugars can crystallize to form solids.  Grocery store honey contains almost no solid materials that could form a nucleus for a sugar crystal so it can be stored for long periods on the store shelf without crystallizing. Pollen grains in raw honey can encourage crystallization depending on the nectar’s floral source.  The honey that has crystallized but can be easily returned to a liquid state by immersing the jar in hot (not boiling) water for an hour or so.

Never store honey in the refrigerator since the cool temperatures encourage crystallization.  Honey stores well in the fact, honey was found in King Tut’s tomb.  It is surprising to know that honey stored in the freezer does not crystallize, so a large supply can be frozen for future use.  Defrost overnight, refill the honey pitcher, then return your supply to the freezer.