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Why is My Honey Funny?

The texture and color of honey depends not only on the variety, but also on the location the honey is made (where the bees did their work), and the season the honey was produced. Honey is composed mostly of glucose with some fructose, (along with vitamins, minerals, water and ash…) and the final texture of the honey depends on the balance of these two sugars and the temperature at which the honey is stored. Some honeys are much more prone to granulation than others, although almost all honey will granulate when temperature falls below 75°F. The theory is that the higher the concentration of glucose, the higher likelihood of granulation at room temperature.

Granulation is a natural process and there is no change in nutritional value or taste between solid and liquid honey. If you would like to turn a jar of granulated honey into a jar of liquid honey, stand the jar in warm water (120°F) for a few minutes until the desired texture is achieved. If placed in the microwave or placed in water that is too hot, the honey will not re-granulate when it cools back down, and you risk altering some of the nutritive value of the raw honey. (In other words, the honey is no longer “raw” if it is cooked in the microwave.)

The aroma and taste of honey are its most important features, but honey is often judged according to its color. The color of honey varies considerably depending on the source of the nectar. Generally, dark-colored honeys have a stronger flavor, while pale honeys have a more delicate or floral flavor. Honey will also naturally become darker over time.

These color and texture notes are based on observations of honeys typically found in the market. Liquid refers to honey that has little or no crystallization at room temperature or when the honey is first placed in a jar and cooled to room temperature, while solid refers to honey that is usually fully crystallized at room temperature. Some honey varieties vary significant depending on processing, harvest seasons, and where the bees did their work.

Floral Variety: Color: Texture
Acacia: White to Gold: Semi-solid to Solid*
All Flower: Light brown: Liquid to Semi-Solid
Blackberry: Golden to Light Amber: Liquid*
Brambleberry: Light to Golden Brown: Solid
Buckwheat: Brown to Dark Brown: Both
Chestnut: Dark Brown: Liquid*
Citrus: Light Amber: Both
Clover: Amber: Liquid
Eucalyptus: Tan to Amber: Both
Garrigue: Dark Brown: Liquid
Heather: Light to Golden Brown: Solid
Lavender: White to Pale Yellow: Solid*
Leatherwood: Deep Gold to Orange: Semi-solid to Solid
Lemon Blossom: Pale Yellow: Solid
Meadow: Light Brown to Medium Amber: Semi-solid to Solid
Oak: Dark Brown: Liquid
Orange Blossom: Yellow to Light Orange: Both
Raspberry: Golden to Light Amber: Liquid
Rosemary: Pale Yellow to Light Tan: Solid*
Sunflower: GoldenYellow: Semi-solid to Solid
Thyme: Dark Amber: Both

Liquid: Thicker than maple syrup but just as pourable.
Semi-solid: Slow pouring to very soft spreading.
*Some Solid versions may be found
** Some liquid versions may be found

Next article >> The History of Honey

(c) ChefShop.com, 2005
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