Your honey was once delicious and beautiful, but now it looks gross and won't come out of the spout. Yet, there's no need to spend the time and cash to buy new honey. It's easy to turn your crystallized, over-microwaved honey into tasty flowing goodness again. Your honey bear may be all dried up now, but a simple fix can save the day!
- Pop your honey bear's top. ***Below 65°F [18.3°C] (the temperature of a cool kitchen) honey will form a stable solid phase similar to granulated sugar (like the way ice forms from water below 32°F [0°C]). Frequent temperature excursions below 65°F can lead to the nucleation of a dispersed, abundant solid phase and make your honey bear annoying and in extreme cases useless.***
- Heat slowly in warm water until honey is not viscous (It is a liquid) and is warm to hot to the touch.
- Note: Don't over heat. This causes cooling rate issues that will be discussed later. This is also important because it will prevent you from proceeding.
- If it is not too hot you are either lucky to live in a warm place or the honey was overheated and you waited for it to cool down or it is not hot enough. Pick it up, close the top and shake vigorously until you think the crystals should have dissolved. Imagine you're stirring 10 packets of sugar into a glass of iced tea. If your crystals haven't dissolved, go back to step 1 as your honey is not hot enough.
- Remember: be careful. You may need an oven mitt.
- Look for chunks of honey that don't appear to move when the honey is dripping back down the walls of the bear. If in doubt, now is the time go back to step 1.
- Your crystals have disappeared. Done right? Wrong. Here's the hard part ... waiting for your honey to cool. "That's weird", you say, "The crystals dissolved so what's the problem?"
- The problem is: if the honey cools too quickly air bubbles from shaking the honey will be trapped in the viscous (thick and not always, but in this case delicious) liquid. The air bubbles seem to be good locations for nucleating the crystals which means all that shaking will have been in vain.
- Get out a bowl almost as tall as the bear, as wide as possible. Run the hottest tap water you can. If your tap water is really hot, maybe you should consider turning down the temperature of your water heater later. The large volume of water is really important here because it is what dictates cooling rate. Large volumes tend to have less surface area per volume and can thus not transfer heat as effectively, given the same material. The result? Slower cooling rates. This is a good thing for us.
- Make sure the lid is closed and seals adequately for partial submersion. Place the bear in the bowl. Fill the bowl as full as you can without spilling it everywhere. Basically we want hot (at least as hot as the honey) water touching as much of the bear walls where honey is as possible. For fuller bears, place the bear at an angle (lean it against the side of the bowl) so that the distance that the air bubbles will have to travel is minimized. If your setup is working you should start to see air bubbles accumulating on the top surface of the honey. For this reason, it helps to put the honey label down if you have tipped it over.
- Note: If you do not see air bubbles accumulating at the top you either did not shake hard enough on step 3 or your bear was not heated enough. Maybe you just had a nightmare that you had bad honey.
- Wait a long time or until you can not tell the difference between the temperature of the water and the temperature of the room.
- Dry off and store your honey in a more consistently warm place.
- Try an easy alternative. Simply run the jar (well-closed) through a dishwasher cycle. Allow it to return to room temperature in the dishwasher. This method works on jams, jelly, honey and caramel with excellent results. The water spray provides slow even heating and gentle agitation.
- Avoid keeping honey in areas that fluctuate between warm and cool often. This includes places:
- near windows
- near appliances with heating elements (coffee pots, toasters etc.).
- Try a different way. Place the honey in a crock pot on low with the lid off and a few inches of water in the bottom. Be sure not to get water in the honey.
- We are heating things up! Always be careful. If you need to, wear gloves.
- Liquify Honey
- Verify the Purity of Honey
- Use Honey in the Bath
- Use Honey in Place of White Sugar
- Make Cream Cheese and Honey Treats for Your Dog
- Make Honey Toffees
- Cook Honey BBQ Chicken