While one of the greatest facts on honey storage is that it doesn’t spoil even with no preservatives and additives, liquid honey is susceptible to physical and chemical changes over time, it can darken and lose some of its aroma and flavour when there is no proper storage. For commercial reasons, a certain shelf life is often stated on the honey bottles in the shop.
Over time, liquid honey also tends to naturally crystallise – a process where the honey appears to be thickened, become lumpy and grainy. The rate of crystallisation varies for the different types of honey too.
Crystallisation is easily reversible and does not affect the taste and quality of the honey at all, although it adversely changes its appearance. It’s easy to restore granulated honey to its natural state, for instance you could put grainy honey on hot toast, the granules will melt as you eat. You can also place a granulated jar over hot water (about 40 degree C), as soon as the granules are dissolved, remove the honey from the heat and let it cool as quickly as possible. Remember, avoid adding boiling hot water to honey! Honey that has been processed and heated will remain liquid for a few months.
Honey is to be stored in a cool dry place, making sure that the container cap is on tight since honey tends to absorb moisture from the environment, which can cause fermentation and lower its quality. Always scoop honey from jars using a dry spoon as any introduction of water content into the jars should be avoided. Also store honey away from direct heat (eg near stove area, hot kitchen appliances) or sunlight (next to the windows) as excessive heat over time can affect honey properties. Glass packaging is preferred by some people as glass is relatively neutral and doesn’t react with food and cause any chemical transfer, storing honey in food grade plastic containers should not pose any safety or health concern as well.