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Honey Crystalization


What causes some nectar to crystallize more readily then others? I am guessing some nectar has more or less water in it but the bees would cure this down to the same % at the end wouldn’t they? So the amount of water in the nectar would only affect the time it takes to cure the honey not the end % of sugar in the honey, correct? Are there other factors that encourage crystallization?


Not sure about nector but I do know main reasons for crystallization in honey is

  1. How much glucose versus fructose was in the nectar (these are only of the sugars that are in honey).

  2. If the honey is unfiltered: little bits of things on which those crystals can get started.

  3. The temperature where the honey is stored.

  4. How the honey is stored (plastic is more porous than glass, thus the air exchange is greater).


@roBErt yes all of your notes are correct.

@adagna Crystals grow where there is the smallest crystals - did you ever grow crystals in a jar when you were a kid.

Saturated liquid given the slightest start - a piece of string in the jar - will grow crystals - ever do that?

Same principle.


Not honey though.
If you are trying to make soft set it will set on the largest. That’s why you have to have a super smooth seed.

BTW honey will not set in the freezer so you can keep your pre-packed cut comb there for ever.


@dangerous - sorry I was talking growing Crystals in principal not actually making honey crystallised


Quite a good article here


Which one crystallizes more easily? glucose or fructose?

My dad has talked about honey that would crystallize almost immediately after harvesting and I also recall other honey sitting in glass gallon jars for probably the better part of a year without crystallizing at all.


"The more rapid honey crystallizes, the finer the texture will be. " yes that I what I was told

We were told if you want to re-liquefy honey a Bain Marie at 37ºC and best setting in smaller Crystals to cool quickly to 14ºC

PS Nice article @dangerous


Glucose is less soluble than fructose so the higher the percentage of glucose the faster it will crystallise. Our fastest crystallising honey here comes from OSR ( Canola ) and yes, it does set with a fine crystal but absolutely rock hard. If you want to soft set that you have to let it set, melt it then control the setting process, keeping it between 12 and 14 degrees.
I find OSR bland and tasting of the brassica it comes from…YUK, thank heavens there isn’t any crop planted any where near.


I have some soft set honey from the OSR this year. I didn’t follow the recommended way of making it. I was really pleased with the results. A very smooth buttery honey. I think the flavour can vary enormously. I live near where the OSR is planted but the nectar collected was not exclusive…so the natural crystallising was slow…with medium sized crystals. However, after processing it…it has a lovely flavour and no hint of brassicas. It is my intention to enter it in some competitions this winter.


I believe that honey from sunflower crops, crystallizes extremely easily, and may in fact be nearly impossible to extract from the comb.