Honey, which is a sweet fluid substance, is perhaps preferred by all. In fact, many of us like to consume honey on a daily basis because it has lots of nutritional values. However, it is not only a tasty or delicious item but also popular for another unique feature. Perhaps, honey is one of the few items that may not get spoiled and remain edible over time. If we buy it today, then we may consume it even after several days or also years. Obviously, there are some reasons behind this magic, and we’ll discuss it here. But, before that, let’s know some facts about honey.
Honey possesses a number of unbelievable properties. This has been applied for some medicinal purpose, particularly to care for some open wounds. In the history, you have perhaps read that Babylonians covered all the dead bodies in honey. On the other hand, the king Alexander was also preserved in one coffin, which consists of honey.
It is also reported that the honey was first found in Georgia almost five thousand years ago. Thus, if you have somehow found that oldest honey, can you consume it?
Chemical features, present in honey
Honey may be considered as sugar. And you have perhaps heard of some kinds of health benefits with the use of honey by replacing sugar; this fact may be true. Though honey is not completely parallel to the granulated, common white sugar, still this is referred to as sugar. In fact, the sugars are found to be hygroscopic in nature. They do not have much amount water in natural condition. Only few numbers of microorganisms and bacteria may survive due to the presence of low moisture. But, they are stifled by it effectively. The truth that microorganisms are not able to survive for very long time in honey indicates they do not find the opportunity to destroy it.
Another fact, which may differentiate honey from some other kinds of sugars, is the acidity. The pH value of sugar ranges from 3 to 4.5, and this value are able to kill all the bugs, which are trying to trying to live on the honey.
Bees and their contribution to make honey
While talking about the bees, it is to be said that bees has some contribution to the low amount of the honey, simply by waving the wings for drying out the nectar. Besides, the bees find nectar to honey combs with vomiting. It seems to be an unpleasant fact; however the chemical composition in the stomachs of the bees has some role in make the shelf-life of the honey much extensive.
The stomachs of the bees contain the oxidase that is poured into the honey, while the nectar gets reiterated. This nectar and the enzyme break and become blended in order to generate hydrogen peroxide as well as gluconic acid. Hydrogen peroxide acts as one of the adverse forces that may fight against everything, which is attempting to develop in honey.
Storage of honey
It is one of the important aspects for those, who like to consume honey. You have already learned about the hydroscopic feature of the honey that signifies the little water content in the original condition. However, the water can be easily sucked. But, if left out exposed, the honey may become spoiled. Thus, you have to make sure that you have properly sealed the honey and then stored it in some dry place.
Crystallized form of honey
The issue of crystallized honey needs to be discussed, while talking about the storage facts. Honey that has become crystallized may not essentially be called as the spoiled one. Americans, in fact, observe this crystallized form as something wrong. Thus big packers sort out honey in order to eliminate all the particles that may cause this crystallization. Organic and raw honey never undergoes the procedure. However, it does not indicate that it can get spoiled. Moreover, different forms of honey cover various crystallization rates. Thus, there is a possibility that the honey, which you have chosen, is quite more likely to crystallization.
Thus, keep in mind that the crystallization never indicates something wrong in the honey. However, when you do not prefer it, the most important instruction is not to place the honey in the fridge. If the temperature is lower than 52 °F, then crystallization process reduces its speed. Thus, you may not be hesitant to freeze the honey. On the contrary, when the temperature is more than 77 °F, your honey may defy crystallization process in a better way. However honey becomes crystallized very fast, while the temperature ranges from 50 to 59 °F. Therefore, while you like to keep away from heating up the honey in order to get rid of crystals, you may better avoid your fridge.
Warning for the infants
In most of the cases, honey does not get spoiled. But, it may consist of some Clostridium botulinum. It is not damaging to the adult persons and the kids, whose age is more than one year because the gastrointestinal path is enough matured to manage those spores. On the other hand, the infants, who are below one year, are in danger for botulism. Thus, honey may be not be consumed by those infants.
However, many people have the question- Can we eat honey that is five thousand year old? In fact, if the honey is sealed properly and also stored against dampness, it can surely be consumed. If this is crystallized, then it is not stained. You may only heat this up and pour it on any food that you like.
How to know that your honey is not good?
The use of good hygiene as well as food safety processes will assist to avoid food borne diseases.
It has been already discussed that honey is an exceptional food, which does not spoil. In due course, though the appearance of the produce may somewhat change, it will not become completely spoiled. The honey, which has been stored for many years, may start to appear cloudy and yellow, rather than clear or golden. In addition to it, the honey may also become much thicker as well as grainy with the passing of time. And finally, it may also look hard and white.
However, still, it cannot be called as the bad condition. In this state, your honey will perhaps begin to go through the crystallization process that is already stated. Crystallized form of honey is, in fact, such a thing, in which the content of glucose in the product, get crystallized spontaneously.
Moreover, in such condition, it may also be referred to as the granulated or candied product. However, this is still harmless to consume. There are also some particular ways with the help of which you may be able to restore the tint of the honey or transform the crystallized form into the soft fluid state.
Imperfections in treating honey
Though honey possesses the capability to remain intact for indefinite period, any kind of error in the make-up or processing of this honey may ultimately cause this to spoil. Though most of the things may be destroyed due to the hostile features of the fluid, osmophilic yeasts may try to get some advantage, if you have made any flaw. When the sugar, found in honey becomes fermented, it may generate small quantity of carbon dioxide and alcohol. While it takes place, it generates a quite hospitable setting for the unusual osmophilic molds.
However, these kinds of the bacterial yeasts may not be risky to any individual, who has a good person immune system. But, they may lead to some diseases in those individuals, who have poor immune system. A major issue, here is that the yeasts will damage the food, instead of causing any health hazard or leading to food poisoning. Obviously, there are many health risks related to the spoiled foodstuffs. Thus, always keep in mind that you have to maintain food safety. Take pleasure in your foods prior to the expiration of their shelf life.
Lastly, it can be said that honey is not the only one item, which can last for extensive period. Some thick sweet syrups and also molasses may also possess this kind of shelf life, only when these are well treated. There are also some oils that last for an indefinite period. In the same way, many of the canned products are also the item of same category though they may lose flavor and nutritional value.