When honey crystallizes, it is called granulation and it’s a natural process by which honey turns from a liquid to a solid sate with a granular composition.
We usually explain this process to our customers as it is not understood by the average consumer. Many consumers will assume that honey will crystallize due to poor quality, poor storage conditions, or because it has gone bad. I’ve even heard people will throw it out when this happens.
The jar on the left is starting to granulate. The one on the right is completely granulated. Notice the colour difference.
Honey that crystallizes is actually better quality honey.
Honey that has been adulterated or diluted in some way will often remain liquid permanently. Liquid honey looks and sells better on the shelf than its granulated counterpart simply because we are used to thinking of honey in its liquid form.
Most of the honey stocked in supermarkets has been pasteurized and stays liquid but is not the best honey to buy.
Crystallization does not change the quality of the honey, it only changes the texture and the color. Honey that has crystallized (aka granulated), will become granular, hard, rough on the tongue, and become a lighter colour. If you want liquid honey, you can simply put your jar of crystallized honey into a pot of hot water and allow it to return to its liquid state.
The time it takes for liquid honey to granulate will depend on the nectar source. Canola honey is especially quick to granulate and for that reason, we cream canola honey. Some nectar sources take much longer to crystallize so do not assume that since your jar of honey doesn’t’t granulate it has been adulterated.
It’s best to discuss the honey with the farmer or store directly. Most health stores will sell unpasteurized honey, but you can never assume.