Storing Honey

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
Honey is one of our more stable foods, but unlike table sugar it can spoil. This is because it contains some moisture and absorbs more from the air whenever the relative humidity exceeds 60%. Sugar-tolerant yeasts can grow on the honey and produce off-flavors. It’s therefore best to store honey in a moisture-tight container.
Thanks to its high concentration of sugars and the presence of some amino acids and proteins, honey is prone to undesirable, flavor-flattening browning reactions, not just when heated, but also when stored for a long time at room temperature. If you use honey infrequently, it’s best to keep it at temperatures below 50°F/15°C. Liquid honey will slowly granulate in the refrigerator, and cream honey will get somewhat coarser.