I buy honey in a 5-pound jar and have found that it crystallizes before I can use it all. It's a nuisance to always have to heat it to dissolve the crystals. What can I do to prevent this from happening? —G.M., Coudersport, Pennsylvania
Not much, unfortunately. Crystallization is the natural process by which liquid honey becomes solid. Heating honey is the only way to dissolve the crystals. You might want to try buying smaller amounts of honey that you can use up more quickly. If the honey still crystallizes, place the jar in warm water and stir until the crystals dissolve. Or place honey in a microwave-safe container and microwave on high, stirring every 30 seconds, until the crystals dissolve. Store honey, tightly sealed, in a cool dry place for up to 1 year. Avoid storing in the refrigerator since that only accelerates the crystallization process.
Reader Tip: I'm a beekeeper and have found it is helpful to freeze honey to keep it from crystallizing. It will never freeze solid since the moisture content is low. It will, however, become thick and sludgy until thawed to room temperature, when it should return to its original consistency. When buying a large amount of honey, divide it into freezer-proof containers and freeze. When needed, defrost at room temperature for about 30 minutes. —J.M., West Bend, Wisconsin