When honey goes funny

funny looking honeyTwo weeks ago, I made an interesting discovery late one night when I got the urge to grab some toast with honey. We had run out of the jar of opened honey so I had to grab a new jar. I noticed that the jars of honey looked a little odd. They looked like they had some serious crystallization going in in them.

This is what a jar will look like if it might be fermented. This jar blew up when I opened it.
This is what a jar will look like if it might be fermented. This jar blew up when I opened it.

I grabbed a jar and noticed that there was some honey on the bottom of the jar. The thing was pretty sticky to handle. “That’s strange”, I thought. When I went to open the jar, it tried to imitate Mt. Vesuvius! Kaboom! Honey blew out of the jar! I’m pretty sure I sat there for a moment in total disbelief. How on earth?! Apparently I have the magic touch? I set the bubbling jar on a plate in the sink to wait until morning to ask my family about what happened to the honey.

A blown up jar of honey

In the morning, my dad explained what happened to the jar of honey. He teaches bee keeping classes and he had taken the extractor to class and had extracted honey. Unfortunately, on his way home from class, while the extractor was in the back of the pickup, rain hit our area.

The extractor blew open. Water got into the honey. Dad did his best to get rid of the water, but when he put the honey into jars and stored them, the honey started to ferment. It was turning alcoholic on us. Dad told me that there is a way to fix that. We are actually in the process of fixing that now.

First, you put together a large flat pan and the jar of honey in the big pan. Put water in the large pan. You’ll heat the honey up to 150 degrees. That will get rid of the alcohol that has started to produce in the honey. After you’ve cooled your honey, you’ll want to store it in a cool but not cold place. You’ll need to use it faster than you would raw honey.

pasteurizing honey

Pasteurization in process. You can see that the honey is clearing from the bottom up. The alcohol is being evaporated.
Pasteurization in process. You can see that the honey is clearing from the bottom up. The alcohol is being evaporated.

Unfortunately, once honey has been pasteurized, it loses a lot of it’s benefits where allergies are concerned. It will still be a great sweetener but it won’t help with allergies any more. The life time of the honey is also reduced by being pasteurized.

This is the jar of honey that went funny after we fixed our problem.
This is the jar of honey that went funny after we fixed our problem.
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