Honey: the eternal food (spoiler: it doesn't spoil!)
It is a true fact that honey does not go bad. It is one of the very few foods doesn't spoil. Salt, sugar and dried rice are the others. But
you won't want to chow down on those!
Honey can crystallize , but it is still safe to eat and can
easily be returned to a clear, liquid state (see this page).
The crystals form because honey is a supersaturated solution of simple sugars.
Think it's not true?
pots of honey, thousands of years old, in Egyptian tombs and discovered the honey was still perfectly safe to eat. After 5,000 years.
and yet still preserved.
Why doesn't Honey spoil?
Three simple reasons:
- Low moisture content.
It is a liquid, but it is hygroscopic, so it sucks the water out of things then fall into it.
- Honey is acidic
Honey has a pH between 3 and 4.5. and that is acidic enough to kill almost anything that could fall into it.
- Honeybees add enzymes to it
Bees have an enzyme in their stomachs called glucose
oxidase which gets mixes with the nectar when they regurgitate it into the combs. It then breaks down into two gluconic acid
and hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen Perioxide, as any child who has had a cut treated, is used to sterilize wounds and kill bacteria!
Honey's natural anti-bacterial properties have led it to being used to treat wounds!
Sumerian clay tablets document that honey was used in 30% percent of their prescriptions.
Ancient Egyptians used
honey to make ointments to treat skin and eye diseases.
Super, but there is a honey kryptonite
There is one way honey can spoil: leave it out, unsealed in a humid environment. It can absorb water from the air and eventually change and be
able to spoil.
But, so long as you normally keep the lid on and add no water to it, honey will not go bad.
- Smithsonian Magazine
- BBC Science Focus
- NIH Microorganisms in honey