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Much to my dismay this weekend, I found that my lovely jar of Croatian honey had crystallized!
I am ashamed to admit that in my earlier, pre-Vintage Amanda days I had actually thrown out a half-used jar of honey because it went hard. (I know, I know, I’m cringing now too).
But now that I’m enlightened and eco-conscious (or at least thrifty), I decided to try two ways of softening this jar of honey to see which is best.
Can I still eat crystallized (hardened) honey?
Yes! When your honey has gone hard or solid, it’s simply crystallized. You can still eat this honey, stir it into your tea, or even use hard honey as a gentle face scrub.
How can I soften hard honey?
There are two techniques that I’m testing today. The traditional method of heating the honey in a bain-marie, and the faster, modern method of the microwave!
How to soften hard honey with hot water
1) Traditional Technique: Sit honey in a bowl of hot water until it softens
Result: After one hour of sitting in the water, the honey was only somewhat softened. OK, maybe I should have used a bigger bowl. Or better yet, I should have put it in a pan of boiling water, so the water would remain hot. This method will work, but it’s slow-going.
How to soften hard honey using the microwave
2. Modern Method: Microwave!
Admittedly, this method worked really well. I put the honey in the microwave on medium for about 1 minute, and voila, liquid honey!
This worked so well because my honey is in a glass jar. I don’t think it’s a good idea to microwave plastics (because some chemicals from the plastic may leech into the honey). So if you’re dealing with a plastic honey container, I suggest the hot water method instead (the water should be hot, but not so hot that it melts the plastic!)
What is the best way to soften hard honey?
In this case, the modern microwave method won, hands-down. Softening the honey in the microwave was really quick, and it is still liquid the next morning.
However – many people question whether microwaving damages the nutritional benefits of foods. If you are using the honey to get medicinal/health benefits, then I would not microwave the honey – use the hot water method instead!