Yes, Indeed Honey does not expire, It stays edible and beneficial for thousands of years.
Honey found in the Egyptian pyramid was edible even after 3000 long years.
However, the colour of honey may change. It becomes darker with age, especially in hot weather.
Though Natural honey is perennial and never expires, But in a few conditions, it may also get spoiled. let’s talk about it later.
Why honey does not expire?
There are various reasons why honey does not expire.
1) High natural sugar content:
Natural honey contains high natural sugars and less water (moisture) content. This makes honey hygroscopic, causing drying out or killing of microbes in contact with honey. This contributes to the longevity of natural honey.
2) Acidic nature of honey:
The honey is acidic because of the presence of gluconic acid. This inhibits bacterial growth. The gluconic acid is produced during nectar ripening. Therefore only ripe honey can stay longer.
3) Antimicrobial enzymes:
Honey bees secrets an enzyme called glucose oxidase in nectar. This enzyme produces hydrogen peroxide among ripening of honey. Hydrogen peroxide has an antibacterial property.
Why is there an expiry date on honey labels.
You will not find an expiry date on BHARAT HONEY.
As a matter of fact, no natural honey brand need to write an expiry date.
However, the “best before date” on all honey labels is to adhere to the guidelines of the Food Regulation Authority of India.
Salt and Vinegar also does not expire. But they still carry an “expiry date” or “best before date”.All this to follow food label rule, which says that all food article must carry an “expiry date” or “best before date”.
How to Store honey?
- If you are planning to store honey for longer, Store it at a lower temperature. (Though it may get crystallize)
- Honey should be stored either in glass, stainless steel or earthen pot.
- The vessel should be airtight, or else honey imbibes water and get fermented.
When does even natural honey expire?
If honey is extracted in unripe condition:
Ripe honey has lesser moisture when compared to unripe honey. When honey bees collect nectar, It contains more than 50%water. All the water is dried out by the bees during the process of making honey. This is called honey ripening.
If honey is extracted before ripening. Unripe honey because of excess moisture may cause fermentation.
moreover, unripe honey does not produce hydrogen peroxide that also leads to its lesser shelf life.
If honey storage is improper:
If kept open :
Natural Honey is hygroscopic in nature. It attracts atmospheric moisture when RH(relative humidity) is more than 48%. excess moisture causes fermentation which spoils the honey. hence honey is always stored in an airtight container.
If stored in metals or plastic conatiner :
Natural honey is acedic in nature. If honey is stored in metal conatiner it may cause corrosion of metal. corrosion may get contaminated with honey.
Plastic or pet bottle may cause leaching of chemicals when stored for a longer period or exposed to heat. The leached chemical contaminates honey.
Ideally Honey should be stored in Glass vessel, stainless conatiner or earthen pot.
Changes occur in aged honey:
If storage of honey is for a longer period, the following changes may occur.
- Honey gets darker.
- Crystallization of Honey may occur.
- HMF (Hydroxymthyfurfural) content increases.
- If improperly stored fermentation of Honey may occur.
Fermentation of honey:
Fermentation of Honey occurs in two conditions:
- Unripe honey.
- Improper storage of Honey.
If fermented, smell or taste of honey may resemble some alcohol, then don’t use that honey.
The natural or raw honey if extracted ripe never expires, although it may crystallize or get darker.
Crystallisation does not mean adulteration or spoilage of honey.
Keep an eye on proper storage to increase the shelf life of natural honey, because the improper storage may damage honey.