glass jar of honey with wooden spoon for expiry date

August 1, 2021

Does Honey Expire?

If you’re anything like us, you probably go through jars of honey constantly. Honey is so versatile and delicious! It can be used in all types of meals and drinks and can also be enjoyed with a spoonful.

Or maybe you’ve had a honey break time and are ready to jump back into the game. If you’ve got a jar that has been in your pantry for a while, it may look solid, and you may wonder if it has gone bad: Does honey expire?

Natural, properly preserved honey will not expire. In fact, archaeologists found honey thousands of years old in ancient Egyptian tombs, and it was still good! While most of us don’t need to worry about honey that old, their discovery proves that if properly contained, real honey can last for a very, very long time. 

The eternal life of honey is based on several factors:

Honey is hygroscopic. 

That means that honey has very low water content. A properly matured honey barely reaches 18% water content. Without water, bacteria cannot appear or thrive.

High concentration of sugars.

Honey is mainly made up of sugars, and this hinders the growth of microorganisms.

The acid pH of honey. 

The pH of honey is acidic and ranges between 2 and 4.5. Most harmful bacteria prefer a neutral or basic environment, so in an acidic environment such as honey, they cannot grow or develop.

Honey enzymes.

Bees, in the process of making honey, provide different enzymes of their own. One of them is glucose oxidase, which produces hydrogen peroxide, a powerful antimicrobial that prevents microorganisms from growing.

Antimicrobial compounds. 

Honey contains organic acids, phenolic compounds and certain peptides that contribute to the antimicrobial action of honey, preventing it from growing and spoiling the honey. 

Why then do we have an expiry date on our jars? This is a question we get asked on a regular basis. 

Honey jars bought directly at the farmers’ market or from your beekeeper normally do not have any expiration stamps. However, for food products sold in the supermarket, including honey, expiration or best before dates are a commercial requirement. Also, the International food laws make it mandatory to mention a best before date or expiry date on the label of all packed foods.

Recent clarification from Dubai Municipality shed some light about the label requirements for Food products exempted from indication of an expiration date. According to the standard UAE.S 150- 2: 2017 Expiration dates for food products – Part 2: Voluntary expiration, for Honey only production date or crop date should be declared. 

Following that clarification, our future jars will not have an expiry date, but only the month and year of harvest. 

All the honey that you will find in Princess Bee Honey Co. complies with current legislation and is properly packaged so that it preserves all its properties.

Now, enjoy your jar of honey without worrying about its purity, because when you buy from us, purity and quality is something that’s we take really seriously. 

Do watch our website for new exciting mono-floral honey varieties like Cilantro, Acacia, Fir and Thyme Honey. 

Interested to know more? 

Even though honey doesn’t have an expiration date, it can still undergo natural changes. The National Honey Board says that over time honey may “darken and lose its aroma and flavour or crystallise,” depending on temperature changes.

The crystallisation of honey is completely normal and doesn’t change honey’s taste. In fact, it proves your honey is real and not pasteurised! It happens in real honey because it contains natural sugars and pollen, both things you want in your honey. If you don’t enjoy those crystals, simply rest your honey in a bowl of warm water for about an hour. This won’t change the taste or smell of your honey and certainly doesn’t mean your honey has expired! Do not use Microwave.

The only natural, raw honey undergoes these normal changes. Processed or fake honey doesn’t preserve the natural benefits of honey. 

Honey contains numerous vitamins and enzymes that make it a naturally occurring sugar replacement. To ensure the honey is the real deal, it must be raw and unfiltered, like ours.

Raw honey means that it hasn’t been overheated at high temperatures (not more than 38℃), which kills vitamins and enzymes. Unfiltered honey means that all of the goodies stay inside the honey, including pollen. Having a high pollen count in honey allows you to trace honey back to its source. This proves your honey has come from real, living flowers.

To know your honey is 100% real, raw and unfiltered, honey must undergo many tests. You want to ensure that your honey contains lots of pollen but also that it is free from common antibiotics, pesticides and herbicides. At Princess Bee Honey Co., our honey undergoes testing both in-house and in external labs. Only the best, highest quality honey can find its way into our jars. As we are proud of our honey, we have nothing to hide. You can find online all of our lab test and pollen analyses <here>

To continue consuming honey after the expiry date, it will be enough to keep the honey container tightly closed and not expose it to very high temperatures, nor very low temperatures or direct sunlight. It is not necessary to put the honey in the fridge, it will be enough to store it in a dark cupboard or pantry, away from heat sources. The ideal is a room temperature between 21 and 27 degrees Celsius.

So next time you’re questioning the lifespan of your long-lost honey jar, know that it’s very unlikely that it’s expired if you’ve bought 100% pure honey. Even if honey goes through some natural changes like crystallisation, it doesn’t mean that it has gone bad or expired. It just means that you’ve got the real deal. Enjoy celebrating the natural magic of honey!

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