Honey is more than just a thick, golden liquid. It has many nutritional and health benefits and can be consumed, used as a beauty product, and is an effective medicine. If you know how to store honey properly, you can utilize all these benefits after SHTF by having a stockpile of honey in your pantry that will last you for years.
Honey is made from sugars, glucose, and fructose. This combination will never expire or go bad when stored correctly. Storing honey at room temperature in a dark place is best to help it retain its flavor and consistency for the long-term. Even after opening your honey, you should avoid exposing it to colder temperatures. Storing honey in the refrigerator or a chilly area will lead to crystallization.
Although honey storage follows some of the most straightforward guidelines, knowing the ins and outs about it and its storage options will help you properly stockpile for hard times. This article discusses how to store honey while also sharing other valuable information about this golden food source. Read on below to get the scoop!
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How to Store Honey: The Best Storage Containers
There are only two essential rules to remember when storing honey: avoid chilly areas and choose a dark spot. By simply following these guidelines, you’ll be able to reserve honey for years. However, choosing a suitable storage container is just as important to keep your honey fresh and help it retain its flavor.
Food-safe plastic jars or buckets are great for storing honey. Plastic containers are also most commonly used to sell honey commercially. While the quality of honey isn’t limited to a specific timeframe, storing it in plastic containers will only keep it at an optimal standard for about five years. Some plastic containers contribute to water content loss or can cause chemicals to leech into the honey. Because of this, you should only use HDPE plastic for honey storage.
If you want your honey to have shelf stability, it’s best to store it in air-tight glass containers. Clean glass jars reduce the possible risk of contamination, while other storage containers often have chemicals that can lead to this. Glass is also less porous than plastic, which means moisture won’t enter the container, reducing the chances of crystallization.
Honey should preferably not be stored in metal containers. The acids in honey can promote the container’s oxidation, leading to corrosion and additional metal content in the honey, which can decrease its nutritional value.
If you want to store your honey in metal containers, you must use food-grade metals like stainless steel, which have been approved for honey storage. Part of knowing how to store honey is knowing what can happen when it’s stored incorrectly. The long-term storing of honey in metal containers is discouraged as it can leave a sharp, metallic odor and taste in your honey.
Keeping honey in its comb is the best way to preserve it naturally. Doing this helps the honey fresh indefinitely, prevents crystallization, and eliminates the risk of contamination. Unfortunately, not many beekeepers sell honey still in their comb, and you might not have the right equipment to extract the honey from its comb once needed.
However, if you’re able to purchase honey in the honeycomb, it should be cut and left capped. You should store the honeycomb in a sealed container or tightly wrap it in plastic wrap. You can either freeze your honeycombs or keep them in a cool, dry place that doesn’t get any sunlight.
Honey Crystallization and How to Reverse It
Over time, stored honey may undergo changes, and crystallization is one of those. When honey crystallizes, its consistency changes. The sugar molecules align into stable chains and blocks to form crystals. There are two types of crystals that can develop, and they shape different sizes. Tiny crystals remain in the honey and make honey spreadable due to its creamy consistency. When large crystals form, they drop to the bottom of the container.
While the storage container does not influence whether your honey will crystalize or not, where you store it does. To prevent crystallization, you should store honey at room temperature to keep the sugars dissolved.
When you store honey at colder temperatures, it loses the capability to keep its sugar content liquefied, leading to crystallization.
Even if you follow preventative measures, your honey might still crystalize. Don’t be alarmed if this happens because you can easily reverse it. To re-liquify your honey, simply place it in a jar and let the jar sit in hot water on the stove while you continuously stir it. The heat will help the crystals dissolve. Just be careful not to overheat the honey, as excessive heat can caramelize sugars altering the flavor and color of your honey.
Microwaving should be avoided at all costs, but you can use a bowl of hot water, too, if you don’t have a stove.
Uses for Honey in an Emergency Situation
If you know how to store honey, you’ll be prepared for many potential survival situations where it can be of great help. Honey can be consumed, used for medicinal purposes, other odd purposes, and even serve as a beauty product when you run out of your traditional ones.
Sweetener: If you have honey on hand, you don’t need to stock up on granulated sugar or syrup. You can use honey as a sweetener in place of these, whether in coffee and tea or for other food purposes.
Preservatives: Cut back on traditional food preservatives by replacing them with honey. It replaces the chemical additives and refined sugars found in many of these with natural sugars, ensuring that foods preserved or made with them stay fresher for longer.
Immunity and Energy Booster: Honey consists of antibacterial and antiviral properties, making it a great immune booster. When combined with water, the glucose in honey will also be absorbed by your body. It will enter the bloodstream and brain, giving you an energy boost on top of a strengthened immune system.
Wound Healing: When SHTF, you might not have traditional supplies available to care for wounds. If you have honey in your pantry, you’ll be happy to know that it can be extremely helpful when it comes to wound care. The antimicrobial properties in honey can help prevent wound infections, and when applied generously, it will keep your wound moist to help facilitate healing. Whether you end up with cuts, scratches, or burns, using honey on your injury and covering it with a dressing will efficiently treat your wound.
Colds and Flu: If you come down with a cold or flu during tough times, you can use honey to help soothe your sore, scratchy throat or relieve coughs. Studies have shown that honey can be just as effective as over-the-counter cough syrups. Taking a spoonful of honey combined with hot tea or water will help suppress coughs, while honey’s antiviral properties will help fight the infections associated with colds and the flu.
Promotes Relaxation: Even if you’re not a victim of chronic anxiety and stress, when SHTF, you’re likely to suffer from stress or restlessness at some point. When you’re in survival mode, you need to be at the top of your game. Consuming honey in significant amounts will help your brain produce a calming effect, promote relaxation, and facilitate better sleep habits.
Moisturizer: Honey serves as a great skin moisturizer. If you suffer from eczema or generally have dry skin which can become irritable or itchy, you can use honey on your skin to moisturize it.
Acne Treatment: When you apply a small amount of honey to acne spots, it’ll help treat them. Simply apply the honey, let it sit for about five minutes, and then rinse it off with warm water.
Bait: When you’re in survival situations, you’ll find yourself lucky if you learned how to store honey properly. If you need to catch a sweet-toothed omnivore, you can grab some honey from your prepper pantry and use it as bait.
Honey is excellent survival food, and by simply looking at its range of use, it’s clear to see why it’s so popular amongst survivalists. It’s truly one of those food items that can be said to last forever. Whether you need honey for its nutritious, medicinal, or self-care purposes, you’ll be able to store plenty of it in your emergency food cache without fear of it losing value over the years.
Honey is considered a must-have survival food as it ticks all the boxes that foods in your survival stockpile should: versatility and an indefinite shelf-life. When you store honey properly, it has a shelf-life that lasts decades. The trick is knowing how to store honey to make it last, and now that you’ve got this figured out, you can go ahead and buy honey by the hundreds!