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Foods -- Sweeteners

What causes honey to foam during storage?

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Honey is best stored in a dry place at room temperature. A dry place is critical because the moisture content of honey is a key factor in its keeping quality. At high humidity, honey will pick up moisture from the air. When the sugar content of honey becomes diluted by extra water, yeasts found in the honey will start to ferment the sugars. The fermentation will be accompanied by foam and crystal production at the top of the jar. If caught early enough before the honey is well on its way to becoming Mead, an alcoholic beverage,the fermentation may be halted. Place uncovered jar of honey in a pan of several inches hot water, not boiling. Heat slowly until the crystals and foam disappear. The honey will become darker with this heat treatment and you will get some flavor change.

PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, and Carolyn J. Lackey, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.N., Professor/Food and Nutrition Specialist, North Carolina State University (August 2004)

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