The Best Ways To Keep Honey Fresh

The versatility of honey makes it a must-have item in any kitchen. But whether you're using it as the star ingredient for a recipe like delicious honey cake or as a subtle sugar substitute in your teas, coffees, marinades, or baked treats, you absolutely need to store it properly so it lasts longer and keeps tasting great.

The first step to preserving honey the right way is to pick the right container. Though honey commonly comes in plastic bottles for easy use, a beekeeping expert told Martha Stewart that she recommends buying honey packaged in glass or transferring it into glass containers because "plastic is known to be permeable to water vapor, gas, and odors." When stored in plastic, honey can lose moisture, or alternatively, absorb more of it. You can avoid this by keeping honey in glass, which maintains an optimal "liquid to sugar ratio" for preservation.

Something you want to avoid is metal, according to food-safety experts at Utah State University. Because of honey's slight acidity, storing it in containers made of metal or with metal lids can lead to rust on these surfaces. Ceramic is also not good for storing honey. Though honey pots are fun and adorable, they actually don't hold up very well for the long term. Instead keep your honey in a Mason jar or any glass container with an air-tight seal (via MyRecipes).

Storing honey in a dry location

Once you have your honey in the right container, you now need to keep it in a suitable environment. The absolute worst conditions for honey are high temperatures and moisture. It's ideal to store honey at room temperature in a pantry, a kitchen shelf, or another place that is away from sunlight, the stove, or any appliance or device that gives off heat, per The Spruce Eats.

However, you also want to avoid (too) cool temperatures as well. If you keep honey somewhere below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, it can crystallize. But, don't be alarmed if it does. As MyRecipes explains, crystallized honey is still safe to use and consume, but it may be a gritty texture that's less than ideal.

It's also important to keep moisture, and thus air, away from honey to make sure it stays viscous and enjoyable to eat. When you need to scoop some honey out of its jar, The Spruce Eats recommends you use a dry, clean spoon; otherwise, your honey can quickly go bad or ferment.

Honey shouldn't be stored in the refrigerator either because, as previously mentioned, it will crystallize — becoming hardened and difficult to use. This can be a personal preference though, according to Martha Stewart. There are some people who enjoy the texture of crystallized honey. If you count yourself among them, then feel free to pop your honey into the fridge.

Keeping honey in the freezer

Freezing, on the other hand, is a different story. When you have an excess amount of honey to store and don't need to use all of it immediately, you could consider putting some of it in the freezer. In fact, beekeeping blog Beekeeping ABC recommends it as a safe way to preserve honey for long periods since it prevents bacterial growth while also retaining nutrients, antimicrobial properties, texture, and flavor.

A safe and convenient method of freezing honey is to put it in an ice cube tray. Pour honey into the individual compartments of the tray but be sure not to fill them up completely because it will expand in the freezer. After keeping the tray in the freezer overnight, take out the cubes of honey and transfer them into a freezer-safe storage bag. Label it with the date so you can keep track of when it was stored. You can preserve the honey this way for a few years (via MyRecipes). By keeping your honey fresh, you can get the most of what you buy and continue adding a touch of delectable sweetness to everything you make.