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Author Topic: Honey never spoils
snopes
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Comment: Several people have told me that honey never spoils and that it
is the only food that never spoils. I have also seen this on several
websites. Is this true?

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Snow-Dog
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Honey will crystilize over time. It doesn't make it inedible, but it is pretty hard to use in that state.


Snow-mmmm crunchy honey-Dog

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Sullen Moon
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I think if you even heat up the crystalized honey it goes back to its original state of runny stickiness.

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damsa
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I would think vinegar would never spoil either.
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timbobmc
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I've warmed up crystalized honey lots of times, and it tasted just fine to me. Vinegar would probably evaporate.

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mccliii
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Honey has some anti bacterial properties but that's not the same as never spoils.
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Soviet Kitsch
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the taste of the honey IMHO changes if it goes into that crystalline form.

I put it in my coffee (strange I know) and the crystallized kind doesn't have the honey-aroma to it. it just tastes like sweet.

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Rhiandmoi
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Honey usually doesn't spoil. It has to do with the sugar content acting as a preservative. But honey draws moisture out of the air so it can get to a moisture level where the % sugar is reduced and then spoilage can occur. If the honey is kept sealed in the comb or in a sealed jar it should be able to last almost indefinately.

As for being the only food that doesn't spoil, it depends on what you mean by spoilage. Anything that has the same properties as honey (low moisture extremely high sugar content) should be able to last in the same conditions that would keep honey good.

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vanilla
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Per Wikipedia:

quote:
Liquid honey does not spoil. Because of its high sugar concentration, it kills bacteria by osmotic lysis. Natural airborne yeasts cannot become active in it because the moisture content is too low. Natural, raw honey varies from 14% to 18% moisture content. As long as the moisture content remains under 18%, virtually no organism can successfully multiply to significant amounts in honey.
Honey has also been found in the egyptian pyramids perfectly preserved and still edible.

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Niner
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I believe that it's non-spoilage tendancies are because honey, like sugar, is very hydroscopic (ie it has a high tendancy to absorb water). This makes it very hostile to bacterial elements, that would love to get it's simple sugars - think of slugs when they get hit by salt.

Yep, here's some info: http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/gen01/gen01338.htm

Looks like given time and air moisture, honey will water itself down and be spoilable.

ETA: ah, spanked...

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0b1knob
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Coc0a butter will not spoil or turn rancid even after decades as long as it is kept dry. Cocoa butter is a waxy nearly tasteless fat which is a byproduct of chocolate manufacture.

It was packed in survival kits for lifeboats for that reason.

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BlackForge
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quote:
Originally posted by Niner:

Looks like given time and air moisture, honey will water itself down and be spoilable.


Or become mead. [Smile] [Razz] [Big Grin]
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entropy9
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quote:
Originally posted by Niner:
I believe that it's non-spoilage tendancies are because honey, like sugar, is very hydroscopic (ie it has a high tendancy to absorb water). This makes it very hostile to bacterial elements, that would love to get it's simple sugars - think of slugs when they get hit by salt.

Yep, here's some info: http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/gen01/gen01338.htm

Looks like given time and air moisture, honey will water itself down and be spoilable.

ETA: ah, spanked...

ummm....sounds logical, but what in blazes is Hydroscopic? I 'm a scientist and the word you want may be hydrophillic, or hygroscopic....but the one you used has no meaning
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Kabouter
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quote:
Originally posted by damsa:
I would think vinegar would never spoil either.

Ah, but look up vinegar worms and vinegar eels.

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Niner
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quote:
Originally posted by entropy9:
ummm....sounds logical, but what in blazes is Hydroscopic? I 'm a scientist and the word you want may be hydrophillic, or hygroscopic....but the one you used has no meaning

[Razz]

Fine, hygroscopic. I've heard both used (and that's mentioned in the article I linked to).

Why hygro and not hydro? Usually "hydro-" is used to refer to water.

Henry

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Joseph Z
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Don't Honey bottles usually have expiration dates like everything else?

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Joseph Z

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Joseph Z
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internet stalled doh

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Joseph Z

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Soviet Kitsch
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I know the last bottle of Sue Bee I bought had an expiration date.

Here's a question that's been burning in my brain: is there a such thing as synthetic honey on the market, like there is with maple syrup? I once had some honey in a coffee bar (came in a little cup like jam and I think it was Smuckers or Knotts Berry) but it tasted like apple juice. strongly. Is this the honey that goes bad?

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Electrotiger
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There is a no-sugar honey made with maltitol. It tastes OK, a little bit like real honey, but the big issue for me is maltitol does some incredibly rude things to my GI tract, so I can't eat much of it.

I don't know if it spoils or not. I've got a bottle sitting in my cupboard that I haven't used in a while; I'll get it out and see if there's an exp date or any warnings or whatever.

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Mau
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My grandparents used to have honey bees, and they would send us fresh jars of honey every year.. I used to love eating the crystallized part.. Our last jar of honey from them, we kept for years. x=
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entropy9
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quote:
Originally posted by Niner:
quote:
Originally posted by entropy9:
ummm....sounds logical, but what in blazes is Hydroscopic? I 'm a scientist and the word you want may be hydrophillic, or hygroscopic....but the one you used has no meaning

[Razz]

Fine, hygroscopic. I've heard both used (and that's mentioned in the article I linked to).

Why hygro and not hydro? Usually "hydro-" is used to refer to water.

Henry

i'm not sure why, some latin-ness is the cause! sorry for being anal by the way...i'm at work and i'm bored
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Delta-V
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quote:
Originally posted by Soviet Kitsch:
Here's a question that's been burning in my brain: is there a such thing as synthetic honey on the market, like there is with maple syrup? I once had some honey in a coffee bar (came in a little cup like jam and I think it was Smuckers or Knotts Berry) but it tasted like apple juice. strongly. Is this the honey that goes bad?

Honey will take on flavor from whatever the bees have gathered the nectar from. The hive that honey was from could have been near an apple tree. But, since generic honey is usually blended for consistency, it was probably 'apple-flavored honey'.

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sunflower
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quote:
Originally posted by Soviet Kitsch:
I know the last bottle of Sue Bee I bought had an expiration date.

Here's a question that's been burning in my brain: is there a such thing as synthetic honey on the market, like there is with maple syrup? I once had some honey in a coffee bar (came in a little cup like jam and I think it was Smuckers or Knotts Berry) but it tasted like apple juice. strongly. Is this the honey that goes bad?

Yes! There is such a thing as sythetic honey, if the packets at Burger King are of any indication. The packet of honey that I got for toast clearly stated "Honey-flavoured spread" (or something of that sort) in small letters.

It got my husband and I thinking - what exactly would you flavour to get this spread? Corn syrup? Wouldn't it just be easier to get real honey?

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Soviet Kitsch
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see, my inkling was that it was condensed apple juice. It just had this very very strong apple aroma/flavor.

I would have thought corn syrup as well had I not tasted it.

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Uraunde
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If honey virtually doesn't spoil because of sugar, does sugar not spoil either?
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abigsmurf
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sugar is a preservative like salt is
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AndrewR
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quote:
Originally posted by Joseph Z:
Don't Honey bottles usually have expiration dates like everything else?

I would guess that's because of food labeling laws that require everything to have a date on the packaging.
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lioness
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackForge:
quote:
Originally posted by Niner:

Looks like given time and air moisture, honey will water itself down and be spoilable.


Or become mead. [Smile] [Razz] [Big Grin]
So true, and so good.
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PallasAthena
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quote:
Originally posted by vanilla:
Per Wikipedia:

quote:
Liquid honey does not spoil. Because of its high sugar concentration, it kills bacteria by osmotic lysis. Natural airborne yeasts cannot become active in it because the moisture content is too low. Natural, raw honey varies from 14% to 18% moisture content. As long as the moisture content remains under 18%, virtually no organism can successfully multiply to significant amounts in honey.
Honey has also been found in the egyptian pyramids perfectly preserved and still edible.
Did they actually find jars of honey or is that just related to the UL about the archaelogists/tomb raiders who eat ancient honey only to find a dead child preserved in it? I know they have found sealed bottles of wine, but I can't remember from my archaeology classes anything about honey.

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"How do you make chocolate? You take dark chocolate, you mix it with white milk, and it becomes a delicious drink. That is the chocolate I am talking about." --Ray Nagin

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magpie
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Clostridium botulinum can live in honey. Is that considered spoilage?

And just because something is edible doesn't mean it isn't spoiled. I would say that that natto is spoiled. I wouldn't eat it. It's like rotten soy beans. But many Japanese would say it's perfectly edible.

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Ganzfeld
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quote:
Originally posted by mage:
I would say that that natto is spoiled. I wouldn't eat it. It's like rotten soy beans.

Natto is fermented. If that's "spoiled", you'd have to call beer, wine, cheese, and many other foods "spoiled". (I had natto for dinner yeasterday. I love it. [Smile] .)

Since we use "spoiled" in non-food contexts to mean something that is "ruined", I wouldn't call something spoiled unless it can't be eaten.

ETA: Welcome to the board, mage
ETA 2: "yeasterday" ? I swear I didn't mean that as a pun!

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StewPot
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I swear I've participated in a thread very much like this one a while back, but I can't find it for the life of me.

So...

Move along, no chow to see here...

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Brad from Georgia
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Honey can ferment. You have to water it down and add yeast, but it can ferment.

The product is "mead."

And I have to say, it is one of the worst-tasting substances I have ever willingly put into my mouth.

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Mystara
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I've actually heard the same thing about Ketchup (or Catsup if you prefer) as something that doesn't spoil.

I know both are heavy sugar base, so would that be the reason why?

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StewPot
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Aha! I knew it! I'm not crazy after all! (Well, at least not about the honey)

None of these dealt with only the honey question, so it was difficult to find them:

Almost-a-honey-chow- chow- chow!

It seems many useless trivia buffs have adopted this bit-o-honey as part of their "bet-you-didn't-know" lists.

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One of my favorite philosophical tenets is that people will agree with you only if they already agree with you. You do not change people's minds.
-Frank Zappa

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