Is It Possible For Honey to Expire and How to Prevent It

Many people think that honey will never go bad. We've heard of jars of honey being recovered from old graves and the honey within being as fresh as the day it was sealed.

While it is true that honey has an extremely long shelf life, especially when sealed and stored in optimal circumstances, that's not the exact conditions most of us keep honey in once we've bought it and started using it. 

Why Does Honey Never Expire?

Honey contains very low amounts of water, so it can't easily be contaminated from the air, and the high level of acidity (due to the high levels of glucose) in the honey makes it difficult for bacteria and other microorganisms to live and grow.

Traditionally honey jars are sealed in countries like Turkey with resin and wax; this allows the honey to be stored for years with little smell and taste change. Western society tends to use a plastic lid and sometimes a foil seal around the lid. The lid is secured with a little sealer. While this is useful in keeping the bee pollen in the jar and preventing it from leaking out, it also allows the honey to go bad.

How Do You Know If Honey Is Bad?

When honey goes bad, it turns a murky yellow tint instead of a clear golden colour, and the texture thickens till it's gritty. When it is eventually deemed "poor," the colour becomes white, and the texture becomes hard. This entire process is due to the long-term crystallization of honey.

Another sign is when the honey darkens and loses its scent and taste. This is caused by preserving honey for an extended period. It is not harmful to one's health if ingested in this form, but it is no longer a desirable delicacy.

How to Fix Old Honey

Fill the container halfway with hot (not boiling) water, just enough to cover the top of the honey bottle. After adding the water, remove the cover and let the jar aside for about 15 minutes, or until the honey has warmed to a drizzling liquid. You may do this whenever you wish to use the honey.

How to Keep Your Honey in Good Condition

To consume honey after the best before date, just keep the honey bottle well covered and avoid exposing it to extremely high or cold temperatures.

It is not necessary to store the honey in the refrigerator; instead, keep it in a dark cabinet or pantry away from heat sources. A room temperature of 18 to 27 degrees Celsius is ideal.


Honey is an incredibly nourishing food that offers many health benefits and is rich in vital minerals such as calcium, iron, and magnesium. To sum up, it is possible for honey to go bad, but primarily due to external factors like storage and packaging. If you store your honey in a cool dark place, your honey can last for a very long time, often past the best before date.

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