QuickCheck: Is it true that honey does not expire?

HONEY is one of the sweetest things nature has provided to mankind.

But is it true that honey does not expire?



Surprisingly, honey can last for decades and does not spoil. This is evident in reports of modern archaeologists unearthing Egypt's tombs, as pots filled with honey that never spoilt were found among the ancient artefacts.

To understand how this happens, it is crucial to understand how this sweet liquid is made.

Honey is a natural substance produced by bees from the nectar or secretions of plants

The bees suck nectar from the flowers, mix it with saliva and enzymes and store it in a honey sack. This mixture is left in the hive to ripen and it is meant to be used as food for the colony.

Honey is made up of about 80% sugar and has a low water content. The sugar helps prevent the growth of various microbes such as bacteria and fungi.

The limited amount of water means that only the sugars interact with the water molecules - and these water molecules cannot be used by microorganisms, so fermentation in honey cannot occur.

In addition to that, bees secrete an enzyme called glucose oxidase into the nectar when producing honey to help preserve it.

However, do take into account that honey should be kept in an air-tight container and scooped with clean, dry utensils to prevent moisture contamination.

On a side note, the recent pandemic saw an increase in sales of raw honey and honeycombs, as Malaysians looked for ways to boost their immunity.

Some evidence suggests that honey has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Historically, it has been used to treat wounds (it has antimicrobial properties) and alleviate coughs.

So, if you want to live a sweet life, get yourself some honey and keep it stored properly.


1. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/does-honey-go-bad

2. https://www.allrecipes.com/article/does-honey-go-bad/

3. https://www.thestar.com.my/lifestyle/living/2022/05/17/how-raw-honey-shot-to-fame-during-the-covid-19-pandemic

4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5424551/

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