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Does honey go bad?

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The short answer is that when properly stored, raw honey does not go bad. In fact, it is pretty much the only food on earth that does not go bad! This is because honey has several natural properties that make it resistant to fermentation, bacterial development and other factors that normally shorten the shelf life of foods.


First of all, honey has an extremely low moisture content and a very high sugar content. The high sugar content results in a very high osmotic pressure, which basically just means that water flows out of any microbes’ cells, which stops them from growing or reproducing.


The sugar and water molecules also interact together in such a way that microorganisms cannot use the water to ferment or break down the honey. This makes it almost impossible for bacteria to survive, which protects honey from spoil.


Raw & unfiltered honey is also slightly acidic, which further contributes to an environment that is unfriendly for bacteria and other potentially harmful microorganisms. Furthermore, honey is also so dense that it is almost impossible for oxygen to dissolve in it. This also acts as a safeguard against microbes growing and reproducing.


Raw honey also contains additional compounds that help to further protect it against spoiling. For instance, when bees collect and store nectar, they release an enzyme into it called glucose oxidase. 


As this enzyme converts sugar into gluconic acid, it also produces hydrogen peroxide, an antiseptic, antimicrobial substance that helps further defend against bad bacteria. This is also part of the reason honey was used as a wound treatment in ancient times.


You should always consult with your physician or other health care professional before taking any nutritional, herbal remedies or adopting any health advice, whether offered on the Site or otherwise.

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