Is it possible to keep honey on a shelf for years? What are the shelf life and storage periods of bee products, and what do they depend on?

Archaeologists often, when opening the tombs of Ancient Egypt, find in them... pots of honey. This medicinal product is 100% preserved. Agree, it is difficult to expect this in a burial place that is more than a thousand years old. How was it able to maintain its properties for such a long time? Does this mean that honey can be stored for years, decades and even centuries and thousands of years? What is the shelf life of natural honey? The leading producer of Bashkir honey, is ready to give a detailed and reasoned answer to the question - how long is the shelf life of honey?

His Majesty Honey: an eternal product for strength and health

A product like honey is known to everyone. It is famous for its pleasant taste and beneficial properties. If people ate it correctly, they would get rid of most health problems. No matter how much the excavation stories inspire us, there is an expiration date for homemade honey. Yes, it can be stored for a long time (under the right conditions!), but like any other food, it will spoil over time.

How long is the shelf life of honey? Honey can be stored forever. But you need to comply with several storage conditions and then it will not deteriorate and will retain its beneficial properties. There are many nuances to this issue. To put it simply: the shelf life of bee honey is indeed almost unlimited, but:

  1. Much depends on the origin, on what plant the honey is collected from. This affects the shelf life of honey.
  2. Over time, the process of crystallization begins. Many people are convinced that since that time the beneficial properties have been lost. This is wrong. Only physical properties (color and consistency) are transformed.
  3. The shelf life of bee honey is almost unlimited if the conditions are correct (this will be discussed later).

Steps to take when returning if a stale product was purchased

If you purchased a stale product at the market or in a store, then to get a refund you should do the following:

  1. For the store - provide honey and a purchase receipt.
    If there are obvious signs of damage (expired date, mold, fermentation), the seller undertakes to accept the goods back and return the money. If the container is open and it is impossible to understand the quality (no smell, impurities, debris), then the seller is obliged to order an examination of the quality of the goods, which the buyer has the right to attend. If the expert determines the damage factor is not the fault of the buyer, the money for the goods will be returned.
  2. On the market - if you purchase a product with signs of fermentation, a specific smell and taste, or mold, you can also return it after an examination.
    In most cases, it is difficult to return homemade honey, since the seller may no longer appear at the retail location.

Secrets of long-term honey storage

The “highlight” of bee honey is that it is stored in a ready-to-use form. The long shelf life of honey largely determines its healing effect on the body. He is one of the few who knows the secret of eternity and can be kept for so long because:

  • Chemical composition of honey. It contains over 300 components. In the list of “leaders” there are glucose and fructose, slightly less sugar, but in different types and varieties, the ratio of how much of this or that “ingredient” is different, hence the changes in physical properties and quality.
  • The shelf life of honey also directly depends on the water content - at least 20%! Natural honey in its natural form always has low humidity, and in such an environment a few microorganisms and bacteria can survive, which also allows it to be preserved longer, since harmful organisms simply die in the near future. The environment in a honey jar is so inhospitable that it is almost impossible to spoil natural honey.
  • High acidity levels in the product according to GOST. PH is in the range of 3-4.5, which makes the shelf life of natural honey so long, because this level of acidity “kills” everything that could “settle” in it! Because of this, bacteria and harmful organisms “hand in hand” are looking for another place to rent, since they will quickly die in a jar of honey.
  • Bee. She dictates her terms. The process of making honey is almost alchemy. Nectar contains a lot of water, and the bee dries the honey nectar by flapping its wings. The structure of the bee stomach is no less interesting, since it can produce the enzyme glucoxidase, which is designed to participate in the formation of 2 more by-products: hydrogen peroxide and gluconic acid. Hydrogen peroxide is another layer of protection against harmful organisms.
  • Homemade Bashkir honey from our production is additionally purified from impurities, so, yes, it can retain its appearance almost forever, although according to GOST, of course, there is an expiration date for honey.
  • Finally, the shelf life of linden honey (or other types) is so long due to the tightness of the vessel. The best proof of this is Egyptian pots that have passed through millennia. If you leave the jar open in a humid environment, it will spoil. This is the main rule.

Each jar should always indicate the shelf life of honey, while a homemade natural product can be stored for years and even decades without any problems if certain conditions are met. Closed containers are one of the keys to success! Thus, the answer to the question “Does honey spoil due to long-term storage” has been found: “No, if you follow the storage rules”!

Signs of corruption

A spoiled or fermented product can be identified by its organoleptic properties:

  • foam on the surface;
  • sour taste.

Once the process is started, honey becomes useless and can cause negative consequences for the body.

About changes in the appearance of honey

During honey storage, it can change:

Changes in appearanceCause
DelaminationSeparation of glucose from fructose. This process does not cause any harm. To make the mass homogeneous again, you need to shake the honey. Often the reason for this phenomenon is the lack of a specific place for collecting nectar for bees, as a result of which they collect pollen from various field, forest, and garden flowers
FermentationThe product contains a large amount of impurities or there is a high level of humidity in the storage
SugaringUnder normal conditions, 3-15 weeks pass before the sugaring process begins. If this does not happen and the product is in a liquid state, then this is a sign of unripe or diluted honey. It is important to consider that some varieties (white acacia) do not thicken for quite a long time. To restore the viscosity of the candied honey, it is heated in a water bath at +40 degrees
Appearance of white foamA sign of insufficient filtration of the product. This does not pose any health threat when it comes to fresh honey. If foam appears on a product that has already been stored for a long time, then this is a sign of fermentation. This honey should not be eaten

Poor quality

You can recognize a low-quality product visually or using several methods:

  • When transfusing, drops and splashes are observed. A high-quality one folds into a mound that slowly spreads out.
  • A kilogram of undiluted product is placed in a 0.8 liter container; a liter jar will weigh about 1.5 kg. Other ratios indicate dilution with water.
  • Turbidity, opacity.
  • Sediment.
  • Foam.
  • Presence of sour taste.
  • When rubbed between fingers it rolls off.
  • Faint smell.
  • Harvested more than a few months ago, it has not been candied.
  • If you pour it over a piece of bread and let it sit for a few minutes, it should harden. If it softens, it means it consists of syrup.
  • You can dilute a spoonful of honey in a glass of water: this will reveal the presence of impurities.


Poisonous is a product for the production of which bees collected nectar from plants dangerous to humans. It is toxic and can lead to unpredictable health consequences.

When consumed, it causes symptoms similar to intoxication: nausea, dizziness and even convulsions. It is impossible to detect it visually; laboratory tests are required. Therefore, you need to take the product seriously and purchase from trusted manufacturers.

Is it possible to use expired

It is strictly prohibited to use expired food. After a set period, vitamins and nutrients disappear, and the fermentation process begins.

In addition, if we are talking about plastic containers, then the material has already released toxic particles into the contents, and the product has become dangerous. May cause poisoning, as well as systemic malfunctions of internal organs.

However, there is a way to partially revive honey. If fermentation has just begun, you need to completely remove the foam from the surface and put it in a water bath to warm up.

IMPORTANT! The temperature should not be higher than 37 °C.

It takes 40 minutes to warm up. During this time, pathogenic microorganisms will be destroyed and the storage period will be extended. However, it is better not to eat it, but to use it for cosmetic masks, massages, and going to the bathhouse.

How and for how long to store honey?

We suggest considering how to store honey. Let us immediately state as a manufacturer that we recommend following the instructions on the packaging about how long the honey has a shelf life. For the rest, practical tips and recommendations will help you:

  1. Keep honey away from light in glass or aluminum containers.
  2. A plastic or glass storage lid is ideal.
  3. Carefully prepare the room, which must have sufficient ventilation and humidity no more than 20%!
  4. Room temperature in the range of 5-10 degrees. Also the temperature must be constant!
  5. Avoid sudden changes in temperature and keep honey away from light.

Such conditions will help you store the priceless delicacy longer, and during all this time you will not wonder how long the honey will not spoil, since all its qualities will remain unchanged.

Plastic containers

Recently, the use of plastic containers has resembled a global obsession. Containers made of popular material are used to store not only liquids, but also dry, bulk products. Honey was no exception. Undoubtedly, plastic containers have a number of advantages over glass containers, but it is not advisable to store honey in them.

We must not forget that plastic containers are a chemical product. Even vessels intended for food products interact with aggressive components. Honey is considered an active substance; it easily absorbs water, odors and chemical impurities from plastic. Of course, this doesn't happen in a few days. You can use plastic containers for transportation or short-term storage, but then it is best to pour the honey into glass jars.

The ideal option is a dark glass container with a tight lid. Ceramics and enamel dishes are suitable for storing honey. Under no circumstances should you use chipped enamel or galvanized iron containers, otherwise the product will oxidize.

Useful tips for storing honey

Storage nuances have an important influence on how long honey retains its beneficial properties. We offer several useful recommendations with which you can extend the shelf life of honey:

  • You can put the product in the refrigerator for several weeks or months. But time should be limited as this is not the best place. Honey's shelf life or shelf life is greatly reduced under such “field conditions”! Due to the low temperature, the benefits and taste disappear. Condensation on the walls and foreign odors are no less harmful. Select a small but strictly airtight container and place it on the door shelf or place it in the vegetable compartment.
  • Don't worry about sub-zero temperatures. Honey will spoil if the temperature drops below -35 ° C, otherwise there will be no effect on the condition. Please note that it is prohibited to refreeze melted honey.
  • What is the shelf life of natural honey when stored at room temperature? Surprisingly, few people know about this. If the temperature on the thermometer is over 20°C, then the sweet nectar is destroyed, loses vitamins, separates, and the shelf life of honey is reduced significantly. Can honey spoil if stored for a long time? Yes, if the room temperature exceeds 10 °C.
  • If you have honeycombs, then the temperature should be within 2-9 °C! The best place for storage is a cellar, warehouse, ventilated room with controlled humidity levels. It is best to divide the honeycombs into parts and store them in different containers, tightly closed with lids. Ideal according to the advice of beekeepers are wooden boxes, pre-putty (each contains a small amount of product). How many years does honey retain its beneficial properties in this form? Typically, storage is recommended for no more than a year, if you store them at room temperature - 6 months.

At what temperature is it best to store honey at home?

The best place to store bee products is the hive. In it, the optimal temperature (5–15 degrees above zero) is achieved thanks to the vital activity of bees. In winter, the optimal temperature is maintained due to the insulation of the bee house, but in summer - due to active ventilation from the wingspan of insects. Based on this, the temperature limits for proper storage of beekeeping products are:

  1. Maximum temperature - 45 degrees above zero;
  2. The minimum temperature is 5 degrees above zero.

The most optimal temperature for storing honey at home is between 5 and 20 degrees above zero.

If you overheat honey , it will develop a characteristic bitter taste and will darken. But the main disadvantage is that beneficial microelements and vitamins will begin to be destroyed when overheated, resulting in the formation of substances that are very harmful to the human body - toxins.

Due to this reaction of honey to high temperatures, beekeeping experts do not recommend putting it in baking dough or hot tea . To dissolve honey, the temperature of the liquid should not be more than 25 degrees. The best way to consume honey is to take it as a bite into a drink.

Low temperatures also contribute to changes in properties and structure . When cold, the bee product acquires a solid consistency and a light color. Therefore, it is not very recommended to store this medicinal product in the cold, although lower temperatures do not cause severe losses of medicinal properties.

How long does honey have a shelf life: a brief summary

So, how long does honey retain its beneficial properties? Let's briefly outline the clear numbers:

  1. It is believed that the most valuable and delicious honey is aged for 3-4 years.
  2. According to GOST, shelf life varies within 1 year in Russia, 3-4 years in Europe. This is true for store-bought products.
  3. Storage period in the refrigerator and freezer – honey has a shelf life of no more than 1 year.
  4. At room temperature, we recommend a shelf life of no more than six months.
  5. If you have a homemade product, then a cold cellar can prolong the shelf life, and it can be stored for over 8 years. Another option if there is no underground floor is a separate refrigerator with a specially set temperature.

Bashkir apiaries: the best honey for health and taste

“Bashkir Apiaries” is a recognized leader and leading producer of Bashkir honey, which creates live, tasty and truly healthy homemade (!) honey (linden, flower and other varieties). You will appreciate all the advantages of cooperation:

  • Pleasant wholesale prices.
  • The products are certified and meet the most stringent quality requirements.
  • Rich experience – many years of work, over 10 years of experience in the market.
  • Careful delivery within the Russian Federation.
  • The mod’s own quality control laboratory, so that every spoon contains a concentration of benefits.

This is exactly what “correct” and “healthy” honey should be, which could also be stored for thousands of years, and perhaps our descendants will find it the same way we found the jugs of the ancient Romans! Try the taste of longevity too!

© Mulyukov S.G., author of articles, director of Bashkir Apiaries + LLC, 2022,

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