I buy my honey (raw) from a beekeeper who is about anhour's drive from my house. I buy it by the bucket- about 4.5 gallons at a time. The honey that I have now, which I bought last winter, is from last fall's collection (is that the right word?). It is very dark.
It too me a long time to get it from the bucket (sealed) into the gallon pickle jars that I normally keep it in. By the time I got around to it, it had already partially crystallized. Now, the honey in the jars is "layered", almost like sedimentary layers. It has layers of crystallized honey, and layers of fluid honey. It smells very... strongly. Almost like it's fermented, kind of an alcoholic smell. I've been told that honey doesn't "go bad". Why does my honey smell so very strongly? Is it still ok to use? There isn't any appearance of mold, though I do notice some foamy like appearance on the top of it.
I have two and a half gallons left of this honey; I really don't want to have to throw it out- not at the cost of good honey around here (about $22 a gallon)! But if it'd make us sick, I don't want to keep it. Any help would be MOST appreciated! Thanks!
Was last year very dry? It sounds like honeydew honey which is made from the sap of trees. And it often does ferment nasty, dark, strong flavored stuff I would bet if your a loyal customer you werent given that on purpose I'd show it to the guy that sold it to you. The only way honey can fement is if it didnt get dehydrated enough (or water was added) like if it was robbed to soon or is that honeydew stuff it just dosent seem to do well.
Sure honey ferments and otherwise goes bad. It's caused by too much moisture, and the #1 cause is extracting uncapped cells. You can also make it go bad by storing it open in a humid area. Honey will absorb moisture.
Crystalizing is a seperate issue. That's just an inherent aspect of a supersaturated solution, which honey in many ways is. You can heat crystalized honey to redisolve the crystals. But, depending on the honey and the crystals, this may not be as effective as you'd like.
i think i'll just keep it for cooking- it tastes fine in my bread recipe. i just won't be eating honey-toast anytime soon, lol!
i do know that when we went to pick up the honey, he said that it was (something other than what he usually sold). he had run out of his regular supply- it was a bad year, and i went late, to get it. i don't think that he'd have purposefully given us 'worse' honey, as opposed to anyone else. he's not like that.
thanks for the help, all. i'm not up to making mead, or vinegar, or anything like that. i can barely keep up with my homemade bread these days! lol!