Raw(unpasteurized) honey is the only type of honey that hasn't been over-processed and radically altered from its original state. After being harvested, it's not filtered or heated excessively to remove bacteria, hence why it goes bad faster than commercialized brands. However, if stored properly, raw honey can last up to a year which makes you wonder: "Can raw honey go bad?"
Here are some helpful hints on how to keep your raw honey fresh and prevent it from going bad too quickly:
1. Keep It Cool - Certain enzymes in raw honey will become active at higher temperatures and cause fermentation. To slow down this process, store your jar in a cool area such as a pantry away from direct sunlight. Avoid keeping the jar in the fridge as this may also speed up fermentation.
2. Store it Sealed - Do not leave open jars exposed to air, as it can allow moisture and bacteria into your jar of honey. A sealed jar will prevent any harmful agents from entering the container and help keep your honey fresh for longer.
3. Use a Clean utensil to Scoop Out Your Honey - Make sure the utensil you use is clean and never double dip back into the jar so any bacteria on the utensil doesn't get mixed with your fresh batch of raw honey. Never pour out large amounts of honey at once as this might expose your product to too much air which may cause fermentation faster than normal if stored improperly. If you use a utensil to scoop out your honey, the chances of you getting any bacteria in there is much less than if you were to tip the jar and use your fingers which we don't recommend.
4. Store it in Glass - If possible, avoid storing your honey in plastic containers as this may cause degradation and affect its taste and consistency over time. Although some suppliers claim that their product will stay fresh for years, there are no long-term studies on this so think twice before buying big commercial-sized packages of raw honey. Honey is very susceptible to absorbing flavors from other items near it so keep it away from strong smelling foods such as garlic or onions if you want to maintain its smell and taste over time.
5 . Check for Signs of Fermentation - If you see any signs of fermentation such as if your honey or taste has changed, it's probably best to discard the batch and start over with a new one. But remember! Just because your batch may have gone bad doesn't mean it's unsafe to consume so don't throw away the whole jar just yet. Although raw honey goes bad over time, if processed correctly and stored properly, it can last up to a year which is why we always recommend buying small amounts of raw honey at a time instead of big commercial sized jars that tend to lose flavor over time and may not be worth it for those who like cooking or baking with lots of different flavored honeys.