The Eternal Shelf Life Of Raw Organic Honey And Why Raw Honey Does Not Spoil

Raw honey in bowl next to honeycomb

Have you ever found a forgotten jar of honey in the back of your cupboard and wondered just how old it was and if it was still good to eat?

Did you try it anyway? Chances are, you did, and it still tasted just as good as the day you purchased it.

Raw honey is one of the few foods that has this ability to remain edible years after you bring it home. In fact, honey that was produced thousands of years old has been found to have tasted just as fresh and sweet as it did when It was first made.

How can raw honey, a naturally created substance that contains no artificial ingredients and no preservatives, remain edible for so long? For that answer, we are going to have to take a look at the science behind it.

We must remember that honey is, after all, a sugar product. Sugar is hygroscopic meaning that it contains very little water in its natural state. A hygroscopic product can also soak in water if not sealed and this is something that we must remember about honey.

The executive director of the Honey and Pollination Center at the Robert Mondavi Institute at University of California, Amina Harris, explains,

“Honey in its natural form has very low moisture. Very few bacteria or microorganisms can survive in an environment like that, they just die.”

This is a very important feature in raw honey’s longevity. This inhospitable environment means that organisms can’t survive long enough within the jar of honey to have the chance to spoil.

Another factor that leads to raw honey’s eternal shelf life is that it is extremely acidic. Raw honey’s pH level is between 3 and 4.5 leaving it so acidic that it will kill off almost every bacteria and organism that finds its way into a jar.

Let's have a look at the actual production of honey and the key part bees play in raw honey's eternal shelf life.

First, bees collect nectar which is very high in water. The flapping of their wings dries it out before it can be mixed with special enzymes in the bees’ stomachs.

This enzyme, glucose oxidase, breaks nectar down into two products, gluconic acid and hydrogen peroxide. Not only is the what makes raw honey such an effective medicinal product, it also helps in creating such a long shelf life for it.

Finally, another contributing factor in the longevity of raw honey is the seal on the jar. Ensuring that your jar of raw honey is sealed properly will keep it fresh and edible.

Leaving the lid off the honey jar can result in your honey spoiling. This is because moisture enters the honey and too much water in your honey will let bacteria grow and thrive.

To ensure your raw honey lasts, keep it sealed and keep it in your cupboard. Or you could do what most people do, just eat it.

Explore our range of raw, unprocessed honeys at

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