The Science Behind Why Honey Lasts Forever

Honey has been used in various cultures as both a food and a natural remedy for thousands of years. The sticky sweet substance is known to have many health benefits, such as reducing the risk of contracting influenza and lowering blood sugar levels after eating. If you’ve ever had honey before, then you know that it won’t go bad for quite some time. In fact, it can even last forever! So what exactly makes this golden liquid so special? How does it have such properties that make it virtually indestructible? It turns out there is actually a lot of science behind why honey lasts forever. Let’s take a look at the chemical properties that allow honey to remain stable for so long.

What Exactly Is Honey?

Honey is a sticky, viscous substance that is created by bees from the nectar of flowers. It can come in many colours depending on the source of the nectar and the flowers from which it was produced. The most common variety of honey is dark amber in colour, but it also comes in lighter shades such as golden, white, and even blue (depending upon the source). While honey is sticky and gooey when it’s liquid, it turns into a solid when it’s dried out. Honey is made up of approximately 82% fructose, 19% glucose, and a small amount of sucrose, along with trace amounts of amino acids, minerals, and water. It also has traces of proteins, acids, and vitamins.

Withstand Extreme Temperatures

As you know, honey is sticky and gooey, which leads many to believe that it requires a warm environment to exist in. However, honey actually has the ability to withstand extremely cold temperatures. In fact, it can last for thousands of years in a frozen state! There are two main reasons for this. For starters, the high fructose content of honey makes it an excellent antifreeze. This means that the substance is able to retain its liquid state, even in really low temperatures. Honey also contains a particular type of sugar called sucrose that actually helps to create ice crystals when in a liquid state. This is important, as ice that has been formed by sucrose is more brittle than regular ice, meaning the substance will be able to withstand extreme temperatures for longer.

High levels of sugar and amino acids

Proteins are the main building blocks of all living organisms. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to survive. However, as honey is not a living organism, we wouldn’t expect proteins to be present in this substance. But that’s not the case. In fact, high levels of amino acids are found in honey. This is another reason why it can withstand extreme temperatures for so long. When you look at the chemical structure of honey, you’ll see that it is mainly a combination of sugar and amino acids. What’s interesting is that the amino acids found in honey are the same ones that are found in the proteins of living organisms. This is why honey has the ability to protect itself against outside elements. The amino acids in the substance can actually form a protective barrier around it! This barrier keeps the honey from being altered or broken down by bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms.

Proteins Called Protease

As we’ve discussed, there are certain proteins present in honey that allow it to withstand extreme temperatures for an incredibly long time. However, these are just normal proteins. What about proteins that are created in a laboratory? Can these be added to honey to make it last even longer? Surprisingly, the answer is yes! You may have heard of a popular trick that involves adding an enzyme called protease to honey to extend its shelf life. This enzyme is actually able to break down some of the proteins in honey, which slows down the rate at which it spoils. Protease is even added to honey that is sold commercially, as it allows it to last for an extended period of time. Some people believe that adding protease to honey can help treat a number of ailments. However, it is important to note that there isn’t enough of the enzyme in honey to have a therapeutic effect. Even if you add more, it won’t help.

Glycerol and sugars called glucans

Another interesting substance found in honey is glycerol. This substance is actually a type of alcohol that is naturally created when bees collect nectar from flowers to produce honey. Glycerol has the ability to create a protective barrier against outside contaminants, similar to the way that amino acids do. While glycerol is only found in trace amounts in honey, it can actually be extracted and used as an additive to extend the shelf life of the substance. A final substance found in honey is a type of sugar called glucans. This is actually a type of fibre found in plants. Like protease, glucans can be added to honey to extend its shelf life. It is also believed that it could have health benefits, such as lowering cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

Conclusion

Honey is an incredibly common and tasty sweetener that has many health benefits. While most people know that it can last a long time, few people know why. It turns out that there are a few different chemical properties found in honey that allow it to remain stable for so long – making it very long lasting food. For starters, the high fructose content of honey makes it an excellent antifreeze. High levels of sugar and amino acids create a protective barrier that keeps the honey from being altered or broken down by bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms. Protease can even be added to honey to extend its shelf life even more. While it’s unclear how long honey can last for exactly, it has been discovered in ancient Egyptian tombs that it can last for thousands of years!