It was a very wet, windy, dreary and horrible day so what better why to occupy my time than to annoy the good folk of an esteemed and reputable bee keeping forum. I blame Google. It’s too easy to get information…the information of folklore and urban myth that is… finding real hard scientific fact is not so easy.
So there I was putting in links in the chat to the discovery of 5,500 year-old honey and The Science behind honey’s Eternal Shelf life all such lovely reads. Little did I know I was up against a serious thinker and was rightly put in my place and challenged to produce hard evidence. Like I said, it was a nasty day, I had time. I put up my sleeves as far as hackles (whatever they are) and dove into the web using key words like ‘academic paper” and “academic research”. I discovered that scientific facts on the shelf-life of honey are surprisingly difficult to find. Of course, when I put in a search with “honey” there was many a lovely rabbit hole to get lost into as well. A few hours later, the best I could find was from a Wiley a paper called Prediction of honey shelf life by Biagio Fallic, Elena Arena and Mario Zappala 2008. The sample size is small but it has quite simply shattered my illusions. Apparently, honey even if kept in ideal conditions, does not last for thousands of years. It might look like it does but I’m not sure if I’d like to eat any of it. Biagio Fallic et al found that…
“Fourteen commercial honey samples of different botanical origin (acacia, chestnut, citrus, eucalyptus, multifloral) were stored for up to 18 months at room temperature. Both 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) and diastase were evaluated and kinetics carried out.”
“The results show that commercial honey shelf life depends on botanical origin as well as processing. Except chestnut, all other honeys showed shorter shelf lives than the declared one (usually 36 months). The shortest values, 15 months, were for citrus and eucalyptus honeys. The longest, 20 months, was for acacia and multifloral honeys”
Where are all the researchers? I’m hungry for more facts.