While one of the greatest facts related to honey storage is that it doesn't turn bad even without preservatives or aadditives, liquid honey is susceptible to physical and chemical changes during storage; it tends to darken and lose some of its aroma and flavor. Over time, liquid honey also tends to naturally crystallise and become "sandy". The process of crystallisation can be easily reversed and does not affect the taste and quality of honey at all, although it affects its appearance.
Hence, for commercial reasons, a certain shelf life is printed on the honey bottles sold in the shop. I often read from honey storage tips that honey can be kept at room temperature and should not be stored in too cold nor too hot place. The problem here is that it can be confusing because room temperature varies from country to country! For instance, where I live, room temperature sometimes could be as high as 35°C but I do not refrigerate any of my honey as cold temperatures would speed up the process of granulation. The speed of crystallisation also varies for different types of honey. Tupelo honey and Acacia honey, for instance have a tendency to remain as liquid and are able to slow down crystallization better than other types of honey, whereas Lavender honey rushes to crystallise.
Honey that has been heated to 130 or 140 degrees will remain liquid for a few months. I would advise honey to be stored at a temperature of 21°C to 27°C or 70°F to 80°F in a dry cupboard, make sure that the cap is on tight since honey tends to absorb moisture from the environment, which can lower its quality. Also store honey away from direct sunlight as it could affect its properties. And this is the reason why some honey come in dark containers.
However, these dark containers do not allow consumers to judge the color, viscosity, clarity, and crytallisation of the honey. Also, glass packaging is preferred by some people because glass is neutral and doesn't react to honey and change its quality. It's easy to restore granulated honey to its natural state, for instance you could put grainy honey on hot toast, the granules will melt as you eat.
You can also place a granulated jar over hot water (about 50-60°C), as soon as the granules are dissolved, remove the honey from the heat and let it cool as quickly as possible. Remember, never boil honey! Copyright (c) 2008 Ruth Tan.
Ruth Tan is the owner of the website Benefits of Honey at http://www.benefits-of-honey.com which is an immensely rich, quality resource on honey and its benefits, and a plethora of health-related issues.