We should all enjoy honey while we can as the world’s bees appear to be in a rather precarious state. Of course, we hope that the bee will never go extinct, because if it did, so would humanity. Their role in the pollination of crops and plants cannot be underestimated. But what about honey? It’s tasty, but is it also a potential fire hazard in our kitchen? Let’s find out.
Honey is not technically flammable, but it does catch fire easily. That’s because honey won’t ignite at a temperature of less than 199.4 degrees Fahrenheit (93 Celsius) (the benchmark that makes a substance flammable or not).
Though it may not meet the OSHA standard for flammability, honey can still be a fire hazard in some situations. Let’s take a look at some fire safety info about honey.
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Also read: What Makes Something Flammable?
Table of Contents
What Is Honey?
We doubt that there are many people reading this that don’t know that honey is a byproduct of honeybees pollenating flowers, etc. as they go from flower to flower, they collect sweet, sugary fluids from the plants (usually, but not always, nectar).
They take this fluid back to the hive and store it in honeycombs. In the honeycomb it is carefully concentrated to form a strong sugar solution and honey contains roughly the same amount of sugar, gram for gram as table sugar does.
One unusual property of honey is that micro-organisms can’t grow in it. That means you can seal a pot of honey today and leave it for several thousand years and when your great, great, great x 1,000 grandchild opens it, it will taste the same as it does today and be fit for consumption. Or so they say.
Also read: Is Lemon Juice Flammable? [Lime, Orange]
Can You Light It On Fire?
Yes, you can light honey on fire. You should find that if you take a small drop of honey and add it to a flame that it quickly starts to burn away.
In fact, many people believe that you can test pure honey by dipping a matchstick tip in it and then seeing if you can still strike the match.
They say that if you can, then the honey must be genuine and that if you can’t it must be fake. We’re not sure we agree with that assessment (we’ll show you why in a little bit), but it is one of the pieces of “knowledge” that some honey enthusiasts swear by.
Also read: Is Cornstarch Flammable? Will it Catch Fire?
Does It Ignite or Burn Easily?
Yes, honey ignites as we’ve already seen. It has a flash point of around 93 degrees Celsius, that’s about 200 degrees Fahrenheit. That means that honey is readily combustible, and you won’t have to try very hard to get it to catch fire
What Is The Melting Point Of Honey?
If honey is crystalized, it should melt at around 40-50 degrees Celsius or 104-122 Fahrenheit. The exact temperature will depend on the composition of the honey.
The boiling temperature of honey is around 212 degrees Fahrenheit (roughly the boiling point of water) but, it’s worth noting, that if you heat honey above 140 degrees things will start to go wrong with the honey.
What Happens If You Burn It?
If you burn honey, it’s fully consumed, and the majority of the byproducts are water and carbon dioxide.
However, if you overheat honey without burning it, you will find that at temperatures of around 140 degrees Fahrenheit, many of the flavor molecules start to break down and there is a noticeable drop in the quality of the honey.
If it goes over 160 degrees, then the sugars start to caramelize. That doesn’t make the honey inedible, but from a technical perspective, it does mean that the stuff in your honey jar is no longer, really honey.
Is It Toxic If It Has Been Heated?
No, honey isn’t toxic if it has been heated. The worst that could happen is that if it was burned a little, it wouldn’t taste very nice.
Take a look at this video for more info:
However, there are many people who believe that honey has medicinal qualities and the medicinal qualities such as anti-fungal properties, are likely to be completely lost if you heat honey to high temperatures.
So, if you use honey for therapeutic purposes, it’s a good idea to ensure it’s always stored in a cool, dark place with no exposure to extremes of temperature.
However, the good news is that you can use honey to sweeten your tea or coffee without worrying if you’re somehow harming yourself. At its core, honey is really just a mix of fructose and glucose – two sugars. Sugar is always OK in tea or coffee, even if it’s not necessarily OK on your waistline afterward.
Is It True That Fake Honey Won’t Burn?
No and it’s also not true that real honey will pass the match test that we described earlier.
Honey scientists, yes, that’s really a job, say that honey can vary massively in quality and that some kinds of honey are very thick and high in sugar and will pass that match test, whereas others are weaker and runnier and would not.
They say that almost half the honey they encounter just wouldn’t burn on a match head.
They also say that a fake honey can really simulate a real honey very well and it’s impossible to say that it won’t burn on a match head, either.
Here is another way to test if your honey is pure:
What About Pure Honey?
Yes, pure honey can catch fire. That doesn’t mean that it will catch fire, however.
Honey has sugar, which is fuel for a fire and it can burn. It will need to heated to high enough temperatures to ignite or burn.