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Aging honey for improved quality?


Does anyone have thoughts or know of any details about what happens to honey as it ages within a capped comb?

In theory, there would be changes in quality of the honey based on age after capping, through continued action of bacteria, yeast, enzymes, or whatever. Usually, food improves with age. Is honey the same?

We have noticed a pronounced difference (for the better) in flavor and texture for honey left in the hive for several months after capping. I also ran across a very old beekeeping book (from early 1900s) talking about honey quality being best at 6 to 9 months of aging within the hive after capping. There doesnt seem to be much information within the last century though on this topic.

Any thoughts are appreciated.


Some honey is obviously better after a month or two. Goldenrod comes to mind. While they are making it, goldenrod smells like old gym socks. As it matures it gets better. In my experience, though, any improvement is limited to a few months. After that the flavor seems to decrease. Aromatics get lost over time, and HMF breakdown causes the honey to get darker.