What happens when we boil honey?

em 28 de Jun de 2023

By Karen Longo – Nutritionist and Nutrition Consultant, Korin

Crystallized honey

Crystallized honey: leaving it in the water bath or in the sun is a way to decrystallize it.



Yes. This is a very common doubt among people.

But did you know that when we boil the honey a substance called hydroxymethylfurfural is produced?

We will explain more about it in the following article!



The HIDROXIMETILFURFURAL (HMF) is a molecule produced by the breakdown of monosaccharides (glucose and fructose) through non-enzymatic reactions induced by heat such as caramelization or Maillard reaction.

This compound is used as an indicator of heat, improper processing, extended storage time or adulteration, which can be observed in both syrups and honey.

Foods containing glucose or fructose that undergo excessive heat treatment produce small amounts of HMF. Examples of foods in which we can find HMF in small amounts are: jams, alcoholic drinks, baked dumplings, etc.

Sweetened beverages containing invert sugar syrup, such as soft drinks and processed juices, also contain HMF.


Honey naturally contains minimum amounts of HMF, which can be increased in some situations such as:

  • Excessive heating
  • Long-term storage and product exposed to direct sunlight and/or places with high temperatures
  • Poor quality/adulterated honey when mixed with invert sugar syrup

Therefore, the eventual consumption of foods containing heated honey results in the ingestion of small amounts of HMF and the same is observed in any foods that undergo a non-enzymatic browning reaction called caramelization. This is less damaging than the consumption of sweetened beverages containing invert sugar syrup or honey stored in inappropriate temperature conditions for a long period of time.



BRASIL. Ministério da Agricultura e Abastecimento. Instrução Normativa nº 11/2000. Diário Oficial da União, seção 1, p.16-17, 23/10/2000.

BRASIL. Ministério da Agricultura e Abastecimento. Portaria nº 6/1985. Diário Oficial da União, seção 1, p.16-17, 23/10/2000.

CRANE, E. O livro do mel. 2. ed. São Paulo: Nobel, 1987.

RODRIGUES, M.V.N. et al. Produção de xarope de açúcar invertido obrido por hidrólise heterogênea, através de planejamento experimental. Ciênc. Tecnol. Aliment. [online], Campinas, v.20, n.1, Abr.2000.

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