One of the most common and deadly disasters that could befall you is a house fire. Most such fires start in the kitchen, so it is worth turning a critical eye to everything that you use when cooking and everything stored in and around your kitchen to assess its flammability.
How about honey, for instance? Is honey flammable?
Yes, honey is definitely flammable, but will catch fire easily. It will ignite at a relatively low temperature of around 200°F and burn steadily. Honey is easy to extinguish using water or any other extinguishing agent, though.
Most folks worry about starting an oil fire when cooking in the kitchen, but as it turns out, you might start a fire with nothing more than honey.
Honey burns pretty readily, so if you get a quantity too close to a heating element or an open flame, you might have a small blaze on your hands.
If you keep your head and act quickly, though, you should be able to put it out easily enough. There’s more to learn about the flammability of honey, so I will tell you more below.
Is Honey Combustible?
Yes, honey is combustible according to AFSA standards. This is because it’s not strictly considered flammable by some technical metrics, but can still catch fire pretty easily.
Does Honey Ignite at Any Temperature?
Yes, it does. Honey will ignite right around 200° F, which is the flashpoint.
Note that different grades of honey, and honey made from different kinds of flowers, might have slightly different flashpoints but that is a figure you can generally depend on.
This makes honey something of a deceptive instance as far as official assessments of flammability are concerned.
Honey’s flashpoint is higher than the nominally scientific assessment of flammability at around 199 °F, but the flashpoint and ignition temperature is still quite low compared to many other substances like oils.
This might lead to confusion and indeed some serious accidents if someone reads that honey is non-flammable in the technical sense, only to learn the hard way that it can be ignited easily by open flame or intense heat.
Does Honey React with High Temperature?
Honey will react with high temperatures by liquefying, if it’s already crystallized, or by degrading if it is already in liquid form.
Once honey starts to hit a temperature of between 135° and 145° F it is going to start degrading.
This will dramatically alter the flavor profile of the honey and not for the better: It will still taste sweet, but it will taste less and less like that honey we all know and love as the temp rises.
As the temperature keeps rising, it will undergo a chemical reaction where the molecules start to break down and then it will eventually caramelize and then burn prior to ignition.
Once this happens, your honey is pretty much ruined.
Will Crystallized Honey Burn?
Yes. If you’ve ever had honey be exposed to air for too long, you know that it will crystallize and assume a granulated form. This doesn’t make the honey inedible or dangerous, but you should know that it can still catch fire as normal.
Will Spun Honey Burn?
Yes, spun honey will burn. Spawn honey is basically just honey that has air whipped into it. It will still burn just like the usual golden stuff that we normally get, but it’s worth noting that it might have a lower ignition temperature considering there are more oxygen molecules in the ratio.
Will Honeycomb Burn?
Yes, it will. Honeycomb is made of beeswax, and beeswax is flammable so it will burn. That is why it is used in candles and has been since time immemorial. Likewise, if you have some fresh raw honey with a chunk of beeswax in it, it will still burn as usual.
Will Very Pure Honey Burn?
Yes, even the purest honey will still burn. Let me explain this one: there’s an old wives’ tale, and it is an old wives’ tale because it’s not true.
It says that the purest real honey won’t burn and you can tell you are dealing with very pure honey because you can dip the head of a match in it and then, upon striking the match, it won’t light.
I don’t know how or when this got started but it’s not true: all honey will burn assuming that it is in-fact honey. Don’t go getting any ideas that you can use your award-winning honey as an impromptu fire extinguisher, either!
Will Honey Make a Fire Worse?
Yes, honey will make a fire worse but not dramatically so. Honey is definitely a source of fuel for a fire, and if it happens to ignite, it will continue to burn until you put it out or until all fuel is consumed.
By that time, the fire is highly likely to spread to something else in the vicinity that is flammable.
Also, if any accidental fire is near a quantity of honey and it comes into contact with it or heats the honey up enough so that it reaches its ignition point the honey will catch fire and continue to burn as normal.
If you have a large quantity of honey stockpiled, in any kind of container, you should know that it is a significant fuel for any fire that might occur. Plan accordingly!
Is Honey Reactive with Other Substances?
No, or at least not reactive with any common substance that could conceivably come into contact with it.
In any case, as best I was able to find, honey doesn’t produce any harmful, hazardous or increased fire risks due to its interactions with any other food or substance you might have in your kitchen or around your home.
How Should You Deal with Honey Exposed to Fire?
You should be able to put out any honey that’s on fire or any fire that is about to reach honey using a sufficient quantity of water or any typical fire extinguisher.
Honey is not a material that reacts adversely with water or any other known fire-extinguishing agent.
In a pinch, you can even smother honey using a fire blanket or using a metal lid if it has been heated in cookware on your stovetop or in the oven. You can also smother a small quantity of honey using baking soda or salt.
But, do keep in mind that severely overheated honey that has been smothered might reignite if you take the cover off as that will let oxygen reach the still too-hot honey serving as fuel.
If you do smother honey that is on fire, get it away from any heat source (if you can do so safely) and let it cool down before you uncover it to dispose of it.
Tom Marlowe practically grew up with a gun in his hand, and has held all kinds of jobs in the gun industry: range safety, sales, instruction and consulting, Tom has the experience to help civilian shooters figure out what will work best for them.