Has this happened to you? You want to make something wonderful and delicious with some equally wonderful and delicious honey, only to pull it from your pantry to find it looks like this:
Yikes! Crystalization-city! Honey never goes bad, but it can form crystals, and once one crystal forms a chain-reaction begins that eventually turns it all into an unusable mess. What to do? Throw it away? That is a sad thought. Happily there is a way to rescue honey that's become a semi-solid mass of yuck.
Fill a pot large enough to contain most of the jug or container (this was actually the first time I had to rescue a jug this full--my sister found it in the back of her pantry. Heehee.). Turn the burner onto medium-low and let the water gently heat the honey to melt it. Occasionally take the container out of the pot and shake it. (Please be careful, the honey inside will be hot, as will the jug itself. And hopefully it goes without saying that you need to leave the lid on, but just in case: Please leave the lid on.)
Shaking the container does a few things: 1. shaking breaks up the bigger chunks of crystalized honey to help speed up the melting process. 2. shaking helps you gauge the progress. 3. (maybe most important) shaking coats the entire inside of the container with the melted honey, so any crystals that are lurking up at the top won't be able to sabotage your efforts by starting the chair reaction over again once back in your pantry.
How long this process takes depends on how much honey you're rescuing. This particular jug took several hours, but my patience was rewarded with a jug of honey that was perfectly crystal-free and ready to use.
Also, I know that another way to melt honey that's crystalized is to put it in the microwave for a few seconds at a time. I don't like this quick-and-dirty method (unless you are super desperate and need the honey right this minute) because microwaves heat unevenly, it's hard on the plastic container, especially the corners, you have to stand there and babysit it, and it's harder to make sure you're getting every crystal. And, well, my jugs are usually too big to fit standing up in the microwave.