Cloudy honey

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davemacdon 

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OK, so my first year, and still/always learning!

I recently extracted a super of honey producing 4.5 kg of honey after going through my double stainless steel strainer. Placed straight into a plastic bucket to settle, rather than a tank which would need cleaning and obvious wastage to a certain degree. Settled for 5 days

I know I have extracted later than most, but did not expect to get any this year and to me this is a bonus.

My honey is cloudy, runny and tastes fine. Is it cloudy because of the level of filtering? Should I have filtered through some of the wife's (new) tights before bottling? Or is it something to do with temperature and/or crystalisation?

We will still use all the honey, but I would like to know, for next year, how to get it clearer without having top notch machinery and commercial methods.

Hope this isn't one of those stupid questions, but have heard many say ask rather than suffer in silence.

Many thanks,

Dave.
 

MrB 

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i filtered as you did, with a double strainer into plastic buckets to settle.
I then removed the bubbles off the top with cling film then filtered through a 200 micron cloth into a bucket ready for jarring.
nice clear light runny honey. :)
 

Swarm 

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I had a batch like that last year, stayed cloudy even after 200 micron filter. Try standing a jar in hot water, if it does not clear then it's not going to.

Enjoy, it will taste just as good ;)
 

oliver90owner 

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You say you have bottled it?

Gently warm the one that you are using, in the microwave. If it clears by about 50 degrees, you have some granulating honey in amonst your extracted stock.

There is a downside to filtering this off. If the bulk is marginal on water content, you may be filtering off the lowest water content fraction and this will result in a marginally higher water content in the rest. As I say the change will be slight but if marginal in the first place, it can make the difference between OK and fermenting.

Regards, RAB
 

MuswellMetro 

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could be lime or blackberry HONEY, should clear if given a 30sec or twice burst in a microwave
 

Gardenbees 

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My mostly-blackberry honey from this summer is still a bit hazy-looking. Yummy though!

One other possibility: could there be any pollen in it? Capped honey doesn't have pollen in the capped cells, but it's not unheard of for the bees to put some pollen stores around the edges, especially if it's close to brood (e.g. if there's no queen excluder). Large amounts are obvious, but not if it's only a few cells here and there. So you could have slight cloudiness if any pollen spun out when you extracted. In which case, heating wouldn't make a difference; most other hazes would, because they would be caused by early crystal formation... just a thought.
 

MandF 

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Why do we want to make it clear? I was manning the honey stall at our association open day last weekend, and we were selling association honey and members' honey.

The association honey was slightly cloudy, but still selling - I put this down to goodwill towards the association from the public, and/or they have had it before and know its good. There was also a dark cloudy batch from a member we were holding back, as he said not to sell unless we were getting low on the others. We put this out towards the end and it sold well.

Also, when it granulates more before you want to sell next year, it may become naturally soft set, which is accepted as being cloudy even by "ignorant" members of the public who think cloudy = dirty.

Unless you want to show this honey, if you have filtered through 200micron then I would say this is all you need to do.. if it is cloudy - so be it, you have a pure natural product!

And it will sell.
 

alanf 

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Why do we want to make it clear? ...
Unless you want to show this honey, if you have filtered through 200micron then I would say this is all you need to do.. if it is cloudy - so be it, you have a pure natural product!
:iagree:

You won't know why it's cloudy without a microscope. Pollen? Air bubbles? Granulation? Commercially high temperature, high pressure fine filtering leaves you with the clearest product but it's artificial and the rules say it should be declared on the label.

Like beer that has been 'cold filtered' to stop it tasting like beer. Why would I want that? This may be heresy in some parts but I don't get the 'show' aesthetic. Striving to make artisan crafted look like an industrial product? If show enthusiasts want to produce three identical runner beans on some arbitrary day and that's what they enjoy they are welcome to do that. I will be eating mine when they're ready.
 

mattiker 

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I have to say, it feels very much like bee keepers have been backing themselves into a corner here. Think how other food producers like farmers have a job selling perfectly good produce that is not deemed to be the right size/colour/shape. E.g. take any fruit or veg. There does seem to be growing resistance to this mentally, what with the recent campaigns against food wastage....but it still has a long way to go.

Basically I don't think we ought to be feeding the publics' expectation of what 'good' honey should look like. Instead we should be celebrating and promoting the fact that all honey is different. Plus, as someone has already said - the general public does seem to be accepting of such variations.

I personally prefer don't mind a cloudy honey, and my main crop this year was slightly cloudy - I'm not 100% sure why it's cloudy but I think it's because I used a course filter - and from what I've read this is not a bad thing and possibly lets more of the good bits through into the honey, IMHO.
 

oliver90owner 

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alanf,

The poster simply posed the question:

My honey is cloudy, runny and tastes fine. Is it cloudy because of the level of filtering? Should I have filtered through some of the wife's (new) tights before bottling? Or is it something to do with temperature and/or crystalisation?

Simple initiall solution to the enigma may be apparent by warming. No special kit required, initially. If it does not clear then it is unlikely air bubbles, which would easily rise in the more runny honey (and if it is not heather derived), and would not be crystallisation (if warmed sufficiently). Filtering a small quantity would answer the next question.

Only then would more complex analysis be needed, which I doubt would be the case. I always like the KISS approach, at least initially.

Whether it (the cloudyness) matters a jot is another issue entirely.

RAB
 

MandF 

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Sort of, but the "should I have filtered.." line suggests they think there is a problem with cloudy honey.

We are just saying that having cloudy honey is not a problem per se. By all means try and determine why it might be cloudy, I probably would, but out of interest not because I wanted to "fix" it.
 

Swarm 

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alanf said:
Striving to make artisan crafted look like an industrial product?
Very nicely put, I agree with you entirely. I was asking about pollen grains and filtering just a few days ago at our association honey show and was told most are around 30 microns and therefore should not be filtered by a 200 micron filter. Well who am I to argue, though I have my doubts. I have also considered Rab's point about filtering off the lowest water content.
With the exception of 'bits' I'm really not worried about appearance, I've always judged the quality of honey by its aroma and taste.
 

MandF 

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I seem to remember being told that the largest pollen grain was 200micron, so a 200 micron filter would allow all pollen through, which is all I am worried about. Anything else that can get through 200micron is fine with me also - it all adds to the attraction of our honey vs ultra filtered/heat treated/homogenised mass produced honey.

As someone at our association said, if the honey has more "bits" in it, charge more!
 

huntsman666 

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Almost fill a jar and place it in your microwave without the lid.

Give it say 40 seconds at your second highest setting. Remove, stir, repeat until clear. If you have a thermostat probe, set it at about 45C.

Put the lid on and store in the fridge.
 

davemacdon 

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Thankyou for all your replies. I will digest and use the ones I can.

The microwave idea may be more difficult in the jar, as it has the metal wire hinged lids (Like the budweiser bottle tops). Could always decant into another recepticle, but also as many have said - If it tastes nice as it is, accept it as it is.
I would be interested in getting some clearer next year for my own reasons.

200 micron cloth does seem a little expensive at £30ish from T*****s, but I guess will last a long time!

I am just happy to have some honey in this 1st year of beekeeping.

Please do not fight over my thread, I was looking for some answers, not a debate over the art of eating honey. We all have our own reasons for wanting things, and I for one am more than happy to tell someone my experience, and let them decide if they want to take that forward.

Thanks again,

Dave.
 

alanf 

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I was asking about pollen grains and filtering just a few days ago at our association honey show and was told most are around 30 microns and therefore should not be filtered by a 200 micron filter.
Pollen is from under 10 microns to over 100 for some of the wind pollinated plants with air sacs. A newly made 200 micron filter in spec will not permit anything greater than 200 microns but (especially fabric) will catch some debris through hole variation and surface effects that is smaller than 200.

Not against any of the other possibilities of exploring why it's cloudy if the interest has been piqued. As RAB and others suggest warming would exclude granulation, done all the time with honey at the back of the cupboard. Just that if I wanted to know for myself and had a microscope to hand I'd have a look as the first step. It would, however, be curiosity not because I thought there was something wrong.
 

MandF 

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200 micron cloth does seem a little expensive at £30ish from T*****s, but I guess will last a long time!

I am just happy to have some honey in this 1st year of beekeeping.
Thornes do a small cloth square for about £5, and I believe this is 200 micron - its what I use!

Also, your honey is not cloudy due to filtering - our first batch of honey this year I "only" used the thornes stainless steel double strainer - and I believe the finer one is only 500micron - yet that honey was light and clear, and only started granulating (therefore slightly clouding) after a couple of months.

As previously mentioned, we think your honey is just naturally cloudy - if you extract some honey next June I am sure your honey will be clear!

I understand where you are coming from, our last extraction of the year is beautifully dark and clear - and it looks good in the jars, but as I said, dont worry about it - you'll have some clear honey next year..
 

Nic Rhodes 

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200 micron filter will barely touch pollen. Most is 25 to 50 micron in size, however some goes down to a few microns and upto 250 I think but these are the extremes and are not nearly as common. Think 25 to 50 micron as the normal sizes. Personally I have not found below 4 micron or above 200.
 
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oliver90owner 

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Typical analysis of honey is, I believe, about 2% pollen. If someone was selling honey with, say 5% pollen I think Trading standards might have someting to say (well at some level, they would?).

The effect of that typical amount is likely to affect granulation more than anything. Show honey is typically 'polished' by filtering at 75 microns. Don't know what filtration goes on with processed honey. Possibly is why 'guttation'(?) honeys tend not to granulate? Now, if honey were to contain wax, that may be another issue. Probably OK with bees legs in it, so no need to filter... (I always look at the underside of the jar of honey on sale from local producers, just to see if there are a lot of black specs!)

Wind pollinated plants tend to produce the very tiny end of the range, but again these are unlikely to be incorporated in liquid honey, even if foraged by the bees.

Rather than buying the Th8rne nylon 200micron at that price I would be simply buying something from the local market at half the cost for at least twice as much. Mine came from Th*rne years ago, but I now know better...

RAB
 

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