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How to warm honey?

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DominicReady 

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Although I've been keeping bees for about 2 years, this season is my first for actually getting some honey out. I extracted in early September, then filtered using a coarse kitchen sieve. And the result was 13 jars' worth of honey.

I'd now like to filter again using finer sieves, and muslin. As I understand it, this can only work when you warm up the honey again, as otherwise the honey will be too thick to pass through the muslin.

At the risk of sounding like an idiot (and I'm sure I do), could I not simply put my honey jars on top of a radiator and achieve the right result? Or is the point that the honey has to be warmed up slowly by degrees over many hours?

Basically, what I'm after is a way of getting the honey to the right temperature for fine filtering without having to use a warming cabinet. After all, it's just 13 jars this year, so I don't really want to have to build a cabinet, or buy one. The honey is currently at room temperature (stored in our kitchen), so I'm wondering if I should just go ahead and try filtering with the honey as it is.

Any advice /thoughts welcome! Many thanks
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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It should filter - although it may take a little longer. I can't see a problem putting it near the radiator as long as its not too warm
 

Arfermo 

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Warm it to circa 40C and filter through a sieve lined with muslin.
 

itma 

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Have you got a warm airing cupboard?
Should be a usefully warmer place to leave it for a few days before mucking around with it.
 

dclewis 

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Why not put as many pots as you can into as big a saucepan of water as you have and warm the water to 40°. It'll only take about half an hour in the water bath if they are 1lb pots.
 

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Simple to make a warming cabinet from old fish box which local aquarium supplies are generally only too glad to get rid and a light bulb. Keep an eye of temperature though and don't leave jars in too long.
S

PS Old fish boxes make good bait hives too
 

alanf 

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...filtered using a coarse kitchen sieve. And the result was 13 jars' worth of honey. I'd now like to filter again using finer sieves, and muslin...
Many don't go beyond the coarse filter. Unless there are bits of bee that worry you, all you have extra is pollen and wax. If what you're seeing is cloudiness, that's probably the start of granulation which is turned back to runny by similar heating.

If you do go ahead to refilter you're re-jarring so expect some mess. just removing granulation, the honey stays in the jars Since it's already sealed in jars what you could use is a water bath. You will need to measure the temperature so get a cooking thermometer. Suitable container would be a cool box, add warm and cold water until you get a warm bath at around 50C then add some jars. Every half hour or so, you might have to add some more warm water and gently move the jars to get the temperature of the water back up and distribute the warmed honey in the jars. You should have runny honey in a couple of hours. Dry the jars with a towel if you are opening to filter, diluted honey ferments.
 

VEG 

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If the honey in the jars is starting to granulate then you will have to make sure the jars are washed out otherwise any crystals left in the jar will just start the process off again.
 

itma 

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Just a heads-up that a picnic "cool box" can make a - better than most - warm waterbath ...
 

itma 

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If the honey in the jars is starting to granulate then you will have to make sure the jars are washed out otherwise any crystals left in the jar will just start the process off again.
:yeahthat:

And happening quickly also indicates that the honey would very probably better be 'creamed'.
 

Amari 

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Many don't go beyond the coarse filter. Unless there are bits of bee that worry you, all you have extra is pollen and wax. If what you're seeing is cloudiness, that's probably the start of granulation which is turned back to runny by similar heating.

:iagree:

I only coarse filter. I sell my honey via a Tupaware box outside the hedge in which is a laminated notice 'Like many beekeepers this honey is only passed through a coarse filter. Please excuse any specs of wax, pollen or propolis. Some customers say that our honey helps their hay fever - maybe the specs help!'
 

BeeJayBee 

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I only coarse filter. I sell my honey via a Tupaware box outside the hedge in which is a laminated notice 'Like many beekeepers this honey is only passed through a coarse filter. Please excuse any specs of wax, pollen or propolis. Some customers say that our honey helps their hay fever - maybe the specs help!'
*pedant warning! (Sorry)

specs = abbreviation for spectacles.
specks = very small marks or pieces of dirt. http://oald8.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/dictionary/speck

Did you mean to use the second word, or did your customers would need to wear specs to see the specks? of wax etc? ;)
 

Polyanwood 

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I wonder why you would want to sieve it? It will crystallize again when it cools and depending on the nectar source, may crystallize away from the side of the jar, making it look unattractive. Heating honey always spoils it a little as the compounds that give it its aroma are volatile.

If you want to repackage for sale, I think the idea about creaming it is the best one. I wouldn't sieve it again though unless it had bits of bee in, even if creaming it.
 

DominicReady 

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Thanks all

Thanks all - that's much appreciated.

In reply to one of the threads, it's not that the honey is starting to granulate, but more that I never got round to doing more than coarse filter,so there are still very small bits of wax in there :-(

We're giving the honey away as Christmas gifts as an experiment in a more home-made Christmas, so I'm trying to make sure we have no quibbles from family members expecting xboxes :)
 

BeeNice 

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As a warming cabinet I'm using a national hive, minus frames! with a solid floor and a entrance block. Layout... floor, 60watt light bulb in fixings through the entrance block, brood box, supers to the height you want, solid crown board and roof. You will need something to lift the honey above the light bulb, blocks type thing. Keep checking that it doesn't get to hot. Does well for warming and leaving it longer, melting wax. First year I have had equipment spare!
 

itma 

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As a warming cabinet I'm using a national hive, minus frames! with a solid floor and a entrance block. Layout... floor, 60watt light bulb in fixings through the entrance block, brood box, supers to the height you want, solid crown board and roof. You will need something to lift the honey above the light bulb, blocks type thing. Keep checking that it doesn't get to hot. Does well for warming and leaving it longer, melting wax. First year I have had equipment spare!
I'm likely to make myself something allong the line of Payns "Venus Honey heater". (Under Tools & Equipment, the Honey Processing.)

Its a £200 :icon_204-2: heating base on which you can pile spare poly hive boxes (insulated to keep the heat IN) as one's "cabinet".
Shouldn't be too hard to put together something similar, or to control and avoid spoiling the honey.
 

rachann 

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Have you thought about a home brewers heating belt or mat?
 

herefordshirehoney 

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I'm likely to make myself something allong the line of Payns "Venus Honey heater". (Under Tools & Equipment, the Honey Processing.)

Its a £200 :icon_204-2: heating base on which you can pile spare poly hive boxes (insulated to keep the heat IN) as one's "cabinet".
Shouldn't be too hard to put together something similar, or to control and avoid spoiling the honey.
I'd be very interested how in how you get on with this and any photos pointers would be great - Link to pdf from honey heater website too - http://honeyheater.co.uk/downloads/venus-sales-leaflet.pdf
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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Don't bother fine filtering - or warming. in fact, throw in the odd bit of dismembered bee, find a twee 'farmers' market' type affair in an urban environment label it as 'raw, cold filtered natural honey' and put a greasy tea cosy on your head (it will help not to bathe for a while as well) and some mug will beg you to charge him/her £20.00 for the pleasure of being fleeced by a child of the earth.
 

itma 

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