Overheated honey options & warming cabinet thermostat

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New Bee
Apr 8, 2018
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South West Scotland
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Had a bit of a disaster over the weekend - I normally warm my honey at 47C (air temperature) for 24 - 36 hours before final filtering & bottling to ensure it's fully liquid and any granulation crystals have dissolved. I check it regularly and give the honey a stir during the day but unfortunately the thermostat / temperature controller on my warming cabinet failed sometime during the night while warming a 30lb bucket and the air temperature was at 93C when I checked in the morning (honey temp 81C).

The honey tastes fine but I obviously can't sell it as the HMF levels will be way too high. I could possibly sell it as bakers honey (but not sure who would want 30lbs as a one off and guess I would get very little for it).

So I have 2 questions :-

Would it be okay to feed back to the bees in autumn (back to the same colonies it came from)? And if so would it be best to mix with normal sugar syrup?

This is the second time I have this sort of problem. The first time I caught it before the temperature got above 55C and replaced the cheap chinese thermostat with an RS Pro model that I thought would be more reliable. Can anyone recommend a reliable, fail safe thermostat / temperature controller? Alternatively I may fit a temperature fuse that will trip out above a set temperature but the lowest setting I can find is 72C - any other suggestions?

Thanks in advance for any help.
A lot of folks on here use an stc1000 including me.i use it for incubation as well as warming cabinet.quite accurate and never had a problem with either of mine.
Not back to the bees, definitely due to HMF.
Eat it yourself.

HMF is harmful to bees but not a problem to us Humans!

I have a fudge maker who will buy all the "Bakers Honey" I can supply... usually the dreadfull brown stuff that comes out of the Apimelter! ( still tastes OK!)

Used as an indicator that honey has been heated... bet most supermarket honey has high HMF levels... and AFB spores!

Yeghes da
Thanks for the advice.

Not back to the bees then - best start looking for a customer for bakers honey!

"Eat yourself" - 30lbs is a bit much for me to have myself - although I do give some to friends & family. Is it safe to eat? I assume it must be given it can still be used as bakers honey.

Is the STC1000 a type of thermostat / controller or a make? Looks very similar to the RS one I've been using.
Is the STC1000 a type of thermostat / controller or a make? Looks very similar to the RS one I've been using.

Just key it into your browser search. Sooo common.
This is a good link setting out some interesting points. I know not if they are correct though!!!!
I don't think anyone is likely to eat enough honey with high HMF levels to cause any adverse effect
It is merely a pointer to the quality of the honey
Personally I wouldn't worry at all about it and I would sell the honey as normal.
I can't see that you are going to cause anyone any harm. If someone knows different then please feel free to correct me .
The one thing I would not do is feed it back to the bees
It may not do most healthy humans any harm, but there is a legally permitted maximum of HMF in honey for UK Sale.

Honey (England) Regulations 2015, Schedule 1, Section 6.

Not sure how the average home beekeeper is expected to measure it though.
It may not do most healthy humans any harm, but there is a legally permitted maximum of HMF in honey for UK Sale.
This is not for toxicology reasons. HMF levels increase in honey as you heat it...at room temp it takes several years to reach permitted maximum, but at 50C only a few days....So it's used as a measure of the quality of the honey.
It is supposed to be toxic to bees, but this was an observation on overwintered bees. I'm not sure how much science there is behind it....anyone know the details with references?
Try your local butcher too. I sell my bakers honey to ours and he makes delicious honey sausages with it.
It's fine to eat, far higher HMF in caramelised sugar.

Indeed !
All preserves/jams are boiled to soft ball and must have high HMF content !,

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
I looked from YouTube, how they boiled in India some kind of candy or brown sugar from sugar cane juice. I do not think that stuff was poisonous.

Its fudge that is boiled to soft ball temps around 112/113C.
Setting point for jams and preserves is 105C.
Boiling sugar solutions (sucrose) to these temperatures does not produce any HMF.
You need to heat sucrose to 150C where inversion occurs and the sucrose breaks down into glucose and fructose. It is the further degradation of these monosaccharides at these high temperatures that then produces HMF.
(Bergdog and Holmes, 1950)

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