Preparing Honey

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House Bee
Jun 1, 2009
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Waterlooville, Hampshire, UK
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As a noobee about to collect his first honey, could people let me know if they treat their honey at all please?

In Ted Hoopers book he says -

For the production of clear honey the crystallized crop has to be rendered back to a fluid. This is usually done by heating to 52°C (125°F) for 2 days. Again adjustment will be needed for size of storage container and hardness of honey. When the honey is taken from the warming cabinet it can be strained very easily and quickly through a nylon cloth to remove from settled honey the last few bits of wax and aggregated lumps of pollen which otherwise give the final honey a cloudy appearance instead of a bright sparkle. A temperature of 52°C will still leave a considerable number of crystals small enough to get through the straining cloth, so that the honey will rapidly recrystallize, and there would hardly be time to get it to the shops and sell it before it was half set again. To avoid this, it should be heated again after bottling, this time to 62°C (i45°F) for an hour in a waterbath.

Do people do this?

Or do you just sell it as crystalised honey?

Or what else?

Yours Roy
honey not heated.

I had to use Babblefish :(
I suggets you put the honey into buckets - the 30lb food grade plastic ones are a good size for small scale beekeeping.

If the honey crystalises quickly (i.e. in a week or two) then you can forget about making runny honey. If your honey is from Oil Seed Rape then it has probably already gone solid in the comb but if it has been collected over the last month or so you have a good chance it will remain runny for a longish period. It depends on what the bees have been foraging. If you just pour it into the jars straight from extraction it may crystalise coarsely and you will struggly to fine filter it. This is why letting it first set in a bucket is a good idea as it allows you to see the texture, but if you are going to keep it for your own consumption and don't mind the odd bee's leg in the honey then by all means bottle it straight away. There is a demand for honey that has had little done to it but most prople prefer fewer bits of bee and runny or soft set with fine crystals. How you get the latter is to stir in not less than 10% of a fine set honey as a seed and keep stirring it from time to time until it is well dispersed - this will take a few days in my experience. You can then bottle it and ideally keep it at 14C until it sets - this will give the best crystal size.

I heat more or less as described by Hooper but not for as long. I use a warming cabinet heated by a small bulb and made out of 50mm rigid insulation. You have to get up to about 50C to melt set honey and it will then run through a filter cloth readily. After bottling a second quick zap of heat helps remove bubbles.
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Thanx for your replies :)

I have no idea what type of honey I have, all I know is that it started coming in at the middle of June, and has been coming in ever since (I live near Portsmouth, central south coast of England).

I do intend to sell some of my honey (if there is any left after giving to friends and family).

I like the idea of "miel non chauffé", but is it your experiences that this is what people want?

Or do they prefer it like 'supermarket honey', clear and runny?

Any other tips and advice greatfully received.

Yours Roy
I had to use Babblefish :(

Sorry about that admin. I was going to translate it, but then remembered that when I did a similar thing on another forum, I was accused of being condescending. You can please all of the people none of the time.:confused:

Gingernut, my experience is that people will buy anything. Once. But it’s not that simple. I sell in a context of organic produce, and so the customers are already on the lookout for this sort of thing. I am also lucky that I don’t have flows of OSR, clover etc. that give fast crystallizing honey. In other words, I don’t need to heat it. If it’s your first crop, then just concentrate on not spoiling the honey. Rooftops gives good advice for this. Next year, try to see what the bees are foraging when the nectar’s coming in quickly- this can help with your strategy. But always be on the lookout for ways of showing a difference between your honey and that of other people.

Rooftops, your method for stirring in about 10% of a seed honey, is this to give what we call in France *creamy honey*, or do you stir slowly in order to have uniform crystallization ?

Jean, are you still in the EU in France! Your not allowed to call it "Creamed honey" any more as it doesn't have cream in it.

The above is a joke but is based on fact. Here in the UK we used to sell creamed honey and no doubt some still do but we are supposed to call it soft set now.

And yes, stirring in a seed of fine honey is to encourage the rest of the honey to set in a likewise fine fashion. On an industrial scale some manufacturers freeze dry some honey and then grind up the resulting crystals very finely. The problem for the rest of us is where you get the seed from if all your honey sets coarsely? In my case one lot did set on its own with a nice smooth texture so I used that on later batches and always ensure I don't sell the last few jars so I can do it again.
Good tip Rooftops regards keeping some back,I think many of the big guns do the same to use next year as seed.
I suggested this on another site and got my head in my hands.

However it is the way I started and its the way many have gone.

Find a honey whose quality you like. Use it to start off your starter. One to ten will work well. Once yo have your starter mix your batch and as mentioned above keep a few pounds back for next year.

I made the mistake of mentioning Canadian honey as being of a good texture.

Or if you can find it Struans blossom is excellent for the job.

Spun our first 2 supers yesterday 2 gal of light gold is the result .
Bottled a jar for my son the rest is settling, he's eaten half a pound in two days !

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