Chrystallation of Honey

Discussion in 'Products of the Hive' started by MoBee, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. MoBee

    MoBee New Member

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    Can anyone tell me how to prevent separation and /or chrystallation of raw honey? We triple strain our honey and use glass jars. We found that this year, within a short period of time, our honey had basically solidified slightly and had a gritty texture, indicating chrystallation.
     
  2. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    A lot depends on the source of nectar. Goldenrod and Aster will granulate much quicker than other sources, such as Clover. You can flash heat your honey to basically stop the granulation process but in my humble opinion it ruins it. Heating honey past a certain point starts to destroy enzymes.
    Educate your customers that honey that doesn't granulate (ever) with the exception of one or two types, Tupelo,etc. has probably been heated. Honey that shows signs of granulation is proof that your honey is unadulterated and natural. Nothing wrong with granulated honey, but if they want liquid just have them set it in a bowl of warm water.

    By the way, I just noticed that this is your first post.
    WELCOME :hi:
    Feel free to hang around, ask questions when you have them and contribute when you can.
     

  3. Omie

    Omie Active Member

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    Was the honey in question made from the Spring nectar flow, or from the Fall flow?
     
  4. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    I built a hot box that has two 100 watt light bulbs in the bottom of it. I bought a thermostat from Kelly's with different temp. settings, the box will hold two five gallon buckets of honey. If the honey is granulated (solid) i can set the temp. at 110 deg, and it will bring the honey back to liquid in 2 to 3 days with no harm to the honeys natueral state.I also put quart jars that has started to granulate in the hot box to stop them from granulating. Jack
     
  5. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    Welcome to the forum MoBee come back often You will learn things you never thought you would need to know.
    Here are some cut and paste and links to honey and the crystallization of it.

    http://www.beekeepingforums.com/threads/7562-flowers-that-affect-honey-crystallization-any-list
    The ultimate book on honey was written by Dr Eva Crane Honey: a comprehensive survey was published in 1975 and is 608 pages long. It only deals with honey but is extremely scientific and not easy to read cause of all the Latin and scientific terms. She published an other smaller book on honey A book of honey Dr Eva Crane which at 193 pages is easier to read and understand. I think they are both out of print now but can be found on line.
    What causes honey to granulate? Honey is comprised of 5 different types of sugars. Sucrose, Glucose, Dextrose, Fructose, and Levulose. Only 2 of those 5 sugars will granulate. The factor in how fast honey crystallizes is the % of the different sugars in the honey. The other factor is temperature, the optimal temperature for crystallization is 54 Deg. F. Honey kept at temps above 90 Deg. F. will stay liquid but exposure to long periods of heat will deteriorate the honey. Honey placed in a freezer will also stay liquid.
    Some of the fall honey crystallizing in the frames quicker is due to the cooler temperatures at night and the bees only heating the brood area where in summer the whole hive is kept warmer


    One way to deal with crystallization it to control the process and sell creamed honey.
    http://www.al.gov.bc.ca/apiculture/factsheets/603_creamhoney.htm
    or the link to the thread
    http://www.beekeepingforums.com/threads/8379-creamhoney?p=170823#post170823


    Other conditions that happen when honey granulates can be fermentation.
    http://www.beekeepingforums.com/threads/7956-Fermenting-honey
    Raw honey if the moisture content is below 17% it is considered a saturated sugar solution and even though there are yeast spores in it, they cannot reproduce (grow).
    In general if the frames of honey are caped to between 2/3 to ¾ before extraction the honey will have a moisture content below 17 % (ripe) and should not ferment. But it can and dose, why ?

    Ripe Honey Fermentation is tied to the crystallization of honey . Honey that is pasteurized has been heated to 160 Deg F for 4 to5 minutes to kill the yeast spores so the honey can have a higher moisture content with out the fear of fermenting. It also aids in reducing the rate of crystallization of the honey by dissolving any crystals in the honey.
    Honey crystallize since it is an over-saturated sugar solution. Honey is made up of four different sugars. Fructose, Glucose, Maltose and Sucrose. The two principal sugars in honey are fructose (fruit sugar) and glucose (grape sugar). The content of fructose and glucose in honey varies from one type of honey to the other. Generally, the fructose ranges from 30- 44 % and glucose from 25- 40 %. The balance of these two major sugars is the main reason that leads to crystallization of honey, and the relative percentage of each determines whether it crystallizes rapidly or slowly. What crystallizes is the glucose, due to its lower solubility. Fructose is more soluble in water than glucose and will remain fluid. When the crystals are formed in the liquid glucose part of the honey the water that is less than 17% is released from the glucose and surrounds the crystals. As the crystallization progresses and more glucose crystallizes, those crystals spread throughout the honey. The honey is still stable and will last for thousands of years.

    Here is where the problem of fermentation begins. If the excess water that is given off during the crystallization process dose not stay suspended around the glucose crystals the water will be absorbed by the other sugars. There moisture content in the other sugars will rise to a point where they are no longer a saturated sugar and will allow the yeasts to grow and fermentation to begin.
    Ways in which the other sugars are allowed to absorb the excess water.
    1 You have honey in a container and it crystallizes and then warms up enough to melt or soften some if the crystals, other crystals being denser settle to the bottom of the container allowing the water to rise and be absorbed by other sugars.
    2 You have honey in a container and it crystallizes and then you dig some of the crystallized honey out of the container, leaving a well in the surface. The other liquid sugars and water around the glucose crystals will seep into the hole you left and the liquid sugars will absorb the excess water.
    3 Honey is hygroscopic and absorbs moisture readily If the honey is not stored in a closed container, the moisture could rise. Honey at 16.8% water will absorb moisture if the relative humidity of the air is above 55%, and loose moisture if below.
    A set or equilibrium values
    RH of air % -------------- 50,----- 55,----- 60, ----- 65, ----- 70, ----- 75,----- 80
    % of water in honey --15.9,--- 16.8,--- 18.3,---- 20.9,---- 24.2,--- 28.3,--- 33.1


    Prevention
    To be safe if you don’t have a refractometer to test that your honey is below 17% moisture make sure the combs on average are ¾ capped before extracting.
    (17% moisture is the industry standard for raw unpasteurized honey and is considered a stable saturated honey solution.)
    Honey is affected by the seasonal weather in the fall when the weather gets cooler the honey is subjected to temperatures that promote crystallization around 10-15 ºC (50- 60 ºF). The next spring and summer the honey warms to the storage air temp but not high enough to melt all the crystals.
    Honey resists crystallization best when stored at higher temperatures, over 25 ºC (77 ºF) To dissolve crystals a temperature of 40 ºC (104 ºF) is needed, but keeping honey at that temperature for prolonged times will damage the honey. Try to store honey where the temp is more constant and protecting against warm times of the year.
    Be aware of the relative humidity if storing honey open to the air for prolonged periods.
     
  6. MoBee

    MoBee New Member

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    Thanks everyone so much! This information is extremely useful!
     
  7. bamabww

    bamabww Active Member

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    A fellow from North Carolina, thanks Iddee, gave me (us) this suggestion: Place the jar / jars in a pan and fill the pan with water up to near the top of the honey. Remove the jars and bring the water to a boil. Remove from the heat source and place the jars back in the pan with the lids removed. Let the water return to room temperature and check your honey. If some crystals still remain, repeat the process.

    I've used this method several times and have it printed out for my customers. I usually tell them that pure, raw honey will eventually crystallize and that's a sign that it's the good stuff.

    Welcome and good luck.
     
  8. Barbarian

    Barbarian New Member

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    Oil Seed Rape Honey

    One Spring field crop that produces a good honey crop is Oil Seed Rape (OSR) ----- related to Canola and Mustard.

    The honey granulates/crystallizes very quckly. The combs have to be extracted as soon as the flowers are finished. Honey left in the comb for some time sets like a rock.

    The honey is run from the extractor through a coarse filter into lidded buckets. The honey is left to set solid. At a later time the honey goes into a warming cabinet to return to a liquid. The liquid honey is now fine filtered and put in jars.

    The re-liquified honey takes much longer to crystallize.
     
  9. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Barbarian, how does the rape honey taste? We use to plant 3 acres of rape for the hogs, but it never made it to the bloom stage. Jack
     
  10. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    It is fairly mild in taste on its own but because of the crystallization issues It is blended with clover and \ or alfalfa honeys most store bought honeys from large packers are a blend containing rape seed honey.
     
  11. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    First of all, MoBee, Welcome to the forum. Hope you enjoy it enough here to stick around and keep active with posts.
    Secondly, to your question: They say, "If you can't beat them, join them." "If you've got REAL honey, it's going to crystalize sooner or later. One option is to let it crystalize at it's own sweet pace. Allowing this gives the results you got---large crystals and/or separation into a liquid and a solid fraction of the honey---based on the principles that Apis presented. If you don't like that option, you can encourage rapid crystalization by stirring the honey when it first starts to show crystals and then chill it so that the crystals form rapidly and result in tiny crystals, not the large ones that develop when crystallization proceeds slowly. Such honey is known as creamed honey and has many people who consider it to be the best. It doesn't spill or drip, but it spreads easily and smoothly. When I want to make creamed honey, I place the bottles of honey that have started to crystalize into the refrigerator for a week or two. On the commercial level it can be problematic, requiring a big fridge or a cold storage room, but it pulls a prime price.
    For yourself, give it a try. See what you think of it.