View Full Version : Pasturizing Honey

Don Klinger
10-05-2006, 01:20 PM

I just extracted my first honey this past weekend. I have read about slowly heating honey to 130 degrees and keeping it there for 30 minutes to prevent spoiling. I have not read much about it on this site, but I sure don't want my first batch of honey to spoil.

What is everyones thoughts here on heating the honey to keep it from spoiling.

I also read if the moisture content in your honey is to high it might spoil, I did extract a few frames that were only about 50% capped, but I was in a 90 degree room during extraction and I shook the frames to see if any nectar dropped out before I extracted them. No nectar was coming off of the frames. Is it something I have to worry about.

Thanks for the advice.
Don Klinger

10-05-2006, 01:26 PM
I think most people will tell you not to heat it that it destroys the flavor and other good qualities of honey, but this is just what I have read it's my first year and I have not extracted any yet.

10-05-2006, 01:54 PM
If I knew you heated your honey, I would never buy it from you. Having that said...

Honey will eventually ferment and have a sour smell if the moisture content is more than 18%, (someone please correct me, but it hovers around this number), so therefore, some people heat the honey to keep it from fermenting. I used the honey that I extracted this spring with a moisture content of 19.25% for all my cooking purposes. But, never do I heat my honey. I prefer my honey in its raw form and since my husband is Indian, he prefers it this way too. In Ayurvedic medicine (which originated from the Veda in Hindu culture), it is considered very bad to heat honey, this ancient medicine also considers this heated honey to be toxic to the human body in the form of Ama. However, Traditional Chinese Medicine gives heated honey other medicinal values. They claim heated honey moistens dryness and treats dry or hoarse throat and dry cough. I believe raw or heated honey can treat dry conditions as well because honey has all three neutral/hot/cold properties. Heated honey should not be used by people with copious amounts of mucus. Raw, completely unprocessed, unheated honey is preferable; it has the ability to dry up mucus and is helpful for those with damp conditions including edema and too much weight. Honey has so many other valuable properties such as it can relieve constipation, blood pressure, stomach ulcers, it works naturally to harmonize the liver, neutralize toxins, relieve pain and it can even be applied to burns. Again, I prefer it in its raw form, as do most consumers...especially us honey connoisseur's such as myself, :D

Of course these statements are strictly from Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine sources that date back a couple of thousand years, and are not recognized by Western culture, except if your're Native American or are into Holistic natural medicine.

power napper
10-05-2006, 02:54 PM
From your description of no nectar coming out of the frames when shaken means to me that most likely the honey is fine. I would not heat the extracted honey if it were mine.

10-05-2006, 05:05 PM
I understand that most people like raw honey best, but I have a story about something related.

When I grew up, my mother did lots of canning (mason jars and all that). I remember every year being a conscripted to help to help can fruits, vegetables, and jams. My mother always looked for produce she could get in bulk and can. At some point before I was of an age to be conscripted, my mother had found a source for honey. She had canned it I assume just like she did anything else (jars placed in boiling water to sterilize and seal). We had lots and lots of 2 quart jars of both chunk and filtered honey. For pretty much my whole childhood, we used that honey. I am pretty sure some of the last was still used when it was 15 years old. It always seemed fine, though it did granulate.

Has anyone else heard of canning honey, or was it just something my mother experimented with?


10-05-2006, 05:37 PM
I'm thinking she could not have put the honey in boiling water very long at all if the wax did not melt in the chunk honey.

power napper
10-05-2006, 06:27 PM
If you use sterilized jars and lids and take your honey up to 130 degrees or more, place into jar and set on sterilized lid and ring--then push the button down on the lid and screw on ring tight- the jar of honey will vacuum seal, we have done it that way.
Another way is to sterilize jar and lid, place raw honey into jar, use a vacuum sealer (if I remember correctly it is Tilia) to seal the lid, I lay a couple quarters on top of the lid for extra weight to help the seal process, it works this way also.
We have also place raw honey in quart jars with sterilzed lids and screw rings placed into roaster with several inches of water, when the water is hot push down on lid and screw ring tight, it will seal.
We used one of those hand held aim and push button to get the temp when doing this--it works also.

10-05-2006, 06:40 PM
power napper,
I'm interested in this vaccum sealer. Do you use it with typical mason jars and lids? I've been setting asside jars of honey each time a nephew/ neice is born (from the year they're born). Hopefully, when their older, they'll have these as a way of thinking about their Uncle Waya.


power napper
10-05-2006, 07:19 PM
Waya--"Foodsaver" is the name on the front of it, it came with some bags and a regular quart jar attatchment to seal jars (nuts, candies, marshmallows, grains etc,)they also offered a wide mouth jar attatchment which we purchased. Believe it or not we even wore one of them out. It is nice to seal things as venison, fish, homemade balony, pierogies,and so on, the bags are resealable. I even vacuum sealed quarts of pollen after drying the pollen.
Sometimes the canning lids come with a slight bow and do not want to seal so we figured by putting quarters on top of the lid before sealing it would hold the lid flatter, it worked, most likely Walmart has them for sale.

10-05-2006, 08:02 PM
Why the heck do you want to ruin good honey by pasteurizing it???? :eek: You remove all the benifital qualities, the antibiotic property and the allergy relief attributes (you wind you killing the pollen spores that can help with hay fever symptoms), if want pasteurized honey just buy it from a big box store.

10-06-2006, 03:31 AM
I fill canning jars with Honey WARMED to about 110 degrees and when it cools to room temp. the lids "pop" like my mothers can goods did when I was a little shaver.

10-06-2006, 06:24 AM
I have never heard of Honey "spoiling" Honey ferments if the water content is too high and honey crystalizes over time. Some people heat honey to slow the crystallization process and extend the shelf life of liquid honey. Some people heat honey to speed up the the filtering and jar filling process. But honey does not spoil per se. Correct me if I am wrong but I don't think bacteria can survive in honey, that's why it is a good wound dressing. Honey was found in King Tut's Tomb. It was crystalized but it was not "Spoiled". I agree with many other folks that heating honey takes away from the quality of honey.

10-06-2006, 08:44 AM
Nothing better to cleanse out the body than 1 oz RAW honey and 1 oz apple cider vinegar mix it and chug it. Ahhhhh, oughta sell it in bars, yuppies would by it with their food stamps. ;) .

[ October 06, 2006, 10:45 AM: Message edited by: SilverFox ]

10-06-2006, 08:59 AM
Can't you seal those jars with a hairdryer?? I read that somewhere, then you don't have to HEAT the honey, smile.gif

In my husband's country of Nepal, they believe that the older the honey is, the better...Just like fine wine. According to my Mother-in-law, honey does not spoil..you're right Dwight, it was in King Tut's tomb. Seems like I also read that the honey was still good, but that's pushing it don't ya think??? :D :D Maybe or maybe not. I think I'll start a sample to pass down to my children, one that can be opened after say 2,000 years.

10-06-2006, 09:11 AM
I like it best when it's fresh, when you open a hive during a honeyflow and there is a little fresh comb on top of the top bars filled with fresh honey. I scrape that off with my hive tool and pop it into my mouth...MMMMMMMMMM...... that's the only way to eat honey!!
I'ts like sweet corn when you pick it and immediatley cook it and eat it. Ten times better than if it is picked an hour before you eat it!

10-06-2006, 10:46 AM
Spoilage is such a nasty term. Fermentation just converts the sugar to alcohol. Perhaps this is why the gent prefers "really old" honey. Check and see if he is drinking the honey instead of putting it on his toast.

Honey will contain naturally occuring "wild" yeast spores. These become activated in the temperature range of about 60-110F. If the water content is low enough it is difficult or impossible to replicate and ferment. If the honey is too thin they will multiply and make mead. Yeast cells are killed at temps above about 115-120F. So, in theory, even thin honey will keep well if warmed a bit.

As for the purists in the crowd. We had 3 consecutive days of 115F temps. Am sure the honey in the hive was well above 98 degrees for hours at a time. Many cells were crystalized well short of their full potential volume.

10-06-2006, 10:51 AM
Another comment on the foodsaver. Have one. It comes with an adapter allowing you to seal wide mouth canning jars but not the "regular" mouth jars. However last year at a sporting goods show we found another adapter that fits the "regular" jars for about 10$.

Both work really well. We make lots of old fashioned dill pickles. They are not heat processed -- Just vacuum sealed. Good, crisp, sour and full of flavor. Having said that, honey does not need to be vacuum sealed.


farmer joe
10-08-2006, 12:01 PM
So is it a myth that babies shouldn't eat unpasteurized honey? I'm always paranoid a customer isn't going to understand what I mean by unpasturized honey and give it to the kids.
I would have thought this was a serious health issue. I don't pasteurize but there sure are a lot of young families out there.

10-08-2006, 01:18 PM
farmer joe; Raw honey contains part of the botuilism spore and it advised that children under 1 year of age do not consume raw honey for that reason as it MAY cause botuilism in infants. The spore is every where and after 1 their immune system has built up the anti-???. That topic has and still does cause some debate among people. I tend to leave it up to the buyer, just make sure that they understand it is their choice.
Raw honey for the most part is by far better for you than pasteurized.

bee whisper
10-08-2006, 02:43 PM
Hi everyone!
This is my first year of beekeeping. I was also concerned about this I was told by all the beekeepers around here that I did not need to worry about sealing my jar lids. I was told to make sure to keep water away from it, and that it would absorb mosture from the air. So keep lids on all containers,and fill all jars all the way up.

bee whisper
10-08-2006, 02:47 PM
Hi everyone!
This is my first year of beekeeping. I was also concerned about this I was told by all the beekeepers around here that I did not need to worry about sealing my jar lids. I was told to make sure to keep water away from it, and that it would absorb mosture from the air. So keep lids on all containers,and fill all jars all the way up.

10-08-2006, 03:01 PM
The National Honey Board has a fact sheet on this issue. Even though the risk is small, it pays to be careful.

http://www.honey.com/downloads/infantbotulism.pdf#search=%22botulism%20in%20honey %22