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Thread: Old Honey

  1. #1
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    A friend of mine bought a house recently and found some mason jars of honey in the basement and wants to know if they are safe and what should he be looking for to determine it is bad.
    Procrastination is the assassination of inspiration.
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  2. #2
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    If the honey hasnt fermented it should be fine,but it may have lost flovor and darkened over time.if crystalized just warm it and it will liquify.
    Stuart

  3. #3
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    Is fermenting the only way it can spoil.
    Procrastination is the assassination of inspiration.
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  4. #4
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    >A friend of mine bought a house recently and found some mason jars of honey in the basement and wants to know if they are safe and what should he be looking for to determine it is bad.

    If they are sealed up and they didn't explode they are good. Honey doesn't spoil. I can lose flavor over time. It can ferment, only if it gets more moisture in it, but it won't spoil.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
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    Michael,
    I got a jar of this honey it was labeled dandalion honey from 1993. It tastes like caramel. It is very dark and thick the top 1 inch was somewhat thin so I mixed it up. Seems fine except for the taste. What do you think, I was going to feed it to the bees this spring.
    Procrastination is the assassination of inspiration.
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  6. #6

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    I would not refeed that honey to your bees, If it has AFB spores in it, the bees will get infected. AFB spores can live up to 30yrs+

  7. #7
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    I found four 5 gallon buckets of honey labeled 1982 on it. we heated some up and tried it.The honey flavor was faint and had a very dark kinda burnt flavor to it.yea.. not good eats. We were going to feed it to the bees but Thought if it had any AFB spores it would not be worth it.

  8. #8
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    I have yet to hear of someone getting AFB from feeding honey although there are a lot of warnings about it.

    Personally I'd feed it in the spring when I don't have to worry so much about dysentary etc. like I do for winter stores.

    But you have to decide what you think of the risk.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
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    The Beekeeper that harvested it is still here and still has bees. I don't think it will be a problem.
    Procrastination is the assassination of inspiration.
    www.customwoodkitsinternational.com

  10. #10
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    Honey deteriorates with aging and/or heating and with this the chemical hydroxy-methyl-furfural (HMF) increases. Thus the quantity of HMF in a batch of honey is a good indicator of its quality. For humans, HMF is harmless. FOR BEES, IT IS A POISONOUS DRUG. So don't feed old honey to the bees...

    New honey contains 1 to 5 mg/kg HMF. In some countries it is illegal to sell honey with more than 40 mg/kg HMF.

    When honey is being stored at 68 °F the HMF content will increase 1 mg/kg per month.

    Only fructose will become HMF. So the rise is dependent on the kind of honey.

    Heating the honey will raise HMF contents rapidly. The longer and/or hotter it is heated,the higher the HMF will become.

    Table of the time to produce 30 ppm HMF
    temperature in °F time day's
    86 °F 150-250
    104 °F 20-50
    122 °F 4.5-9
    140 °F 1- 2,5
    158 °F 5 -14 hours


    Also the heating of honey will destroy the enzymes, Diastase, Invertase, Glucose-oxydase, Phosphatase and Katalase. (in the microwave they disappear in minutes!!!)
    If you feel that honey is nothing more than a sugar with a funny taste, then the HMF content is not important.
    But if you find that honey is beneficial for your health because of the hundreds of other valuable ingredients, then.....DON'T HEAT IT UP, ever.

  11. #11
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    I'm having a hard time grasping this.

    1 mg/kg is one part per million (by weight). Does this mean that honey kept in a 90 degree hive for a few months is unacceptable to some countries?

    Certainly bees in the wild do not remove old honey. Some thriving wild colonies have been found with honey that is decades old. It may not be the freshest, but poisonous to bees???

  12. #12
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    >Does this mean that honey kept in a 90 degree hive for a few months is unacceptable to some countries?

    I believe that's what I just said...

    Honey Regulations 2003 Guidance Notes
    Monday, 06 October 2003
    The new regulations implement EC directive 2001/110, which updates community rules covering honey. They were adopted throughout Europe in 2001.

    The new harmonized rules reserve sales names for honey products that comply with certain specifications. They also lay down certain additional labeling requirements.

    # There is a new requirement to label the country or countries where the honey was harvested. In the case of blended honeys, the label must indicate if any or all of it came from the EC. Terms such as 'blend of EC honeys' 'blend of non-EC honeys' or 'blend of EC and non-EC honeys' are considered appropriate.

    # Honey that has been finely filtered will have to be labeled as filtered honey and there are new labeling requirements for baker's honey

    # Filtered and baker's honey should not be labeled with additional information on the floral or vegetable origin; regional or topographical origin; or specific quality criteria
    There has been some tightening of the limits for certain specific criteria and honey must now meet a new lower limit of 40mg/kg or less for any hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) present. HMF is a sugar-breakdown product and is used as indicator of honey quality since it increases with temperature and storage time.

    Here is an article right on this site that has some info on HMF...
    http://www.beesource.com/pov/usda/beekpUSA82.htm

    "Honey and Health" by Laurie Croft, cites evidence suggesting that HMF is harmful to the bees as well as human health.

  13. #13
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    WOW! I got a headach. O.K this is me pouring the honey down the drain. Now wheres the Tylenol.

    Can I keep the jar, it looks pretty old too
    Procrastination is the assassination of inspiration.
    www.customwoodkitsinternational.com

  14. #14
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    I'm with GaSteve. Bees have a lot of old honey in some of their hives. Why would they keep it if it's poison?
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  15. #15
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    Bees do carry crystallized honey out of the hive, don't they?

  16. #16
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    Last year I fed my bees some honey stored since 1987 in mason jars in a cellar. The honey was from buckwheat, very dark but tasted fine and the bees loved it (bee careful about starting a robbing frenzy - I fed with internal feeders).
    Triangle Bees

  17. #17
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    Thanks Dean,
    Things are starting to get back to normal again. We lost another 6 soldiers last week in a Bradley fighting vehicle accident. They are all due home soon, can't wait till this is over. Say Hi to the family again. Hope to see you in Germany again.
    Procrastination is the assassination of inspiration.
    www.customwoodkitsinternational.com

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