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Thread: creamed honey

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    savage, mn, usa


    can anyone tell me of a website or other reference telling how to make creamed honey? I have seen some vague instructions but never a complete, detailed way of making creamed honey. thank you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Mount Olive, NC


    This came from a NZ website. Sorry don't know the URL, had it on my hard drive - -

    This article appeared in the NZ Beekeeper No. 194, in
    Winter, 1987, pp 18-19. I was writing under the name
    Skep at the time for the Beginners' Notes...

    What are you going to do with all that honey you produced? A
    good question it is, too! Here you are, a proud hobbyist with three
    or four hives, and you've just produced your first really good crop
    of honey. Let's assume that you did manage to get it all extracted.

    In the process of doing that, you probably ruined a variety of
    kitchen implements, and you probably tracked honey all through the
    house, transferring it from comb to hands to door knob to the rest
    of the family. So up to this point, you've done it all just the way
    everyone else does the first time. If you're really smart, you will
    have filed away all the information for the next time.

    Things like the handcrank extractor and the way it walks across
    the floor unless someone holds it down. Next year you'll remember
    to arrange some turnbuckles to securely fix it to the floor.

    And that bag of cappings that hung around for a week to drain!
    Next year you'll arrange a proper place to hang it, away from the
    ants and the carpet. So this year, you probably ran the liquid gold
    directly from the extractor into all the various sized jars you could
    locate. You ate a lot of it, gave away a lot more to friends,
    neighbours and relations. You maybe even sold some of the excess
    to workmates.

    With this article, I'd like to get you to thinking about how you as a
    hobbyist can best prepare and package your honey for
    presentation to others, whether as a gift or to sell.

    The three most important quality control factors in dealing with
    honey are completely within your control. Too much heat, too
    much moisture and too many bees' legs are the three things that
    can most easily damage your product.

    Heat is an easy one for you as a hobbyist, nothing at all like the
    problem that it presents for the commercial beekeeper. There is no
    reason in the world that you should need to heat your honey at all.
    Apart from the heat of the uncapping knife, your honey can be
    handled at room temperature. If you extract it immediately after
    removing it from the hive, so much the better.

    Excess moisture, leading to off flavours and fermentation, can be
    avoided through attention all the way through the
    honey-from-the-hive to honey-in-the- jar process. Don't extract
    honey until it is thoroughly ripened. Often, especially if the flow is
    still on, it may not all be completely capped. Take a frame and
    shake it over the open hive; if it is thoroughly ripened, it should not
    shake like water out of the comb.

    Once you have extracted the honey, keep the containers covered.
    Honey can take moisture from the air, so don't leave it exposed,
    especially if you have to store it in moist or less than favourable

    Try to avoid incorporating small air bubbles with the honey as you
    run it through a fine strainer. Don't simply let it drip through the
    strainer and into a container; place something in the container so
    the honey will run down rather than fall into the honey already in
    the container.

    No matter how well you strain the honey after extracting, you will
    still need to 'skim' it a day or so later. The froth that floats to the
    surface of the honey will contain small bubbles and wax particles.
    Gently skimming it from the surface of the honey container will
    remove it and greatly improve the visual quality of your honey.

    Depending on the quantity of honey you have to deal with, there
    are some excellent containers available to hold your honey until you
    are ready to run it into its final jars or plasic pottles. Food grade
    plastic containers can be fitted with a plastic tap. Fit a rubber seal
    and tighten so there will be no leak. If you don't have enough
    honey to justify such a container, plastic Polypails make a good
    storage container.

    Have you ended up some years with jars of honey granulated so
    hard that you couldn't even get a knife into it? Honey so hard it
    tore the bread every time you tried to spread it? Honey with gritty
    bits of sugar crystals in it?

    It's still honey, of course. Nothing really wrong with it, other than
    inconvenience and the chance of putting some people off honey

    The 'creamed honey' sold in New Zealand would have to be the
    source of the most often repeated myth about honey. No foreign
    materials have been added to honey to make it granulate smoothly.
    No icing sugar, white sugar, flour, cream or lard (yes, I have been
    told that's what beekeepers add to their honey!) or any other such

    There is no reason at all that you, as a hobbyist beekeeper, should
    not have a go a making your own creamed honey, rather than
    simply rely on good luck to get a smoothly granulated honey.
    Though the results might be somewhat variable, you'll have a good
    time learning a little more about your hobby.

    Creaming honey is simply controlling the natural crystalisation
    process. Almost all honeys will eventually naturally granulate, most
    within a few months while others remain liquid for longer. In
    England, such naturally granulated honeys are called 'set honey'.

    The speed and the texture that the honey granulates is mostly a
    product of the ratio of the two main sugars of honey, dextrose and
    levulose. For a reason never clearly explained to me, sugars often
    have two names, confusing things very nicely, thank you. Dextrose
    is also known as glucose and levulose is known as fructose. And
    just to add to the confusion, levulose is also known to many people
    as fruit sugar.

    If a honey has a high dextrose to levulose ratio, it will granulate
    rapidly with a fine crystal. If it has a high levulose content, it will
    granulate slowly and often with crystals large enough that you can
    feel their sharpness on your tongue.

    To 'cream' honey, the beekeeper mixes in a percentage of honey
    that has already granulated finely. This honey is called a 'starter',
    since its crystal structure will start the liquid honey to granulate in
    the same manner. In order speed up the granulation, the starter
    needs to be thoroughly mixed with the liquid honey, and then the
    container needs to be kept cool. Not cold, not refrigerator style
    cold, but simply cool. The ideal temperature is about 14 degrees
    Celcius (57 degrees Farenheit).

    Keeping the honey at this temperature causes it to granulate as
    rapidly as possible, and since it has already got a nice grain
    started, the entire volume will granulate the same as the starter
    you introduced. It should be stirred occasionally during the
    process. Once the granulation is well established, the now cloudy
    looking honey can be run into its final containers. Again, it should
    be kept cool to assist rapid granulation.

    In practical terms, you begin the process by finding some finely
    granulated honey. This might be some from last season that you
    have kept back or you could even buy it from another beekeeper or
    the shop. I like to add as much as possible, even up to 6 kg or so
    for a Polypail of honey, but you probably don't really need this
    much. If you like, you can start out with a small amount of starter
    and bulk it up by carrying out the process twice.

    Stir the starter honey thoroughly into the liquid honey. It won't be
    easy, but you need to completely spread the granulated honey
    thorough the liquid. Afterward, keep it cool by placing your bulk
    container (well covered, of course) in a cool room, such as a
    basement or cold closet.

    Stir it several times over the next week. It should start clouding, as
    the granulation spreads rapidly through the honey. You can now
    run it into the containers in which you will be distributing it, and
    again, keep them cool. The honey should be nicely creamed, set
    with a fine, smooth grain, within a week or two.

    Kiwi beekeepers have been carrying out this process for over 60
    years. They figured out that long ago a practical scheme for
    controlling the granulation in honey.

    Credit for the 'scientific' approach to creamed honey goes to an
    American, a Dr Dyce who was a beekeeping professor at Cornell
    University. He described a complex and detailed method to produce
    creamed honey that differs little from the basic description given
    above. He did meticulously give temperatures and amounts, such
    as the ideal temperature to heat the honey before adding the
    starter, to make sure there were no natural crystals present in it.

    I've always felt that we as Kiwi beekeepers never really got all the
    credit we really deserved. The way I understand it, Dr Dyce visited
    New Zealand and saw the process in action several years earlier!

    As I mentioned earlier, your results may be somewhat variable. Its
    possible that, even after following all the directions, your honey
    might still set hard as a rock. Doing it as a hobbyist as you are, you
    can't control all the factors involved, but the odds are that you'll
    produce a better product than just trusting to natural granulation.

    If you get really interested in the process, you might care to read
    further on what is quite a specialised subject. I can't see how
    anyone could ever tire of being a hobbyist beekeeper, not if you've
    really got an inquisitive mind about how things work. Beekeeping
    provides you with all sorts of excuses to go off on tangents as
    diverse as entomology and food technology, to say nothing of
    apicultural botany and woodworking!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Erin, NY /Florence SC

    Default Re: creamed honey

    We sell 400+ cases a year - we use this method:

    Instead of grinding seed we keep stock of specific honey which normally crystallizes at a very small size - Canola (best by far and can be packaged and "creamed" as is), Basswood (which takes forever to crystallize but has a very small crystal), and knotweed or Japanese bamboo, keep it crytalized in 5 gallon buckets and use it for seed as we need it. You'll need to have some type of cold room (55F) to store it for the process and no the Frig does not work well. We use our well house which thanks to a deep well a holding tank and a well house 5 foot deep, we keep a steady temperature. Be sure when you stir you set whatever you are using on slow so as not to introduce air into the mix as this will greatly reduce the appearance of your final product. Do a couple of small batches to start so you get the cycle down.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Jacksonville, Florida

    Default Re: creamed honey

    Here's a youtube video. I followed this guys instructions and it turned out great! The Cinnamon creamed honey was awesome and sold very fast.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA

    Default Re: creamed honey

    I don't like what heating does to the flavor. A good seed and keeping it around 57 F while it crystallizes is good enough for me AND I don't have to do the work of heating it as well as preserving the flavor...
    Michael Bush "Everything works if you let it." 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA

    Default Re: creamed honey

    Joel is really mining older threads!

    This one is from April 2000.
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Mt Juliet TN USA

    Default Re: creamed honey

    Brushy Mountain has everything you need to make creamed honey. instructions included. Except the honey.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Utica, NY

    Default Re: creamed honey

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    A good seed and keeping it around 57 F while it crystallizes is good enough for me
    Michael, do you use some type of mechanical stir. I was thinking a Kitchen Aid dough mixer.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Great Falls Montana

    Default Re: creamed honey

    It is as simple as this.

    1. Buy a container of creamed honey

    2. I put ten times the volume of the creamed honey in a mixer and add the creamed honey and mix thoroughly.

    3. Pour the blended honey and starter into the containers you want them to end up in.

    4. Place containers of creamed honey on a cool cement floor in an out of the way place in your basement. The key temperature is 57 degrees. At that temperature the rate of crystal propagation from starter seed to honey be creaming is maximized.

    It doesn't need to be more complicated than that. I add cinnamon to some batches because I and a lot of people love it. Start at a couple rounded teaspoons a pound and adjust to taste.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA

    Default Re: creamed honey

    >Michael, do you use some type of mechanical stir. I was thinking a Kitchen Aid dough mixer.

    I don't. A kitchen aid dough mixer would be great and a lot less work than doing it by hand. I used a clean one by two last time with more up and down motion than side to side...
    Michael Bush "Everything works if you let it." 40y 200h 37yTF


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