HOW LONG CAN I HOLD MY HONEY AT WHAT TEMP. BEFORE I CAN TASTE A BIG DIFFERENCE? MY GOAL IS TO PROLONG SHELF LIFE WITHOUT DEGRADING MY HONEY.
If your honey has crystallized, simply move it
to a warm area, and wait a few days. This
should be all the heat required to liquefy
Heating honey will not help to prolong shelf
life in the least, and while one can do some
very fancy things, like "flash heat" it, this
takes equipment that is beyond the resources
of all but the large co-ops and packers.
If your honey is not crystallized, leave it
alone - if tightly sealed, it has a shelf
life longer than just about anything else
in your kitchen. If it crystallizes, it can
be re-liquefied multiple times as long as
a low heat is used.
Honey heated over high heat can be "tasted"
by those with educated taste buds. In extreme
cases, it can taste "burned" to anyone/everyone.
I was under the assumption that if you heated a little above 100 deg. that it would help keep it from crystallizing because you have liqufied any unseen crystals that have already started.
Some of my honey has begun crystallizing in buckets. Before I bottle the crystallized honey, I simply warm it in a container on the range using the "warm" setting leaving it there just until there are no crystals left. When my honey does crystallize after being bottled, I've found it does take some external heat to reliquify.
I had about 2 gallons that crystallized hard as a rock in a 5 gallon bucket. I set the bucket in hot tap water so I could scoop it out. Then I put it in the top pot of a large double boiler arrangement. Using a thermometer and heating it slowly and stirring occasionally, it had to get to about 120 degrees to liquefy at least all the visible crystals. After it cooled, I didn't notice any difference in appearance or taste. I have read where honey can pick up a slight caramel flavor from heating.
Anyway I made creamed honey out of some of it and it turned out great.
I'm in the process of building the honey warmer on this sites paln page.
I got the freezer free at the apliance recyling center. It already had the motor and refridgerent removed.
It will three 5 gallon buckets easily.
I built that honey warmer, Cadet. It works like a charm. Very happy with it. I found that 2-60 watt light bulbs will liquify 50 pound solidified pails in 2.5 days. It's best to not go over 60 watts though.
Heating honey for extended periods will darken it, because the natural sugars in honey will start to carmelize. Anytime honey is heated it will affect flavor and color.
Heated honey will not crystalize as soon as unheated honey,and is done by larger packers to extend shelf life. ( Well, not that it goes bad, but to preserve visual quality ).
There are die hard beekeepers who believe heating honey is a sin. For organic honey to retain its certification, it cannot ever be subjected to heat over 40 degrees celcius.
I just store mine in a 40 degree room for a while if it starts getting cloudy.
John Russell, so are you saying that when the honey starts crystalizing it will clear up in a 40 degree room? So there is no need to warm up the honey?
I've noticed that the honey I have kept in my 65-70 degree, wood stove heated, basement is staying clear longer than the honey I had in my 60-64 degree kitchen. Although, just recently, some of the basement stored honey is starting to get crystals at the bottom of the jars.
locust, he was talking celcius.