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  1. #1
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    Default What causes honey to crystalize?

    And the follow up would be how do you prevent it? My main concern is that if I have a surplus and don't sell it all the first season, how long do I have. Thanks Jason

  2. #2
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    Jun 2007
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    Boone County, West Virginia, USA
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    Honeys which are higher in glucose crystallize faster than those with higher amounts of fructose. You can't prevent it, however when stored properly your honey will take a longer amount of time crystallize. Learn how to make creamed honey if you have so much you can't sell it before it crystallizes. You can always heat the honey to melt the crystals back into honey.

    http://www.honey.com/downloads/crystallization.pdf
    Last edited by WVbeekeeper; 02-27-2008 at 08:12 PM.

  3. #3
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    Oct 2003
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    Jenison, MI
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    Default

    It is also related to the amount of "other stuff" in there that may seed the crystallization...pollen, wax, dust, etc.

    Freezing the honey will prevent the crystals from forming, although this only works on smaller qty of honey. I usually bottle a few boxes up and store them in the freezer. Then if the pails get crystallized I'll heat those up to drive the crystals out.

    Rick

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Tip of the Thumb, Michigan
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    Default

    Honey crystalizes because of the natural "shape" of sugar molecules, and the fact that honey, in essence, is a super-saturated solution. A "seed" (probably a grain of pollen, but possibly even a speck of dust) begins the crystalization process, and the microscopic crystals begin to collect, gather and form structures, and continue to grow. Ever make rock candy? A similar process is going on here.

    How is the crystalization process prevented? Unfortunately, the only way to PREVENT it would also RUIN the honey by destroying the super-saturated nature of it. Even then, SOME crystals would still form when it started evaporating. Because it's a crystaline (sugar) product, crystals just naturally want to form, and it CAN'T be prevented.

    Your last question was, how long do you have before crystalization begins? And the answer to that is dependent on what the bees were foraging on. I'd turn to a copy of "Hive and the Honey Bee" and look up the tables listed in the Honey section. Because different nectar sources have different glucose/fructose ratios, that'll change your "working time" before crystalization occurs.

    I imagine that somewhere out there, someone's experimented with "anti-crystalizing" additives, but I'm unfamiliar with the existance of any such thing. As it's been pointed out, heat (never over 120-degrees F. please) will reliquify your honey, and cold (below 30-degrees F. freezing) retards crystalization. Likewise, it appears that a temperature of 57 to 60-degrees F. will actually PROMOTE crystal growth, and is the temperature target for several makers of creamed honey.

    Someone once said here that when their honey crystalizes, you change the label on the jar to "Creamed Honey" and start charging MORE for your product! Good advice!

    Regards,
    BDDS

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Reno, NV USA
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    Default

    I would like to add that creamed honey is crystalized honey where small seed crystals promote the formation of small crystals. Crystals around 30 micron or smaller cannot be detected by the tongue which leads to the sensation of creamyness. I have not been able to find information about how one is supposed to "grind" creamed honey to use for seeding. You can buy creamed honey and use it for seed, but if you want to use your own seed crystals, you have to figure out a way of preventing the ever increasing size of the crystals with each subsequent batch. It appears to be a trade secret. The Dyce patent and other reference that I have found say that a meat grinder can be used, but if you look into it, the meat grinder is used to break up the creamed honey so it can be mixed into a larger batch and is not intended to make finer crystals. Does anyone know what equipment is used to grind honey?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Lk Stevens, WA
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    166

    Default crystals on bottom

    So after the honey is in the bottle and it had crystallized, I returned it to liquid form and ended up with a thin layer of white "stuff" at the bottom. I am assuming this is crystals that will not return to liquid form. What does a guy do with it now? Do I re-pour the honey into new bottles to remove the stuff that is left on the bottom? Any other advice?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
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    Sawyer, Michigan, USA
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    Default

    I have made two honey heaters, one form an old medal cooler and the other form a refrigerator. I installed a good thermostat and used some heat tape this controls the temp to within a few degrees.
    I can take a bottle of honey totally crystalized heat it to around 115 degrees for 12 hours and it will be totally liquid, top to bottom. By keeping it below 120 degrees it can still be sold as Raw honey.
    If you donít want to go to the trouble put it in hot water until in re-liquefies, or just take the crystalized honey and just spread it on your toast, it still tastes great.
    The Busy Bee teaches two lessons: One is not to be idle and the other is not to get stung.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Darrington, WA, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Bean View Post
    Snipped..........
    If you donít want to go to the trouble put it in hot water until in re-liquefies, or just take the crystalized honey and just spread it on your toast, it still tastes great.
    Brent, that works great. A few years I built a big foam box and put several 5 gallon buckets in there for about 48 hours and held it just under 120 degrees. It took a couple days but worked flawlessly.

    JoeMcc
    "Slow Down and Taste the Vanilla" - My Grandma

  9. #9
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    Dec 2006
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    Sparta, Tennessee
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    Default

    How do you maintain the heat at 120?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Darrington, WA, USA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffzhear View Post
    How do you maintain the heat at 120?
    I just used light bulbs and watched it for a day. Once I got the right wattage in there it seemed to stay constant. Left the house at 70 and used a blanket to fine tune the temp.

    I also know they make a thermostat box you can plug into with a high low. I will search and see what i can find.

    JoeMcc
    "Slow Down and Taste the Vanilla" - My Grandma

  11. #11
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    May 2007
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    Darrington, WA, USA
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    Default

    Something like this?

    http://tinyurl.com/2rhm9q

    Discription sounds funny....but something like that might work...

    Still looking

    JoeMcc
    "Slow Down and Taste the Vanilla" - My Grandma

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Darrington, WA, USA
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    Default

    "Slow Down and Taste the Vanilla" - My Grandma

  13. #13
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    May 2007
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    Darrington, WA, USA
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    Default

    Here is one I found.

    http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/items/3UC71

    JoeMcc
    "Slow Down and Taste the Vanilla" - My Grandma

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    torrington,ct usa
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    Default

    You guys are great! This is like fishing. Throw out the bait and check it later to see what you've caught. Thanks for the replies

  15. #15
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    May 2007
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    Darrington, WA, USA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jas0n Bresson View Post
    You guys are great! This is like fishing. Throw out the bait and check it later to see what you've caught. Thanks for the replies

    I called a local heating company...they are supposed to get back to me on a thermostat. Too bad you are not local to me...we would have a weekend project....lol

    JoeMcc
    "Slow Down and Taste the Vanilla" - My Grandma

  16. #16
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    Feb 2008
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    Reno, NV USA
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    Default

    Attic fan thermostats will work but I don't think they can hold as tight of a temperature range as some of the more expensive thermostats. I purchased one from Hope Depot years ago and wired it for a heat box - worked for me and it was really cheap.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
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    Sawyer, Michigan, USA
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    Default

    A thermostat makes things fail safe without one you could get the honey to hot. The one JoeMcc talks about would work very well. I was lucky to find a couple of thermostats at the power plant I work in being scrapped because they were an obsolete style and I got a scrap pass for them. They work great and keep the temp within three degrees.
    The Busy Bee teaches two lessons: One is not to be idle and the other is not to get stung.

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