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  1. #1
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    May 2007
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    Default How To Reduce Moisture Content?

    Tonight we had a "honey tasting" at our local bee club. Someone had a refractometer and tested our honey whilst we were all enjoying sampling each others local honey. The fellow doing the testing said my jar of extracted honey was reading about 19% on his refractometer. I was quite surprised! I extracted only capped frames of honey immediately after taking them off the hive this summer. In fact, I have gotten so many compliments on our honey I was thinking of entering a bottle for judging in some local honey shows. However, if my bottled honey is actually 19% that would disqualify me. So...now what do I do? I have several bottles in 1 lb jars and would like to reduce the moisture content in them. Is there anything practical that I could do? Would heating to a low temp for a short time help or should I just give up on the idea??? Thanks for any suggestions.

    Fred Bee
    "My child, eat honey, for it is good." (Proverbs 24:13)

  2. #2
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    Pepperell, MA.
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    Default

    I guess if it's real important to you go ahead and try to reduce the moisture. Some here have had luck with putting open containers in a room with heat and dehumidifiers. I would say that if you're getting compliments on your honey and it looks and tastes real good, you're fretting for no good reason. I would also venture that it's as good a chance as not that the refractometer was off or it was read wrong. 1% isn't much. Do you have a refractometer or do you have access to someone who does besides the original tester?
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  3. #3
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    College Station, Texas
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    Default

    if the honey did not ferment (you should be able to smell and taste it if it did) then I would tend to agree with ravenseye.

    ps... I can't recall the proper chemistry class term but honey naturally tends to give up water (over time).

  4. #4

    Default

    How were other folks' samples? Did the fellow with the refractometer check its calibration? What was the temp of the honey, refrac and room?

    Most likely the moisture content of your honey is high and you should consider the advice given already. But....if everyone's honey read high I'd consider getting a second opinion. If his refractometer has been bumped and banged about the calibration could be a factor.

    Most refractometers read directly at, I believe, 68F (20C) and the readings should be adjusted for different ambient temps. Also, if the refractomer's temp and the temp of the honey are significantly different (i.e. the refrac was at room temp and your honey just came out of the car at 40F) the numbers won't be accurate.

    Ordinarily I wouldn't suspect the refrac but the fact that your honey was fully capped when extracted and assuming it was stored in a sealed container it shouldn't be 19%.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    Fair Grove,MO,USA
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    Default Moisture content

    All of my honey was fully capped before I extracted it, and alot of it checked 19 to 20%.I left it in 5 gal. buckets with netting over the top, under the AC fore 7 to10 days and it brought it down to 161/2% to 17%.I have a question,When we put honey in 5 gal. buckets won!t any moisture(water)come to the top?and when we test the honey in that bucket we are testing the water that floated to the top not the cured honey in the middle or bottom?

  6. #6
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    Aug 2003
    Location
    Winnipeg Manitoba
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    Default

    One fellow up here had an auger device that would bring the honey out of the barrel to flow down a wide plastic trough and then flow back into said barrel. This was done in a hot room with a decent sized humidifier running and would dry down a point and a half of moisture in 24 hours.

    Never saw it myself, but apparently it worked quite well.

    Sounds like it might lower the quality of it though.

    J

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Orlando, FL
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    brooksbee,

    No the water will not flow to the top. The water and honey are in solution like salt in water. If you take a glass of warm water and dissolve salt in it, you wouldn't expect the non-salt water to rise to the top, would you? No.

    In fact what I have seen happen in a 5 gal bucket left open in AC is that the top will dry noticably, but the honey down further still had too high moisture content, so it doesn't auto dry either. You have to stir it a couple times a day for several days to make any difference.

    I've had much better luck drying honey in the comb in the AC, as the surface area is so much larger.
    Troy

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
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    Default

    >>19% that would disqualify me. So...now what do I do? I have several bottles in 1 lb jars and would like to reduce the moisture content in them. Is there anything practical that I could do? Would heating to a low temp for a short time help or should I just give up on the idea??? Thanks for any suggestions.


    Well Fred, here is what I have to say.

    I know how your feeling, it has happened to me also, before I got my moisture tester. But old rule of thumb, you cant practically take down moisture in your honey when its out of the comb, unless you perform a huge amount of work on it.
    My suggestion is just use it up as it is. You say its a few containers, cream it, use it, it will be fine, keep it frozen until you need it. It will not ferment in the freezer, and again will not spoil if used right away.
    Dont sell it,

    I remember one time, when I had a few hives and a small hot room, I pulled wet honey, 22%, and left it in the hot room with the humidifier on and heat at 30 degrees. ventalation outside, with cool nights. I forgot about it for a week because of harvest, and when finnally returning to the room, I proceeed to try to extract honey that was under 14%! It didnt extract, so I proceeded to wet the hot room floor for a few days and returned to extract the honey at over 15 or 16%.
    I tell you all that energy sure went wasted! But I did learn a lesson from it,
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Murfreesboro, TN, USA
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    Default

    BeeManDan and others...thanks for the input and further comments are welcomed. I will say BeeMan...that the fellow checking the moisture content said most of the honey in the room tested somewhere between 18-19% so I could hope that his refractometer was off a point or two or out of calibration. You may be on to something there. I sold 200 one lb jars of this in August and most of my customers are begging for more. Its hard for me to believe I have a problem with too much moisture.

    Fred Bee
    "My child, eat honey, for it is good." (Proverbs 24:13)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
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    Grifton, NC
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    Default

    I wonder if he was using on of those cheap refractometers they sell on ebay?
    Banjos and bees... how sweet it is!

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    Murfreesboro, TN, USA
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    Default

    Don't know where he got it.
    "My child, eat honey, for it is good." (Proverbs 24:13)

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    hamburg, new york, usa
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ravenseye View Post
    I would also venture that it's as good a chance as not that the refractometer was off
    Cheap refractometers are not accurate.

  13. #13

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by pcelar View Post
    Cheap refractometers are not accurate.
    You've stated that as a fact. Would you mind telling us what you base this on?
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  14. #14
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    May 2007
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    Murfreesboro, TN, USA
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    Default Progress Report

    Well, I just returned home from the State Bee Conference. I did enter my honey in the state honey show. While I didn't get a prize ribbon, my honey did score well with a moisture content of 18.1%. So, apparently the other fellow's refractometer was not calibrated properly. I am glad my honey checked out good to go even though I didn't get a prize ribbon.
    "My child, eat honey, for it is good." (Proverbs 24:13)

  15. #15
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    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    The fastest way to reduce moisture in your honey would be to relocate to the desert Southwest U.S.A.

    Around here % moisture in honey never seems to be much of a problem.
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 10-30-2008 at 11:26 PM.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  16. #16
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    Default

    "It didnt extract, so I proceeded to wet the hot room floor for a few days and returned to extract the honey at over 15 or 16%."

    So, explain to me the difference between the above method and pouring in a cup of distilled water !!! The obvious difference is that distilled water is pure and moisture from the air will contain dust, mold, yeast, and miscellaneous bacteria. If someone is actually using a room humidifier, then after cleaning the air will also contain some chlorine.

    Just looking to pick a fight -- Fuzzy

  17. #17
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    Default

    Dont see your point Fuzzy. I suppose pouring the total of a cup of distilled water over all the frames in the hot room would work,.? seems like alot of work to me. Wetting the floor is much more practical,
    You will never eliminate dust, mold, yeast, and miscellaneous bacteria from the environment, but we try our best.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  18. #18
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    Aug 2005
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    Silicon Valley, CA
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    Default

    Ian, Sorry for the confusion. I was assuming that the honey had already been extracted and was in some kind of container, bucket, or tank.

    Fuzzy

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