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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Berkeley,California, USA
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    483

    Default Help me with my first honey - waxy / cloudy!

    I posted a similar thread in the 'Beekeeping 101' Forum, so if anyone is seeing this for the second time, my apologies.

    My family and I harvested our first honey over Easter by crushing a combs-worth of comb scraps trimmed from the combs of a feral hive that I recently transferred to a deep lang hive body from a bridhouse where they had taken residence for the last year or so (I responded to a swarm call from a panicked old lady who had just recently seen the bees entering and leaving her birdhouse :-). All the comb scraps were from the top of the combs and contained mainly honey cap (after a few cells of pollen and larvae were picked out by hand).

    The honey tastes very good, but is cloudy becase even after straining three times with a very fine mesh strainer, it is full of tiny particles of wax suspended in the honey. The combs were old ad brittle, and I suspect that may have something to do with the increased 'wax powder' that ended up in this honey (versus harvesting from fresh wax).

    I am pretty sure that if I heat the honey to 150 degrees or so that the wax particulate will melt and seperate from the honey, but this will also likely result in pasteurizing the honey. So I would appreciate it if anyone can help me with the following questions:

    1/ should I worry about trying to get the wax particulate out of the honey or forget about it? I don't care too much about the cloudiness but it does impart a mild wax taste and more importantly, when put in tea, for example, it leaves a small residue of melted wax on the cup and on any spoon used to stir.

    2/ Aside from straining yet again, what is the best technique to filter wax particulate out of honey?

    3/ I undertand that heating the honey above 100 degrees F may pasteurize it and destroy some of the natural goodness, but how bad is it really? Am I better off having cloudy/waxy/all-natural honey, or clear/pasteurized honey?

    Appreciate any help anyone can give me with this waxy/cloudy honey problem...

    -fafrd
    Last edited by fafrd; 04-06-2010 at 11:17 AM. Reason: fixed typo in title

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Snowmass, Colorado, USA
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    2,496

    Default Re: Help me with my first honey - waxy / coudy!

    You don't need to heat it up to 150. Put your honey in a large glass jar, place two flat shims in the bottom of a crock pot and place your jar on these. Fill the crock pot with water and turn it on Med. once the water is hot, leave it in the water for a hour or so. Remove it and let stand. The wax will rise to the top as it cools. Scrap off the top layer of honey with the wax after it cools and sits for a day. That should do it.
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid. John Wayne

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Berkeley,California, USA
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    483

    Default Re: Help me with my first honey - waxy / coudy!

    Alpha6,

    thanks - this is exactly the kind of advice I was hoping for. I don't have a crock pot but do have various ways of maintaining a constant temperature - and idea what temperature 'does the tick'???


    -fafrd
    Last edited by honeyman46408; 04-06-2010 at 12:03 PM. Reason: unnessary QUOTE

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Berkeley,California, USA
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    Default Re: Help me with my first honey - waxy / coudy!


    From Wikipedia: "Many slow cookers have two or more temperature settings (e.g., low, medium, high, and sometimes a "keep warm" setting). A typical slow cooker is designed to heat food to 170F (77C) on low, to perhaps 190-200F (88-93C) on high."

    If this is right then the medium setting on a crock pot out to heat to about 180-185F. I am pretty sure that I can melt and seperate the wax at a lower temperature than this - isn't lower better?

    -fafr
    Last edited by honeyman46408; 04-06-2010 at 12:05 PM. Reason: UNNESSARY QUOTE

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
    Posts
    1,961

    Default Re: Help me with my first honey - waxy / coudy!

    You don't want to heat it anywhere near that high. See my reply to your other post. Time is all you need....well and patience.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Berkeley,California, USA
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    483

    Default Re: Help me with my first honey - waxy / coudy!

    beedeetee,

    thanks for (both of) your response(s)

    it seems like the crock-pot idea heats the honey up even more than is typically done to pasteurize it. Beeswax melts at 145 egrees F, and it seems like the temperatures used to pasteurize honey are generally about that range.

    I found this online from: http://www.honeyflowfarm.com/newslet...t/rawhoney.php

    Q. I have heard that honey can be liquified in a sunny window. Is this a good idea? Any chance that the sun can damage the honey?

    A. Yes, that can work, although you should make sure it does not get too hot. Remove it from the window when done. Many people re-liquify honey by putting the honey in hot water bath.
    (Then it becomes identical to our honey that is carefully warmed to 130 degrees.)

    So at least some honey poduces consider that only heating honey up to 130 degrees F and not more doens not really harm it (though it can no longer be labeled 'raw')

    Heating honey 'in the sun' or 'by storing it over the stove' may seem more 'natural' than heating it with a heat source, but this seems to me to be a marketing ploy - the honey does not know the difference in how it was heated and the effect of the heat on the honey is the same whether is came from 'natural' or 'artificial' means.

    So here is my take on the subject of heating honey (focusing on the effect on the honey itself, and avoiding the subject of how the heat was applied):

    100 degrees - this is pretty much hive temerpature and cannot have any negative impact on the honey (depending on where you live, 'in the sun' likely falls into this category)

    130 degrees - some say this is the upper limit of 'gentle heating' of the honey which does not cause damage (even during the summer, 'in the sun' probably almost always remains below this upper limit).

    145 degrees - melting point of beeswax and typical pasteurizing temperature of honey (kills all microbes, etc..) - any temperatures higher than this are heating the honey far more than needed in any case (and likely damaging it more as well). The 'crock-pot-on-medium' likely falls into this category (and thus is a 'crock!).

    I will hopefully never be harvesting honey from brittle comb using 'crush-and-strain' again, but for this first quart of honey, I am going to try heating it up to 130 degrees in a pot full of water and let it sit overnight - this will hopefully get the wax dust to settle out without having too negative of an impact on the honey itself.

    Thanks all for the help and I will let you know how it all turns out!

    -fafrd
    Last edited by honeyman46408; 04-06-2010 at 12:06 PM. Reason: UNQ

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