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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada

    Default What makes honey cloudy?

    I harvested honey for the first time this past summer. Only two hives and it wasn't a great summer for anyone in my area. Just under 50 pounds between the two hives. I had about 50% foundationless frames in the honey supers and 50% with foundation.

    I crushed and strained most of the foundationless comb. Low tech operation in my kitchen. No heating. A paint strainer for a filter. The honey was cloudy in the bottles at first and then became clear in about week. Here's a video and photos if you're interested:

    The frames with foundation were extracted in a professional beekepers large extractor --- and that honey came out cloudy and stayed cloudy. Here are some photos of that if you're interested:

    The flavour and texture of the extracted honey is fine, but I'm just curious why it turned out cloudy. Any guesses?

    Here's what I can tell you about the extraction process:

    1) The cloudy honey was capped at the same time as the clear honey, so there's no big difference in the floral sources of my honey.

    2) The extractor looked sanitary, but I learned afterwards that it is cleaned only once a year.

    3) Another novice beekeeper used the extractor just before me. Several of his frames were not fully capped. Some sides of the frames were not capped at all. He said he shook out the excess liquid from the cells, but still, I suspect much of his honey wasn't fully cured.

    4) Also, the honey on his frames was goldenrod honey. The colour and texture of the combs was completely different from mine (the flavour was more pungent too). I extracted my honey about 10 minutes after him.

    My uneducated guesses go something like this: My honey was cloudy (and stayed cloudy) because it got mixed with under-ripened goldenrod honey. Or it picked up particulates from the rarely-cleaned extractor that made it cloudy.

    I'm not bothered by the cloudiness. The honey still tastes great (even with a hint of goldenrod in a few bottles). But whereas my crushed and strained honey is clear as apple juice, the extracted honey is opaque and shows no signs ever clearing up.
    - Phillip
    @ Mud Songs

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    jackson county, alabama, usa

    Default Re: What makes honey cloudy?

    i think you are right about your honey picking up stuff from the extractor.

    i bought a new extractor this year, and have had clear honey with the first six extractions.

    on the seventh and last extraction, and in the last few quarts i bottled, i had cloudiness.

    the cloudiness turned out to be crytalization.

    putting these jars in hot water cleared them up.

    i was told that it wasn't necessary to clean out the extractor except at the beginning of the season.
    from now on i will be cleaning it after every use.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Fort Myers, Florida, USA

    Default Re: What makes honey cloudy?

    I would guess that squarepeg is right on. I clean my extractor every time I use it, it just seems a heck of a lot more sanitary to me. I also bottle in "small batch" quantities (I have heard this referred to as a progressive harvest), so I want that month's honey and that's it.

    Phillip, I've been reading your blog for a while now and I'm sorry that we're going into winter, I enjoy reading your posts!
    I started out as an opportunistic beekeeper. Now the bees keep me...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Grays Harbor County, Washington, USA

    Default Re: What makes honey cloudy?

    The crush and strain honey probably had tiny bubbles in it. As you saw, they usually rise to the top and dissipate after a week or so.

    Any particulates in the extractor, including tiny honey crystals, could act as "seeds" to get the crystallization process started. So I agree with squarepeg on that point. I keep large amounts of acreage between me and the nearest extractor.
    Rusty "A Better Way to Bee"

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