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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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    276

    Default reliquifying honey

    Well my honey finally granulated on me. It took 7 months. Is this normal? Also... I put a couple of jars in the stove with the light on in order to re-liquify them. The light brings the temp to about 95 degrees, so this is gentle heat. The honey is now very liquid but still cloudy with flakes and crystals. How can I get it back to a clear liquid? It's been in the stove with the light on for over a week!!

    Thanks
    Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you`ll be among the stars!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    24,492

    Default

    Yes, crystallization is normal. If you want to completely liquify you honey, if you want to get rid of all of the crystals, you will have to warm it up to 140 to 150 degrees. You can get it mostly liquid at much lower temps. And make it more usable for your self. Of course, that means, just as you have found out, that it will take longer to become liquid.

    If your jar will fit into your microwave oven, if you have one, you can liquify your honey faster. Which means you can burn it faster too. So be careful.

    I reliquify the family honeybear every now and then by setting the microwave on high for one or two minutes until it's liquid again.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Posts
    1,244

    Default

    I have an electric turkey roaster. It will hold a full case of glass pint canning jars.
    I put the jars in, fill with warm water and bring up to 120F with a thermometer. It will may take a day or more.

    If I am in a hurry, I bring it up to 150F for 1hr. Then they are done.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
    Posts
    1,861

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    I reliquify the family honeybear every now and then by setting the microwave on high for one or two minutes until it's liquid again.
    Wow, I must have a microwave on steroids. If I put a bear in for two minutes on high it would be boiling. It sounds like you are watching it as it heats. I suppose that I rarely use the microwave to do this and when I do the container is usually about empty, but I always use 50% power for just a few (10-20) seconds. I might have to do it a second time depending on how much is in the container.

    In the books that I have read the issue with heat is that it is related to time. So heating to 100 degrees for a day or so may be worse than heating to 140 and then quickly cooling the honey. I keep my honey in an old refrigerator heated with a light bulb, fan and thermostat. I keep it between 85-95 degrees. Over a year I can see that it darkens some. When I first started keeping honey this way is kept it at 90-100 degrees and could see the darkening more quickly. My honey is originally bright yellow when extracted. Over a year in the warmer it turns more of an amber color. In the freezer it stays bright yellow.

    When I make creamed honey I heat it to about 140 then put the container in the refrigerator to quickly cool it down to the temperature that I add the seed honey.

  5. #5

    Default microwave

    Very short!

    A few seconds in the microwave wil destroy the honey and degrade it to bakers honey. Do not do that if you want to sell it as consuming honey!!
    Retired beekeeper, Free beekeeping software
    http://apimo.dk apimo@apimo.dk links to beekeeping vidios

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    24,492

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by beedeetee View Post
    Wow, I must have a microwave on steroids. If I put a bear in for two minutes on high it would be boiling. It sounds like you are watching it as it heats. I suppose that I rarely use the microwave to do this and when I do the container is usually about empty, but I always use 50% power for just a few (10-20) seconds. I might have to do it a second time depending on how much is in the container.
    Yeah, you're right I shouldn't have said one or two minutes. Short shots are better.

    Remember, if your bear is less than full when you want to nuc it, fill it up to almost full or you will melt the plastic that is above the honey.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Posts
    1,244

    Default

    If you have an old fridge/freezer, you can turn it into a warming chamber. It is well insulated and will heat easily with different wattage bulbs. For a small price, you can pickup a digital temp controller on Ebay for 35-40 bucks. It will handle up to a 300 watt lightbulb. I guarantee that you can get 120-150 with no problem.

    Fuzzy

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Edgefield County, South Carolina
    Posts
    625

    Default

    If the jars are glass ---- place them in a sauce pan (pot here in the South), and add water to sauce pan (I usually put the jars in first and this way I can measure the water. I don't let the water be above the rim of jar where lid starts). Heat the water to just before it begins to boil. Turn the heat off and place the whole jar in the water with the lid secure (if you didn't already place it in as above). It may take two heating in the water bath if it is real solid.

    Remember don't overheat the honey. Works like a charm for small quantities.
    sc-bee

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Bourbonnais, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    29

    Default

    I use a shop light with cord(the handheld ones used for looking under an engine) with a 25-60 watt normal style light bulb in a rubbermaid tote. Not sure the exact size tote I use, but it's one of the bigger ones maybe 3ft long by 2ft wide by 2 ft high. Put the light on the bottom with the cord propping the lid just slightly. You can regulate the heat by the wattage bulb and putting 1-2 towels over the top and sides. If you want to 'dedicate' a rubbermade you can put a cooking temp gauge through a hole you drill in the side where the honey is to see the temp from outside without opening it up. Over the light put in a shelf. We use a wire shelf that is plastic coated like those used in kitchen cabinets to keep all the honey about 4 inches away from the light. You can put 1 jar in it or 20 (however many fit on the shelf) and keep them liquid. I would imagine you can make more than one layer, but I have never tried this and one has always been enough for us.

    It sounds a little like overkill, but it works great for storing 20 or so bottles at the ready. It takes about 1 day to remove all crystals and holds about a 100-110 temp (perfect) which like I said can be adjusted. It clears the honey up real good too.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    723

    Default Re: reliquifying honey

    Can you do this method with plastic honey jars or do they risk melting?
    Last edited by honeyman46408; 11-15-2009 at 10:18 AM. Reason: unnessary quote
    karla

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Lake county, Indiana 46408-4109
    Posts
    3,545

    Default Re: reliquifying honey

    @ 110 - 115 Plastic should bee ok if you dont get it to close to the bulb
    Ed, KA9CTT profanity is IGNORANCE made audible
    you can`t fix stupid not even with duct tape

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Findlay, Ohio
    Posts
    324

    Smile Re: reliquifying honey

    For a single container of honey, I cut the bottom out of a clear plastic soda(pop) bottle, afixed a flat black surface half way around the inside. Put it in a sunny window and let the sun do its thing, adjust heat with the screw top. This time of the year in NW Ohio the bottle can get up to 100F.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Hays, Kansas, USA
    Posts
    1,095

    Default Re: reliquifying honey

    QUOTE=winevines;477908]Can you do this method with plastic honey jars or do they risk melting?[/QUOTE]

    The plastic bears sure as heck will melt, even at short bursts in the microwave- depending on which plastic material they are made of and how many horsepower (watts) your microwave oven has. If I placed my bears in our microwave for even a minute, the bear would become a surrealistic-looking art display and hot honey all over the inside of the microwave. Some plastics take heat better than others do, you will need to experiment with the micro to find the maximum time your bears can handle. Option that puts easy heat to honey containers - wrap them in a heating pad and turn on low or medium setting for a while. I also use a crock cooker with water in it set to Low and place the containers in it for however long it takes. With a thermometer placed in the water, I can monitor the temp and turn on/off if needed for gentle heating. For large quantities, we have the old standby - a recycled, dead refrigerator with T-stat and incandescent lamps for the heat source.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Dixie, MS, USA
    Posts
    51

    Default Re: reliquifying honey

    My experience is that the honey I bottle on the same day of extraction (I harvest on very hot days) will hold for a very long time without granulating. The bulk of my honey stored in 5 gallon pails granulates much quicker as the nights get cooler, and if stored in the white buckets (I no longer use white buckets). The honey I store in orange buckets holds a very long time without granulating. I store these buckets where they get no sunlight. The orange buckets I use come from a BBQ restaurant that gets their Cattleman's BBQ sauce in them.

    The other thing I've found helpful is to not bottle too much quantity ahead of sales demand.

    My Maxant bottler was a good investment for helping produce an attractive container of honey.

    As an aside; When I run out of plastic squeeze bottles, it will be my last time to use them. I'll be going to the Queenline glass so that re-liquifying is much simpler.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Central San Joaquin Valley, California
    Posts
    497

    Default Re: reliquifying honey

    I wonder what un healthy stuff may come into the honey when it is heated in plastic? I like glass for its purity.
    His Hive Honey Farm - Do all for His glory!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Dixie, MS, USA
    Posts
    51

    Default Re: reliquifying honey

    That is my concern also, as well as many customers. I run little experiments sometime to see how the taste of my honey is affected. I had a plastic squeeze bottle on my driveway honey sales stand for sampling. The plastic bottle was in the sun a lot. After 3 weeks, it had an awful taste that was no where near the original. Needless to say, I trashed it.
    Last edited by honeyman46408; 11-16-2009 at 01:28 PM. Reason: unnessary quote

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Gainesville, FL
    Posts
    75

    Default Re: reliquifying honey

    Does honey crystalize due to too much water content? Could you put your honey in a dry, slightly warm environment and make it more concentrated to avoid the problem? Also, is freezing honey for long term storage useful? Does it degrade the honey? Make it more likely to crystalize? Are there any steps you have to take besides putting the honey jars in the freezer? Anyone who can, please answer these questions for a new beekeeper. Thanks.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
    Posts
    1,861

    Default Re: reliquifying honey

    I have quart jars of honey in my freezer right now. There is too little water to expand, so glass is fine. I just pulled one out and I can still see through it. I have stored honey in the freezer for a year and it seemed to keep the same color over the year.

    I also have a refrigerator with light bulb, thermostat and fan that I store honey in. I now keep the temperature between 85-93 degrees. I used to keep it a little hotter (90-97) and over a year I could see that it darkens a little. I don't know yet about the lower temperature.

    The more glucose sugar in the honey and the more pollen/wax particles the faster it crystallizes. If you let it set for a week or so before you bottle you will see that the first bottles out will keep liquid the longest and the later bottles will crystallize fastest.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Orlando, FL
    Posts
    1,313

    Default Re: reliquifying honey

    Honey will crystallize. It is a natural process. It has nothing to do with water content. It has more to do with the types of sugar in the honey. The mix is different sugars comes from the floral sources.

    In my area (Orlando, FL) my spring Orange Blossom Honey is unlikely to crystallize in less than a year, however my fall honey will crystallize in a month or two.

    In order to warm it gently you can do as others have suggested here, but what I do is easy too.

    I place jars in a cooler and fill with water to just below their rims. I then take all the jars out and pour the water into a large kettle I have in the backyard and put it on my Louisiana Cooker and bring the water temp up to about 140-150. The honey is at room temp of 75 or so. I put everything back in the cooler. The 140 deg water will quickly equalize with the honey and come to a temp of about 105 or so. The cooler will hold it for many hours and it is usually all clear in the AM.

    On occasion I have some crystals still on the bottom of the jars and I wonder if that is because they are in contact with the bottom of the cooler. My next experiment will be to put a wire mesh in the bottom of the cooler to hold the jars up a bit and allow the bottoms to come up to full temp too.

    Good luck......
    Troy

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    723

    Default Re: reliquifying honey

    Thanks for all the tips. Bottling in plastic appears to have been my first mistake... not sure some of these hot water tips will work with plastic jars.
    karla

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