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  1. #1
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    Default The truth about heating and freezing honey

    Recently I read this blog and was searching around for other information on this topic. A lot of this seems to be contradictory - I can't seem to find a solid answer on how to get the most nutritional honey (outside of raw honey of course). The truth of the matter is that I am a bit leary of not freezing comb honey or raw honey in the case that it might have eggs from some pest in it. And then you could have them become active in your honey comb later on someone's counter top.

    The blog author seems to suggest you should never heat beyond 104 to preserve all the goodness. But I have heard 120 and 130 too. I haven't heard a definitive on what damage to nutrition freezing has.

    Is there an easy answer to this?


    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Default Re: The truth about heating and freezing honey

    Im sure there are scientific studies where honey was analyzed, the artical is more less stating here-say without hard facts. Find scientific data, im sure its out there.

    I don't notice a significant difference in taste when honey is heated. When making meade I do not heat the honey. I suppose the honey could be about 90F on a hot day. Heat makes harvesting/processing honey much quicker and simpler.

    The 120-130 threshold is probably bc melting point of wax is around 144F, at higher tempertures honey and wax mix and cannot be filtered effectively. Very fine micron filters require heat to lower viscosity to run machinery efficiently. Heating also improves crystallization, don't know exact details.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: The truth about heating and freezing honey

    Quote Originally Posted by burns375 View Post
    Im sure there are scientific studies where honey was analyzed, the artical is more less stating here-say without hard facts. Find scientific data, im sure its out there.
    The reason for this post was that I have not been able to find scientific studies yet But I thought it interesting that the author of that blog indicated 104F. That is a very specific number and I thought perhaps there was something to it.

    Quote Originally Posted by burns375 View Post
    Heat makes harvesting/processing honey much quicker and simpler.
    I understand why people heat honey. I am hoping to understand why many people say you should not heat honey to process it. A lot of people love to say honey is good for you (but honey heated will destroy enzymes). Many claim raw is the most nutritious.

    Quote Originally Posted by burns375 View Post
    The 120-130 threshold is probably bc melting point of wax is around 144F, at higher temperatures honey and wax mix and cannot be filtered effectively.
    I have read that 130 is a threshold for destroying enzymes too (the blogger of course says 104). I have read that many larger honey processors heat honey to 160F.

    I am hoping to learn what the real impact of freezing and heating (and at what temps), might have on antioxidant properties, enzymes, etc. Might as well get the best nutritional value out of honey as possible I will keep digging for now.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: The truth about heating and freezing honey

    I find it funny the author goes through all that then scoops the honey into his HOT tea. I'd double check those numbers, they seem a bit low. I mean, in theory, your body heat would destroy most of those enzymes them at the lower limit he sets and I would bet honey gets that hot on the hive at times.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: The truth about heating and freezing honey

    Is there Really any evidence that honey is "good for you?" Seriously it's at least 99.99% sugar is it not? Good for you relative to what? All things are relative I suppose, but honey is in the same food group as a milky way no matter how hot or cold it is as far as I can see.

    If I'm wrong I would love to be set straight, so I can give an answer besides "that's what they say" when customers ask about this.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  6. #6
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    Default Re: The truth about heating and freezing honey

    According to the ABC&XYZ of Bee Culture large packers would flash heat honey to 160 degrees and then rapidly cool it to prevent granulation. If you heat a quart jar of honey in a microwave to melt the crystals it will darken the honey. Amber color honey will darken more than the light amber will. I have not ever had the flavor damaged, but it is possible that it could be if the heat was very high and applied for a long period. It would be similar to burning sugar syrup when making candy for winter feed.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: The truth about heating and freezing honey

    Here is a link to a study document on this issue:
    http://www.ibra.org.uk/articles/Effect-of-heat-on-honey
    I'm not a subscriber, and am not going to pay £5.00, but the free summary says flavor changes occur as low as 50 degrees centigrade, which is 122 degrees farenheit.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  8. #8
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    Default Re: The truth about heating and freezing honey

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    so I can give an answer besides "that's what they say" when customers ask about this.
    LOL, I say the same thing, David. About 25% of my costumers ask or mention health. I usually say that or "honey is better for you than sugar water or corn syrup". Im sure I'll get alot of those questions at the kentucky state fairs honey booth this weekend.

    I had one costumer tell me they're doctor told them not to eat honey due to allergies. Another lady mentioned she sometimes gets hives when eating honey. My guess is residual pollen or perhaps propolis. Some folks are very allergic to both, not too mention bee stings.

    I try to get the honey atleast 90F if not 100-110F by leaving supers in hot sealed vehicle in the sun. Heat, makes extracting, filtering and bottling much easier and quicker
    Last edited by burns375; 08-16-2013 at 11:15 PM.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: The truth about heating and freezing honey

    150 and above is flash heating for packaging. it clears all crystals. But it kills enzymes. the bactira and enzymes in honey start to degrade at 120, and its a time at temp scale. another words 3 hours at 120 is worse than 1 hour at 130. anything above 130 is considered pasturized

    Somewhere I have a document that shows this but no clue where and don't remeber who published it.
    Most commercial guys like to keep it at 110 or so for extracting and filtering.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: The truth about heating and freezing honey

    > anything above 130 is considered pasturized

    The National Honey Board says:
    Recommended pasteurization treatments include flash pasteurization (170 °F for a few seconds) or heating at 145°F for 30 minutes.

    http://www.honey.com/images/downloads/shelflife.pdf
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  11. #11
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    Default Re: The truth about heating and freezing honey

    Heating will cause chemical changes to accelerate, including oxidation and color darkening reactions (which are partially the same). It a also dissolves the very small glucose crystals usually present that serve as the nuclei for cyrstalization of the bulk honey, and if hot enough will kill yeast and denature enzymes.

    Whether or not this is bad depends on one's personal perspective and intended use of the honey. For eating, and if you don't mind crystalization, cold straining is fine. It will leave fine crystals, pollen, and very small bits of wax and bee hairs, etc in the honey. I've sold some honey specifically because the purchaser wanted unheated, unfiltered honey for "health" reasons, what they were I didn't bother to ask.

    I don't heat mine because I don't need to (I don't care if it's a bit hazy) and it saves considerable time and energy. If I were extracting hundreds of hives instead of a couple, I probably would heat most of it just to get it moving faster and into the final sale containers.

    Peter

  12. #12
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    Default Re: The truth about heating and freezing honey

    What Ive hear:
    If you want to sell honey as raw honey it shouldn't be heated over 110-115F or the beneficial enzymes that live in the honey will die. Most grocery store honey runs through a 160F flash heater.

    Also the freezer is the best place to store comb honey, kills the wax moth/shb eggs, & prevents crystallization.
    Dan

  13. #13
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    Default Re: The truth about heating and freezing honey

    I'm pretty sure enzymes are not living things.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  14. #14
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    Default Re: The truth about heating and freezing honey

    Even the National Honey Board, which advocates pasteurization of honey, acknowledges that most enzymes are destroyed by heat.
    Without a doubt, heating and filtering honey reduces the final quantity of enzymes in honey. Enzyme levels dropped an average of about 35% when heating and DE filtration was used. Enzyme levels dropped about 15% using heating and straining. Enzymes such as invertase were nearly completely eliminated by processing (average drop of 73%). Others, such as phosphatase dropped about 13%.

    That there was an average reduction is not a complete surprise—most enzymes are destroyed by heat. However, honey’s enzymes were not completely destroyed by processing. Quite the contrary, some enzymes increased after being blended. It is likely this occurred due to the highly variable nature of the honey samples. For instance, the range in enzyme levels for some honeys were two the three times higher from one sample to the next.

    http://www.honey.com/images/uploads/...-raw-honey.pdf
    If you do read the study linked above, keep in mind that both of their comparison honeys were heated substantially. In other words, it is not a real comparison between "raw" honey and "processed" honey, but rather a comparison of two different processing methods.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  15. #15
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    Default Re: The truth about heating and freezing honey

    I don't think the packers heat honey for the purpose of pasteurization. They do it to kill yeast, get rid of crystals that might have started to form, & make it pump easier.
    It looks better on a store shelf for a longer period of time.
    Dan

  16. #16
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    Default Re: The truth about heating and freezing honey

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    I find it funny the author goes through all that then scoops the honey into his HOT tea. I'd double check those numbers, they seem a bit low. I mean, in theory, your body heat would destroy most of those enzymes them at the lower limit he sets and I would bet honey gets that hot on the hive at times.
    ha - I thought the same thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    Is there Really any evidence that honey is "good for you?" Seriously it's at least 99.99% sugar is it not?
    I am trying to find the article (documentary/video), but I have read that corn sugar is so refined it asborbs so quickly it actually causes you to have a slower immune response for several hours after eating it. i.e. an immuno coma for a few hours. Where as honey takes twice as long to absorb, and the immune system "coma" doesn't occur, or occurs much less. The other "healthy" aspects I have ready are antioxidant, and enzymes. Heating can destroy both of these.

    The other thing I read about refined sugars was suppression of absorption of trace minerals. Now I can't recall if Honey is different in that. or if fructose, from say an apple, or pear, has the same affect as the refined sucrose.


    I hear you though, "healthy" compared to eating white cake? sure. Healthy compared to eating an apple, or snow peas? Probably not.

    The immunity response bit I will try to dig up where I found it. I almost think it was part of a video about mass produced corn. "seeds of death"?
    Last edited by Beelosopher; 08-20-2013 at 09:53 AM.

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