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  1. #1
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    Default Factors that affect honey crystalization rate?

    I have 1 1/2# of late spring/early summer honey that hasn't crystallized. It was taken from capped frames via crush and strain on a very warm day (98F and close to 100% humidity).

    Is this warm enough to affect crystallization rate, or is it more a function of floral sources?
    Does the factor that it was crush and strain effect crystallization rate?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Factors that affect honey crystalization rate?

    Factors that affect honey crystallization rate:
    o sugar proportions (high fructose and low sucrose takes longer to crystallize, tied to floral source)
    o water content (less water, faster crystallization, tied to climate and maybe genetics)
    o seed for crystals to form (pollen, dirt, bits of wax, already crystallized honey, how much you heat it and how well you filter it, but IMO filtering and heating ruin the flavor and some of the effects)
    o temperature (maximum speed and minimum size crystals at 57 F, slower as you go up or down from there)

    Both extracted and crush and strain will have bits of wax and pollen for crystal seed. It will make no difference.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3

    Default Re: Factors that affect honey crystalization rate?

    There is definitely science behind it. Oddly enough, I had a pint jar from a 50 lb harvest almost fully crystallize when nothing else from that batch crystallized. It was all from the same bee yard, extracted the same day, and all in the same big honey bucket before bottling.

    Bush is right with all his points. Now which ones affected me are unknown. I've been instructed by others to better blend my honey before bottling. So use something like a big paddle on a drill to slowly and steadily mix the honey before bottling. This should reduce the risk of the sugar ratios being out of whack.

    I only harvest fully capped honey. This should reduce water content differences. I also try to only bottle "newer" honey. If there is stuff that I know is older, or even last year's honey, I'll typically leave it on the hive for the bees or open feed it back. I once tried to bottle old honey that I got from a removal job. It crystallized within a month!
    After 20 months I'm over a 20 hives and growing. See my videos! http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8fVrmUsyYlRuASdX6UQk1g

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Factors that affect honey crystalization rate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    Factors that affect honey crystallization rate:
    o sugar proportions (high fructose and low sucrose takes longer to crystallize, tied to floral source)
    I guess that you meant high fructose low glucose (dextrose)?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Factors that affect honey crystalization rate?

    I suppose I should have listed all of the sugars... Tupelo seems to be the most resistant to crystalliing and it's higher in fructose and lower in sucrose than regular honey with the remainder mostly in dextrose (a little maltose etc.). So the proportions seem to make the difference. Tuplelo is 46% fructose (levulose) while typical honey is about 40%. Tupelo is about 23% glucose (dextrose) while typical honey is more like 34%. Tupelo is about 5% Sucrose while typical honey is about 2%. It does seem that it's the glucose (dextrose) that is the big contributor to crystallization. The more there is the faster it crystallizes.

    According to "Composition of American Honeys" by Jonathan W. White (USDA), pg 21, Dextrose and Sucrose increase granulation. Fructose and Maltose decrease granulation.
    Last edited by Michael Bush; 11-27-2013 at 09:54 AM. Reason: typo
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Factors that affect honey crystalization rate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Brueggen View Post
    There is definitely science behind it. Oddly enough, I had a pint jar from a 50 lb harvest almost fully crystallize when nothing else from that batch crystallized. It was all from the same bee yard, extracted the same day, and all in the same big honey bucket before bottling.
    When you strain honey into a bucket and then bottle from it, you will find a gradient of crystallization times. When the honey is put in the bucket it is pretty even in it's crystallization seed. If you wait a day, the bigger stuff floats fastest and the smallest floats slowest. I opened a case of 1 lb bottles one November and found that at one end of the case it was completely liquid and the other was completely solid. As I pulled each bottle out you could follow the order they were bottled. The lower honey in the bucket will crystallize slower due to less seed as it floats to the top over time.

    If I warm a bucket to say 100 degrees and then bottle it later after it has sit for a day or so it will crystallize a little slower since the seed has risen faster. None of this stops the process, but it can slow it a little.
    Bruce

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Factors that affect honey crystalization rate?

    Thanks for the answers. It seems there are multiple factors that might explain why my honey hasn't crystallized - heat, water content (we had a VERY wet spring), and possibly floral source. I also didn't realize we had Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica) this far north. Thought of it as more of a Florida thing. Sounds like it might be worth some inquiries and a walk down the creek at my beeyard to see what's abundant.

    Some people are convinced only Really Raw Honey is "real". Especially with "homemade" being inferior to storebought and all.

    /facepalm

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Factors that affect honey crystalization rate?

    Would stored pollen be a decent (not exact, but ballpark) indicator of nectar sources? I realized I had a few pictures of Spring/early Summer pollen in frames and on bees, so compared them against Wikipedia's pollen source article. Was hoping it would help give me an idea of what the bees worked in the immediate area.

    I had a neighbor insist something was wrong with the honey because it hadn't crystallized. Hence my out of the blue comment about Really Raw.
    2013, 7 hives, T

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Factors that affect honey crystalization rate?

    Here is a page that lists the relative crystallization rate of honey from a variety of plants:

    http://www.montcobeekeepers.org/Docu...allization.pdf
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Factors that affect honey crystalization rate?

    Regards, Barry

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Factors that affect honey crystalization rate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    Here is a page that lists the relative crystallization rate of honey from a variety of plants:

    http://www.montcobeekeepers.org/Docu...allization.pdf
    Lots of good info here but I would only take their listing of granulation rates as being a pretty broad generality. Alfalfa and clover in the same "rapid" category as sunflower??
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Factors that affect honey crystalization rate?

    Thanks for the sources. I read the links and all of the Jonathan White papers. Can't said I grasped all the specifics, but what I absorbed was very informative. It's worth re-reading to get more of the specifics.

    The technical answer seems to be that increased pH, dextrose/water ratio, presence of "higher" sugars, and acid content correlate with less crystallization, correct?

    I identified 5 local nectar sources (http://www.beesource.com/resources/u...ypes-of-honey/) reported to produce slow granulating honey: Locust, Tulip poplar, Sourwood, (possibly) Tupelo, and Mustard. Any of these that don't fit?
    2013, 7 hives, T

  13. #13
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    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: Factors that affect honey crystalization rate?

    The honey that I store in the nice warm utility room with the water heater and dryer in it never crystalize before sale/use - even a little left from 2012 - out in the unheated garage is another story. Just my experience.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

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