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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Clackamas County, Oregon
    Posts
    3

    Default 10 year old honey with slight fermented smell

    Hi,

    Just wondering if anyone could help me with some research. It's an interesting story too. My mother just sold her house, as my step father passed away a couple years ago. Well in the process of packing up her things to move, and my step father's belongings, we found a large barrel in a shed. After asking her, my mother told me that my step father stored the barrel there for a friend (who has moved and doesn't want to deal with it now). She said the barrel is filled with honey and possibly honey comb. So this barrel is HEAVY! My husband thinks it weighs at least a few hundred pounds or more. We moved it to our house (just curious to see what was inside), opened it and found fairly clear honey substance. It seems to be crystallized half way down. If there are combs in the barrel, they must have sunk to the bottom. The liquid smells sort of fermented. My mother was brave and tasted it. She said it didn't taste bad. The inside of the barrel seems in good shape, but outside is a bit rusted. Interestingly enough, it's been in that shed for over 10 years. What do you think the viability of this honey is? Can it be saved, and moved to smaller containers? Tried to attach a picture, but couldn't get it to work.

    Appreciate any help!

    Laura

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,106

    Default Re: 10 year old honey with slight fermented smell

    Welcome to Beesource!

    Honey weighs about 12 lbs per gallon (compare to water at 8.3 lbs), so its not surprising the barrel is 'heavy'.

    Difficult to say what you mean by 'viability' of the honey. Most likely it is fine to feed back to bees, or to make mead from. Most likely, it will be fine for humans to eat also, but whether the taste of what may be slightly fermented honey is appealing is a personal choice.

    Honey can generally be de-crystallized by warming it.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Clackamas County, Oregon
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: 10 year old honey with slight fermented smell

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    Welcome to Beesource!

    Honey weighs about 12 lbs per gallon (compare to water at 8.3 lbs), so its not surprising the barrel is 'heavy'.

    Difficult to say what you mean by 'viability' of the honey. Most likely it is fine to feed back to bees, or to make mead from. Most likely, it will be fine for humans to eat also, but whether the taste of what may be slightly fermented honey is appealing is a personal choice.

    Honey can generally be de-crystallized by warming it.

    Is there a way to really know if it's safe to eat? I would like to move it into smaller containers, but see know reason in doing this if it's not safe to eat. If I move it to smaller containers, should I filter it in some way? Would making mead be the safest thing to do with it?

    Thanks for your time.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,106

    Default Re: 10 year old honey with slight fermented smell

    > Is there a way to really know if it's safe to eat?

    Monitor your mother's health!



    You can have honey tested if you are prepared to pay for it ...
    http://www.honey.com/honey-industry/...y-testing-lab/

    I personally would eat that honey - if I liked the taste.
    But then I also eat fruits and vegetables directly out of my garden without washing them.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Clackamas County, Oregon
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: 10 year old honey with slight fermented smell

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    > Is there a way to really know if it's safe to eat?

    Monitor your mother's health!



    You can have honey tested if you are prepared to pay for it ...
    http://www.honey.com/honey-industry/...y-testing-lab/

    I personally would eat that honey - if I liked the taste.
    But then I also eat fruits and vegetables directly out of my garden without washing them.

    Ha, ha! Well my mother hasn't shown signs of sickness, but she only tasted a bit from her finger. It only worries me because I'm not sure it's storage was the best. The shed was a dirt floor, with no insulation. So the temps I'm sure affected it. Plus, although the metal drum looks ok inside, the outside is rusted. The lid was tightened down well enough, but under the lid the honey was just covered by a layer of plastic. I guess I need to taste it myself too.

    Me too about the veggies; cucumbers straight from the vine are the best! Thanks for the link and info.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,106

    Default Re: 10 year old honey with slight fermented smell

    Stored honey is a pretty safe food ...

    http://www.smithsonianmag.com/scienc...218690/?no-ist
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Palmyra, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    54

    Default Re: 10 year old honey with slight fermented smell

    it's fine, send it to me I'll eat it.
    put a cloth over the barrel let it breath a couple days ,smell should be gone.

  8. #8

    Default Re: 10 year old honey with slight fermented smell

    honey should be fine! honey itself has antibacterial and antifungal properties.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    151

    Default Re: 10 year old honey with slight fermented smell

    Would there be any concerns about the honey being stored in a metal drum vs a wooden one? Just wondering if the metal would leach into the honey over the years.
    The road goes on forever and the party never ends ---- Robert Earl Keen

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,121

    Default Re: 10 year old honey with slight fermented smell

    >Is there a way to really know if it's safe to eat?

    There is no reason to believe it's not. But of course you had no control over it before you got it, so you can't know what might be in it, but I see no reason to believe it's not just good honey.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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