Why did some of my honey crystallize?
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  1. #1
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    Apr 2018
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    augusta, mo
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    Default Why did some of my honey crystallize?

    As a new beekeeper I was able to get about 20lbs of honey off my hive for the first time this year in August.
    I put some of the honey in decorative glass bottles and some of it in your standard plastic honey bear bottles.
    I then stored them all in a box in the kitchen pantry. When I took them out last week I noticed ALL the honey in the plastic bears has crystallized. They are cloudy, thicker and no longer opaque. ALL the honey in the glass bottles of similar size are still as clear as when bottled.
    Given all the honey was from the same hive, extracted and bottled at the same time, filled to approximately the same levels, sealed (plastic bears has foil seals in the cap vs. glass bottles had either rubberized flip-top stoppers or metal lids), and stored under the same conditions.....Why do you think only the honey in the plastic bear containers has crystallized?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
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    Shelby, Missouri USA
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    Default Re: Why did some of my honey crystallize?

    I am not sure that this PDF will answer your questions but it is excellent on explaining honey crystallization...

    http://countryrubes.com/template/ima...allization.pdf

    I have had honey crystallize in both plastic and glass containers so I doubt it is all to do with the container. I would guess that it has more to do with the "type" of honey that was put in each container.

  4. #3
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    Apr 2018
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    augusta, mo
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    Default Re: Why did some of my honey crystallize?

    I will look at the PDF.

    With regard to the type of honey, this is why I am curious, because as I mentioned, it was all the same honey batch bottled at the same time and under the same conditions. The only variable at all is the bottle.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    Covington County, Alabama, USA
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    1,628

    Default Re: Why did some of my honey crystallize?

    I am interested in this thread because I have noticed that the honey I bottle in plastic crystallizes much faster than the same honey I bottle in glass. No help with the answer, but want to follow the thread in hopes someone sheds some light.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
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    7,845

    Default Re: Why did some of my honey crystallize?

    Put your sugared honeybears in the dish washer and when you next wash dishes, the hot water splashing about will no fuss liquify them without burning the honey.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
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    frederick, md
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    Default Re: Why did some of my honey crystallize?

    Like the dish washer idea!

    We get a lot of black locust and tulip popular nectar, this year the rains wiped it out, last year it was a wonderful crop. This year we fought crystallizing, last year the honey never seemed to crystallize.
    Zone 6b: 27 hives in Maryland, Carniolan, Italian mix mutts: Still learning - started bees spring of 2014.

  8. #7
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    May 2011
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    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
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    5,192

    Default Re: Why did some of my honey crystallize?

    57 F. is the magic number for the most rapid initiation of crystals. Is there any chance that stray drafts from air conditioner etc. reached the honey.
    The thin plastic walls of those containers would quickly transfer to the immediate surface of the honey but the mass of the glass bottle would dampen such temperature excursions.

    A wild guess but that is the only thing that comes to mind as a remotely possible influence.
    Frank

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    Aroostook, ME, USA
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    Default Re: Why did some of my honey crystallize?

    Watch out the material your Plastic honey bottles are made from. Some melt/shrink much faster than others as they are very thin. When I heard dish washer, I immediately thought my 'funky' bottle box and they weren't close to the temps a dishwasher will give.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
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    Default

    Crystallization is somewhat random phenomenon. Assuming the honey was the same.....The plastic may have had more debri or seed cites (plastic maybe rougher than glass). The thermal mass of the glass may have retained more heat and cooled down slower when temps drop.

    Basically the goal is to remove seed sites. So heating honey to dissolve small seed crystals and filtering to remove debri. The moisture of honey, temp and ratio of fructose/sucrose also has a large bearing on crystallization.

  11. #10
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    Dec 2014
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    Tamworth, NSW. Australia
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    Default

    I am wondering if the plastic jars are 2nd hand and have residual honey which has previously crystallised and is lodged in the pores of the plastic and when the new honey was added it quickly spread into it sending to crystals.
    I wont add honey to plastic jars rather favouring glass. Saying that l do have plastic buckets to seive out the honey when l crush the honeycomb but then bottle it within hours.

  12. #11
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    Dec 2017
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    Wharton, Texas, USA
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    Default Re: Why did some of my honey crystallize?

    Thanks Scott for the link that was really informative a lot of the questions seem to be answered in it.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    augusta, mo
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    14

    Default Re: Why did some of my honey crystallize?

    Quote Originally Posted by burns375 View Post
    Crystallization is somewhat random phenomenon. Assuming the honey was the same.....The plastic may have had more debri or seed cites (plastic maybe rougher than glass). The thermal mass of the glass may have retained more heat and cooled down slower when temps drop.

    Basically the goal is to remove seed sites. So heating honey to dissolve small seed crystals and filtering to remove debri. The moisture of honey, temp and ratio of fructose/sucrose also has a large bearing on crystallization.
    Given everything else and the environment for storage was the same, this sound like a plausible theory.

    I was using the glass bottles as special gifts to good friends and family and the plastic bears for gifts to less close aquaintences because they were so much cheaper.
    The bears were new but are very thin and cheap...one of them somewhat melted in the dishwasher.

    Thanks for all the input from everyone.

    What is the best way to de-crystallize them and how long does that last before it starts to re-crystalize?

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    Aroostook, ME, USA
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    Default Re: Why did some of my honey crystallize?

    Quote Originally Posted by nbstl68 View Post
    one of them somewhat melted in the dishwasher.
    Yup, dishwashers get much hotter than most of us realize, even if you don't use the drying cycle. PET plastic (the clear stuff) doesn't take much to start to deform and the thinner it is, the faster it does (when empty as when there is something in it, that material has to heat up first but not to say it won't).

    Oh, just wanted to add, a full bottle of honey CAN deform quite easily in a bowl of water that is too warm.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
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    Shelby, Missouri USA
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    Default Re: Why did some of my honey crystallize?

    Quote Originally Posted by amk View Post
    Thanks Scott for the link that was really informative a lot of the questions seem to be answered in it.
    You are welcome. Glad it was of use for you.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Tamworth, NSW. Australia
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    2

    Default

    I put my crystalised honey in the sun to decrystalise.
    Loosen the lid to let hot air escape.
    Rotate the jar every hour to heat evenly and watch carefully as summer approaches because that could be too hot.
    Place jar away from ants because they can smell honey from a long way off

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