Heating Honey to stop crystallization
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Shickshinny, Pennsylvania
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    Default Heating Honey to stop crystallization

    I've been selling honey for 4 or 5 years now and get complaints about are honey crystallizing and have explained raw honey will do this and how to warm it to bring it back to smooth flowing honey but i see that people really dont want to deal with it and I see honey on store shelves that is good local honey from bigger commercial apiaries that doesn't crystallize so I know there heating it to some extent . We have never heated are honey over 110 degrees and it does crystallize at that temp. I believe 160 is the temp for pasteurization so is there a middle ground say 120 or 140 that would stop crystallization for say a year or even 6 months .

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
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    5,521

    Default Re: Heating Honey to stop crystallization

    Most local commercial honey in this area is marked "pure", but very little is marked "raw". For extended non-crystallization shelf life most of them warm the honey enough to heavily filter it before bottling, and they label the honey as pure. Raw honey should be just that, unheated and lightly filtered.

    Crystals need a seed to attach to, so if most of the pollen and other tiny particles in the honey are filtered out there are fewer available seeds for crystallization to develop from. High heat itself seems to slow the crystallization process, but I think the main goal in extending shelf life would be filtering.
    To everything there is a season....

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Izard County, AR, USA
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    125

    Default Re: Heating Honey to stop crystallization

    I put crystallized stuff on the dash of my truck in full sun with the windows up.......If it's the wrong time of year for that, just tighten the lids good and put full jars in your dishwasher and run a cycle, that's usually enough to either re-liquify crystallized honey and/or prevent it from crystallizing.....I think technically that honey would be considered pasteurized and no longer raw, so communicate with customers accordingly I guess.....

    Or, you could tell folks to break out a knife and spread it on their toast, but most people aren't interested in learning anything new or doing anything different.....
    8 years, 30 colonies, no chemical treatments

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
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    Default Re: Heating Honey to stop crystallization

    I am quite confident that Mike is correct about the fine filtering being the biggest factor in controlling crystallization.

    Commercial pasteurization usually flash heats the honey to somewhere around the 160F mark but also quite quickly cools it back down so the time/temperature factor is less harmful to color and flavor than slowly heating to that temperature then slowly allowing it to return. Having it hot enables the fine filtering and killing all the yeasts allows a higher water content honey to be non fermenting compared to the moisture levels allowable in raw honey. Lots of financial motivation to heat and filter.

    I agree that the majority of people today think that solid or solidifying honey has something wrong with it!
    Frank

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Rutland County, Vermont,USA
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    2,007

    Default Re: Heating Honey to stop crystallization

    My mother-in-law was visiting and all we had left was creamed honey and she likes liquid honey so I ran it through the dishwasher like c-bee said and it has not re-crystallized in about 4 months. We don't use the heat cycle and our water is set to 120F. J

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Shickshinny, Pennsylvania
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    1,573

    Default Re: Heating Honey to stop crystallization

    I have to say I completely forgot about the filtering the commercial guys do and was only thinking about heat being the main factor , thanks guys

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
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    6,733

    Default Re: Heating Honey to stop crystallization

    I have been heating squeeze bottle honey to 130 degrees.
    All of my opinions and suggestions are based on my five decades of actual beekeeping,
    not so much on book learning, watching YouTube videos nor reading internet sites.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    St. Michael, MN
    Posts
    689

    Default Re: Heating Honey to stop crystallization

    I put mine in a sous vide water bath at 115 for about 24 hours. I can do up to four quarts at a time, though I typically only do two since it's only for my use. This year's honey I filtered at 200 microns and it all crystallized. Last year, I filtered at 100 microns and it still hasn't crystallized.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
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    4,577

    Default Re: Heating Honey to stop crystallization

    When honey that has only been very coarsely screened and then crystallizes will show sediment (looks like crystals of honey) in the jar bottoms after heating. You can heat that for a week at 140F before they will disappear. By that time the honey will be dark and lose taste. I dont know whether it is mineral crystals or what but it will reseed crystallization.

    Finer filtering is a pain if you have only small filter surface that plugs with wax, but I think it keeps the honey liquid much longer. I use the 5 gallon pail bag filters using the pull up method. You pour the filter full of the extracted liquid and pull the wax out of it. You then have a pail full of filtered honey. The wax is in the bag and can be flushed with a water hose and hung to dry. I would sure hate to go back to tray filters.
    Frank

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Warren County, NJ, USA
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    493

    Default Re: Heating Honey to stop crystallization

    i place jars on the warm plate of my drip coffee maker to de-crystallize. takes ~2 hours for a pint mason jar to clear up. idk how hot it actually is. i can hold the back of my hand on it for about 5 seconds. guessing maybe 130-140*? the jar doesnt get that hot though.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Rockford, IL
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    152

    Default

    I just tried the dishwasher technique... it liquified about halfway thru a quart jar. But, that should last long enough to enjoy on some cereal. We haven't had any liquid honey since about a month after last year's harvest.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
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    3,138

    Default Re: Heating Honey to stop crystallization

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    I have been heating squeeze bottle honey to 130 degrees.
    Ollie, post that picture of the squeeze bottle you melted inside your micro-wave!

  14. #13
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Park County, Montana, USA
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    424

    Default Re: Heating Honey to stop crystallization

    Here in Montana I can sell all the raw honey I care to. However, processed honey is a whole new ball game requiring inspections and such, even trickier selling out of state. For our use, and advice I give to raw honey buyers, I heat the honey to 150 f, then put it into a 150 f oven for 15 minutes, then cool it as quickly as I can. This will keep it liquid but it is no longer salable because it is no longer raw honey. Crystallized honey can be liquefied this way.
    5 Production colonies, 1 side by side 5 frame nuc for support- 7 working queens is all I want.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    San Francisco, CA
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    3,138

    Default Re: Heating Honey to stop crystallization

    None of my customers here will sell crystallized honey.
    My opinions are based on a decade of beekeeping, book learning and watching YouTube videos.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Skaneateles, NY
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    898

    Default Re: Heating Honey to stop crystallization

    seems to me last years honey always seems to crystallize to a certain extent in the 5 gallon pails in the cool of the basement.
    I just sit them in a hot water bath for a couple hours and they liquify again. And oddly they dont seem to ever recrystallize .

  17. #16
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    San Francisco, CA
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    Default Re: Heating Honey to stop crystallization

    This bucket was crystallized solid the day before. I just set it over two 100w light bulbs with a thermostat setting of 104 degrees. Encase the whole thing in styrofoam supers. Easy Peasy!

    6A8AF47F-F2E3-4290-A2B9-C673AE7777FB.jpg

    Works well with crystallized flow frames too with a higher heat setting of 110 degrees. There was a little that was still stuck in the upper corners of the frames. I need a fan to distribute the heat with these flow frames. The bucket of honey below was completely crystallized in the flow supers

    BFE315F6-B7B9-4468-B09D-579074C8906D.jpg

    95426DE1-2A94-48B8-9B77-5F6EF1A0C89E.jpg
    My opinions are based on a decade of beekeeping, book learning and watching YouTube videos.

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    NY
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    131

    Default

    I have had great success with an aquarium heater in a cooler with water to the lids and a circulator pump. I did find 105 is about the minimum to effectively de crystallize. But you need to leave it a couple of days if it's under 100.

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Katy, TX
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    20

    Default

    For small batches (6 - 7, one lb. Bottles), I use my instant pot set on the yogurt setting for 4-6 hours at 105 degrees. Longer if the bottles are really crystalized.

  20. #19
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    Feb 2016
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    Covington County, Alabama, USA
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    Default Re: Heating Honey to stop crystallization


  21. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Rosebud Missouri
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    3,929

    Default Re: Heating Honey to stop crystallization

    I put them in the oven with just the light on for a day or two. The highest I saw it get was 115 degrees. After it loosens up a bit, I agitate the jars slowly every so often till I think I have it all liquid. This is with stuff that is already in pint and quart jars.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

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