What causes Honey to cystallize?
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  1. #1
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    Default What causes Honey to cystallize?

    The beginning of October I bottled around 100 lbs. of Honey in 1 lb. bottles and about 20 3 oz. bear bottles and all of it crystallized in about 2 1/2 months. What would cause that to happen?

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: What causes Honey to cystallize?

    Quite normal. Some honey crops will crystallize even quicker than that and some may go a year. Some may have a very coarse gritty and solid texture and some may have fine crystals and still spreadable. Really fine mesh filtering usually makes it stay liquid longer so that can be a variable.
    Frank

  4. #3
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    Default Re: What causes Honey to cystallize?

    Normal.
    In fact, if you'd keep the batches from different hives separate, you'd see differences in crystallization.
    This is due to the differences in the foraging sources they used.
    Some honey will never crystallize.
    Other honey will go thick in weeks.
    I got a 2 year old jar - still runny and my favorite (high proportion of non-floral honey in that jar).
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: What causes Honey to cystallize?

    Since beginning beekeeping in 2014, I have saved the first pound from each harvest (2014-3; 2015-3; 2016-1; 2017-2; 2018-1; and 2019-1). This is a recent picture in order, left (2014) to right (2019). It has been fascinating to note the 2014 still has not crystallized. The honey was collected from apiary sites about 1.5 miles apart.115B9CAF-9E42-4E06-8DC1-9D226E7BB24E.jpeg
    Last edited by JTGaraas; 01-18-2020 at 05:37 PM. Reason: Unable to ascertain how to rotate image.

  6. #5
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    Default

    Greg V glad to meet another beekeeper who doesn't believe that all honey crystallizes. I only have a few crystallize. I hope that I am not filtering it to fine. I use the double screen stainless steel strainer most of the time. I have never had a jar of sourwood crystallize but I couldn't stand keeping it longer than 4 years. A friend of mine had some 7 years old without crystallization. Some experts say that sourwood honey is "slow to crystallize ".

  7. #6
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    Default Re: What causes Honey to cystallize?

    From a New Zeland site:

    Crystallization
The two major sugars in honey (glucose and fructose) are the main factor in determining the tendency for a honey to crystallize. Water content also plays a part. Generally the higher the glucose, the faster honey crystallizes and the higher the fructose, the slower it crystallizes.
    
Three formulas have been proposed for prediction of crystallization tendency.
    1. Glucose / Water. > 1.64 stays liquid < 0.27 stays liquid
    2. Fructose / Glucose > 1.64 stays liquid < 0.27 stays liquid
    3. (Glucose-Water) / Fructose < 1.25 will crystallize > 0.42 will crystallize

    Other factors can also play a part in crystallization that may affect the above formulas' ability to accurately predict crystallization tendency. These include higher molecular weight sugars (oligosaccharides), acidity and Available Water.

    The ratios give you an idea that it is what the honey components are that is the cause of crystallization. This then points at where did the nectar come form?

    I have a quart jar that went solid and my wife loves it.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: What causes Honey to cystallize?

    From what I have seen, tulip poplar honey does not readily crystalize. It is my primary nectar source and I have yet to have any solidify. I also keep a jar from each year and the 2017 honey is just as free flowing as the 2018 and 2019 honey.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: What causes Honey to cystallize?

    Questions:

    When I extracted it there was some brood on a couple frames, I don't recall open the brood when I extracted it but would that cause it to crystallize?

    Also, if too many capping got into the honey would that cause it to crystallize?

    I strained it with a very fine mesh, and I used a hot knife(this was the first time I used a hot knife), would I be better off used one of those pointy things that opens the caps?

    I greatly greatly appreciate the advice

  10. #9
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    Default Re: What causes Honey to cystallize?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thunderstorm6274 View Post
    Questions:

    When I extracted it there was some brood on a couple frames, I don't recall open the brood when I extracted it but would that cause it to crystallize?

    Also, if too many capping got into the honey would that cause it to crystallize?

    I strained it with a very fine mesh, and I used a hot knife(this was the first time I used a hot knife), would I be better off used one of those pointy things that opens the caps?

    I greatly greatly appreciate the advice
    Macro-trash (brood, chunks of wax, etc) will not cause crystallization.
    We are really filtering these out for obvious reasons (to have visibly clean honey) - not to prevent crystallization.

    To compare, micro-trash (pollen, dust, micro sugar crystals, etc) will cause crystallization - anything hardly visible or smaller.
    The crystallization is process that really works at the micro-levels and molecule levels.
    Still, this is largely dependent on the chemical composition of the basic honey (as outlined above already).
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: What causes Honey to cystallize?

    Left - one of the batches from summer 2019 crop - solid sugar clump (the crystals are so large).
    Right - one of the batches from summer 2018 crop - dark and liquid (the batch is full of pollen too - does not matter, still runny).
    20200119_121854.jpg
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: What causes Honey to cystallize?

    The six batches I did during the summer extraction - all from different hives.
    The most crystallized jar is the same as in the above picture (batch #5 per the sticker - stupidly, I mixed up my batch numbering and don't know which location was the source).
    The honeys are clearly different.
    20200119_120943.jpg
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: What causes Honey to cystallize?

    The only thing I can think of that I did differently this time was use a hot knife, could the heat of the knife have caused the crystallization?

  14. #13
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    Default

    That’s what makes Tupelo so special. It never crystallizes.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: What causes Honey to cystallize?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thunderstorm6274 View Post
    The only thing I can think of that I did differently this time was use a hot knife, could the heat of the knife have caused the crystallization?
    No. It’s all about where the nectar comes from. Whatever your plants/trees that bloom in late summer/early autumn that the bees gather the nectar from, that determines crystallization, like it was explained in the other posts, glucose/sucrose ratio. Weather can be a determining factor also. The bees cap the nectar at about 18% +/- moisture. Frames should be completely capped before extracting, but could take capped frame and the part should be “dry” enough to take, like giving the frame a good shake and no nectar shakes out of the uncapped cells.
    Proverbs 16:24

  16. #15

    Default Re: What causes Honey to cystallize?

    The way you store it can influence it. I keep mine in a radiant floor heated room set at 89 degrees. The rate of crystallization also depends on the amount of stuff in your honey to seed crystal development like pollen, air micro air bubbles, and particulate matter—-This is why commercial honey producers ultrafilter honey for a long shelf life. The chemical composition of honey varies in the ratio of fructose to dextrose which is probably another important factor that influences crystallization.
    Quote Originally Posted by Thunderstorm6274 View Post
    The beginning of October I bottled around 100 lbs. of Honey in 1 lb. bottles and about 20 3 oz. bear bottles and all of it crystallized in about 2 1/2 months. What would cause that to happen?

  17. #16

    Default Re: What causes Honey to cystallize?

    Yup. Above i said dextrose, but thats the same as glucose i think.
    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Holcombe View Post
    From a New Zeland site:

    Crystallization
The two major sugars in honey (glucose and fructose) are the main factor in determining the tendency for a honey to crystallize. Water content also plays a part. Generally the higher the glucose, the faster honey crystallizes and the higher the fructose, the slower it crystallizes.
    
Three formulas have been proposed for prediction of crystallization tendency.
    1. Glucose / Water. > 1.64 stays liquid < 0.27 stays liquid
    2. Fructose / Glucose > 1.64 stays liquid < 0.27 stays liquid
    3. (Glucose-Water) / Fructose < 1.25 will crystallize > 0.42 will crystallize

    Other factors can also play a part in crystallization that may affect the above formulas' ability to accurately predict crystallization tendency. These include higher molecular weight sugars (oligosaccharides), acidity and Available Water.

    The ratios give you an idea that it is what the honey components are that is the cause of crystallization. This then points at where did the nectar come form?

    I have a quart jar that went solid and my wife loves it.

  18. #17
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    Sawyer County,WI USA
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    Default Re: What causes Honey to cystallize?

    I also suspect the Honey that crystallizes as quick as described above may have had something to do with the 'temperature' the honey was kept.

    We purposely crystalize about half of the honey we harvest each season by placing it in a cool spot in the house, temps in the 50's, making quick work, resulting in 'spreadable' honey the 'easy' way. Cooling quick seems to limit the 'sizes' of the crystals, thereby making the honey relatively smooth as opposed that sandy feel 'some' folks detest

    The honey we want to remain clear is simply placed in a warm spot. It no doubt helps that we have an 'in-floor' heating system like above. Depending on the harvest (we average around 10 gallons per season with between 2 and a dozen colonies) This system of keeping honey has worked very well for many years. We actually prefer using our 'easy-way' crystalized honey for every day use, but keep the clear stuff around for folks that don't.

  19. #18
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    Northern Lower Michigan, USA
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    Default Re: What causes Honey to cystallize?

    Quote Originally Posted by JTGaraas View Post
    Since beginning beekeeping in 2014, I have saved the first pound from each harvest (2014-3; 2015-3; 2016-1; 2017-2; 2018-1; and 2019-1). This is a recent picture in order, left (2014) to right (2019). It has been fascinating to note the 2014 still has not crystallized. The honey was collected from apiary sites about 1.5 miles apart.115B9CAF-9E42-4E06-8DC1-9D226E7BB24E.jpeg
    First pound as in the first frame you took out from the top of the hive, or the fist frame the bees filled, bottom of the hive. Or the first frame to go into the process? Just wondering, Sorry to grill you for granularity. C&S or extract?
    GG

  20. #19
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    Jun 2014
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    Fargo, North Dakota
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    Default Re: What causes Honey to cystallize?

    Gray Goose - all honey supers were extracted by use of either two (2) or three (3) frame manual extractors with resulting honey strained through metal sieves (mesh strainers) on top of pails. The pails were allowed to stand for at least 24 hours before bottling, with the first pound always saved. By the second year I realized the advantage of the dripless stainless steel bottler valve, and I secured a larger bottling tank where the contents of a couple of five-gallon pails could be combined. The first bottle of honey is retained for the collection. None of the honey is crush and strain, nor was any filtered.

  21. #20
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    woodland, wa usa
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    Default Re: What causes Honey to cystallize?

    Simply a thing called "supersaturation". Supersaturated sweets crystallize.
    Having been so glib with that answer, there have been numerous individuals, myself included that have had their 2019 liquid honey crystallize much much faster than "normal", like in 6 months to a year rather than just a few months.

    Whether that be due to the altered axis of the earth's spin, the number of penguins in the antarctic during winter, pollen content of honey, climate change, global warming (By the way did ya note they stopped calling it that for some reason, maybe it really ain't enough to justifiably call it that?). No one seems to know why honey is doing a lot of fast crystallizing in 2019.

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