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I only harvested about 12 gallons of honey this past year and most of it has already been sold or given away. I am having trouble with the remaining honey I have bottled crystallizing. Is this caused from the moisture content of the honey when I harvested it? Most folks from the country understand that cane syrup and honey will crystallize after time, but I hate to sell it when people don't know what the mass in the bottom of the jar is. Should I open the bottles and feed it back to my bees? Thanks for any advice.
 

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Crystallization of honey has nothing to do with moisture content. Fermentation is determined by moisture content.
Nectar source has a lot to do with how fast honey crystallizes, for example basswood honey will crystallize within a few weeks, where as black locus will take many months, this is a natural process for raw honey and dose not affect taste or quality of the honey. You can correct this by warming the honey to app. 110 degrees it will return to liquid state. Or if you like just use a butter knife and spread your honey on your toast.
 

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example basswood honey will crystallize within a few weeks,

Are you confusing basswood for canola or sunflowers? Basswood honey is known for taking a long time to crystallize.

Tree honeys are usually very good about being slow to crystallize. Flower honeys often crystallize much faster.
 

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Crystallized honey proves that the honey is not heat treated or super filtered. In Europe, honey is expected to be crystallized. Why? Because that's what real raw honey does.

We need to educate the public about how honey changes and is still fantastically perfect. Don't heat it, sell it as is and explain how real honey works.
-Erin

PS:
The words on my honey jar:

100% Pure Raw Maine Honey (logo)
Just as the bees made it.
Nothing added, Nothing taken away.

This honey is in its purest form. It has never been heated, filtered, blended, or adulterated in any way. This jar contains all of the natural pollen, propolis, enzymes, health benefits, and flavors of pure raw unprocessed Maine honey.

Different floral sources, temperatures, and honeybee colonies contribute to the unique flavor and texture of each jar of honey. And each jar of honey represents a tremendous amount of work by thousands of honeybees.

When it comes out of the comb, raw honey is in a liquid state. Over time it begins to crystallize and as it does it turns to a creamy easily spreadable texture. This "creamed" honey contains al the goodness of the liquid honey, and it is actually preferred by many honey enthusiasts.

We love honey in all its forms. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Learn more at
overlandhoney.com
 

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More than that, it depends on the sugar sources, nectar & pollen content of where and what the bees collected at that time.

Still, the Egyptian Pharaohs collected honey and stored them in their sacred tombs. Thousands of years later, most of the honey was still edible. As long as it's kept with a controlled climate, what's there to worry about ?
 

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Crystallized honey proves that the honey is not heat treated or super filtered.
that's simply not true. honey is a supersaturated solution, and will eventually crystallize, no matter how much you heat/filter it.

deknow
 

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Well, let's get back to the real reason this young fellow wrote in.

One of my early years found me with a couple of cases of pint jars that granulated from top to bottom. I made a new label on the computer and I called it: SPOON HONEY!

At the farmer's markets, granulated honey draws some curiosity and when explained, several people liked the concept of honey you could spoon onto toast or into your coffee without all the drips and mess.

(You see, I"m not selling honey, I'm selling convenience!) That year I finished up my summer extraction and bottled everything (probably not the best idea).

I find the best way to reliquify my jars and bottles of honey is to set them on the dashboard of my car on a sunny day. Works like a charm. Maybe not this time of year.

For five-gallon buckets, I made a wood box and wired it with a thermostat and a 100-watt light bulb. Never gets above 102 degrees F. Takes about 24 hours to regain its liquid state.

And previous guys are right: we need to educate the public. There's nothing wrong with granualted honey.

Grant
Jackson, MO
 

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fwiw, we are currently making our living selling crystallized honey. if anyone is in downtown boston, we are in a (unheated) tent at downtown crossing until christmas eve.

the honey we sell from arizona is a very course crystal, the vermont is smooth and creamy. i like both.

deknow
 

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Well, I work in Stoneham and just got back from a funeral in Lynn. It's not the best of days to be in an unheated tent!

I was my hometown grocery store last week and a woman was in front of the honey offerings, flipping over each jar. I asked her why and she told me that she "discovered" that a lot of the honey had "gone bad". I explained crystallization and showed her the label. Didn't matter. What a shame. Hey...I tried!
 

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As those of us with any practical experience of how things work, other than just anything electronic, or seen on TV, age - what can you expect?

The President could give a news conference about honey crystallization, and it would only sway opinion a percent or 2 in either direction.

We just need to come up with the big mac or flame-broiled honey package and consumption would out-pace the crystallization process.
 

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On the original question: hot water works for a few jars, but sometimes I find myself having to liquefy a couple cases. I've found the following configuration pretty helpful: set up some cardboard boxes like a little fort in your laundry room or something similar, and throw all the jars you need to liquefy in there. Maybe throw a towel over it all to make sure it retains some heat. Then just point a space heater at it - give it overnight and your honey is liquid. Just remember that heat is the enemy of honey. You can kill off all the wild yeasts at pretty low temperatures and it definitely effects the taste. Use the lowest temp for the shortest time.

On some of the other stuff: I agree, crystallization is going to happen, pasteurized or not. But it will definitely happen sooner if it is not pasteurized. My understanding is that there is an increased risk of fermentation if honey is crystallized because the glucose (that's what's separating from the liquid into crystals) has a moisture content below 10%. That means whatever is left once the glucose separates has a much higher moisture content. I've never had honey spoil like that though - has anybody any experience with that? I'm thinking it is an exception to have properly removed and stored honey spoil due to crystallization.

Josh
 

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Adam,
I have some friends who sell most of there honey any more in crystalized condition. They seem to sell a lot of it like that. They educate those who comment about it...often let them try some. It's not a bad thing. One can either reliquify it...or sell it crystalized. To me, it's another product to sell.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for all the great advice. Like most of you are saying, people from the country understand that honey will crystallize, it is just hard to explain to "city folks". My grandad kept bees commercially for years, unfortunately he is not mentally capable to clue me in some of the things I am coming across as I get more into it. I am 28 now and wish I had more of an interest when I was younger and could have took in more of his knowledge. Everyone have a merry Christmas and remember Jesus is the reason for the season.
 

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it is just hard to explain to "city folks".
It is just hard to explain that honey does not spoil and when it turns to sugar it is still good.

I had a visit from a beekeeper from Europe and he brought me some "hard" honey so I gave him two bottles of my honey one light and one dark, first he looked at the liquid light and when I gave him the dark (verry dark) I thought he was going to give it back, they are not used to dealing with liquid honey.
 
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