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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Two weeks ago I extracted about 50 pounds of spring honey from a deep super. Today, this is what I found when I went to grab a jar to take to my mom. Every jar is fully crystallized. I should have stored it in the garage I guess. Now I've got to put in in my warming cabinet (former cabinet incubator).

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Wow that sucks, if you wanted only honey..
Just curious how /where did you have it stored so as i dont make the same mistake. Also did you measure the moisture content? Just curious.
 

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Wow that sucks, if you wanted only honey..
Just curious how /where did you have it stored so as i dont make the same mistake. Also did you measure the moisture content? Just curious.
This is not as much about how you store it.
This is more about what is in it...
Lots of dandelion nectar will do.
 

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Wow… in a week the glucose levels in that stuff are way up there. Did you filter the honey, go raw unfiltered.
 

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Our honey around here (whatever mix of floral sources it is) crystalizes in a hurry. It's just something to deal with. Buy a bucket heater once you start harvesting a bunch as it makes bottling a lot easier once you have a 5-gallon brick of crystalized honey to deal with :)
 

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Yikes, that would suck to contend with & storing, would have to keep it in a warming cabinet before selling & quickly put any that didnt sell back in for storage.
Hopefully i have different floral sources than you ;)
 

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Yikes, that would suck to contend with & storing, would have to keep it in a warming cabinet before selling & quickly put any that didnt sell back in for storage.
Hopefully i have different floral sources than you ;)
It isn't that big of a deal. I use my sous vide to do any after-bottled warming that's needed. I usually keep a little crystalized around as every once in awhile someone would rather have crystalized than liquid. But 99.9% of people want liquid.

My iteration was temp controller with hive bodies, two light bulbs under the bucket which was sitting on metal queen excluder. Anything after bottling I did on the warming pad of the stovetop. Then I'd warm the bottles in my Reptipro (queen cell incubator) if needed. Then a couple years ago got this bucket warmer and use it with my temp controller. And the sous vide setup is perfect for doing bottles.
 

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Right but after you warm it & store it its going to crystalize again correct? Warming is just a temporary solution, or have i been misinformed?
 

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Right but after you warm it & store it its going to crystalize again correct? Warming is just a temporary solution, or have i been misinformed?
It is a temporary "solution" (unless you are ready to just boil the heck out of it, disregarding the side-effects in the name of the present-ability).

This entire honey selling busy work is kinda nonsense IMO and not worth all the dancing it takes to make it "presentable" and still sell off at basement pricing.

People have been conditioned to consume clear and runny substance called "honey" and nothing else.
They don't appreciate the real stuff (however it may look).
One might as well just produce enough for your own use and enjoy it.
My spouse prefers the crystallized honey anyway (which I have all kinds of different varieties from the rock solid like the pictured above to actually both crystallized and runny at once).
 

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Is there a difference between crystallized and hard? I would buy a pail of canola honey every fall and it would crystallize and be unpleasant because it was 'grainy'. I started mixing in a 1/4 cup of creamed honey right after I picked it up and it would go hard but not crystallize, if that makes sense.

I guess it is what you are used to, we don't like runny honey, too much like syrup, we prefer it hard but not 'grainy'.
 

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I guess it is what you are used to, we don't like runny honey, too much like syrup, we prefer it hard but not 'grainy'.
I love it all, honey around my area tends not to crystallize for a while, it is however thick. ( Still have honey pulled in early March before flow no crystallization) That tends to throw people off who are used to so called honey purchased in stores today.
So I have to agree with Greg in that regard, most people unless they have been around bees just don’t appreciate real honey. They are used to sugar syrup byproduct if you will, their first time tasting the real deal is often surprising, and eye opening to them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Just curious how /where did you have it stored so as i dont make the same mistake. Also did you measure the moisture content? Just curious.
It was stored in an old duncan phyfe china cabinet in a spare room in my house. Temperature in this room is usually around 70°-74°F. Yes, I did measure the moisture content. It was somewhere between 17.5% to 18%.

Wow… in a week the glucose levels in that stuff are way up there. Did you filter the honey, go raw unfiltered.
I ran it through a Mann Lake stainless steel double sieve which screen it progressively at 841 microns and then at 420 microns. In my opinion this does not count as filtering the honey. Usually with a filter the honey would have to be heated and pressurized to push it through a filter. I still call my honey raw and unfiltered.

Our honey around here (whatever mix of floral sources it is) crystalizes in a hurry. It's just something to deal with. Buy a bucket heater once you start harvesting a bunch as it makes bottling a lot easier once you have a 5-gallon brick of crystalized honey to deal with
I've been looking at the bucket heaters and different options to heat honey. I'm just getting back into beekeeping this year. Started with five Russian nucs and four Italian packages in a two different locations. I have also caught three swarms in my swarm traps. So I'll be at 12 hives going into winter and I plan to have enough woodenware ready to split to 24 hives in the spring. Should I be looking at a bucket heater or a drum heater? Is it easier to manage 70 five gallon buckets or 7 drums of honey? Not that I will harvest that much next year, but I'm planning to continue to expand up to around 60 to 90 hives.

I'm currently using a sportsman cabinet egg incubator as a warming cabinet. It's thermostat can be set up to 103°F. I also have a Sous Vide that I will try out, it may work better than the incubator.

we prefer it hard but not 'grainy'.
This honey is very smooth and soft and melts quickly on the tongue. I'll probably keep some like this since I put it in wide mouth jars. I like it this way on my bagels.
 

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Right but after you warm it & store it its going to crystalize again correct? Warming is just a temporary solution, or have i been misinformed?
Yeah, but it buys some time "on the shelf" as liquid. So once bottled I probably have a month or two-ish before it crystalizes again. And by then it's usually sold. Sometimes I bottle and it's not totally liquid, so it will crystalize faster in that case. All told, with the right tools, it is a pretty minor inconvenience. And if you can get a big customer base that understands what crystalized honey is and better yet actually WANTS it that way... all the better.

I toyed around with the idea of bottling everything shortly after harvesting it, but that becomes a logistical nightmare (at least for me). Trying to figure out how to store a bunch of smaller containers vs 30 or 40 five gallon buckets keeps me from trying to do that. I can't imagine what my 'honey closet' would look like if it was full of packaged product. :D And the inevitable resulting catastrophe when the floor collapses or something.
 

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I've been looking at the bucket heaters and different options to heat honey. I'm just getting back into beekeeping this year. Started with five Russian nucs and four Italian packages in a two different locations. I have also caught three swarms in my swarm traps. So I'll be at 12 hives going into winter and I plan to have enough woodenware ready to split to 24 hives in the spring. Should I be looking at a bucket heater or a drum heater? Is it easier to manage 70 five gallon buckets or 7 drums of honey? Not that I will harvest that much next year, but I'm planning to continue to expand up to around 60 to 90 hives.
Probably depends on how you're going to bottle and/or get it out of the containers. I bottle by the bucket, so that works for me. My typical harvest would fill about three drums and I'd have to have some sort of pump or something to get it back out of that drum, I just don't sell that much at once to make it work. Additionally... filling a drum would be a whole different animal too as everything I have it set up for buckets.

At the very least I would guess that you'd have a period of time where a bucket heater makes more sense than a drum heater.
What I use is this:
Powerblanket Lite PBL05 5-Gallon Insulated Pail Heater - Bucket Heater (5 Gallon / 19 Liter): AmazonSmile: Industrial & Scientific
with this
Inkbird ITC-308 Digital Temperature Controller Outletsmoker Thermostat, 2-Stage, 1100W, with Sensor Reptile Beer Brewing Kegs Fridge Cured Meat Breeding: AmazonSmile: Industrial & Scientific
This would also work: Inkbird All-Purpose Digital Temperature Controller Fahrenheit and Centigrade Thermostat with Sensor 2 Relays ITC-1000F for Refrigerator Fermenter: AmazonSmile: Industrial & Scientific

I use the first temp controller for a variety of things and the second one would have exposed connections so would be best to mount that into or onto something. I use the second type for a couple of incubators including one I use for eggs/queen cells and on a different one that I use for the actual hatching of eggs. They all work very well. The first one I've been using pretty frequently for almost five years. The other two see less action and I've had them for 2 or 3 years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
At the very least I would guess that you'd have a period of time where a bucket heater makes more sense than a drum heater.
I guess I agree with this. A 60# bucket is easier than a 660# drum to move around. I actually already own both of these temperature controllers that you linked. The first one I use with a chest freezer to make a fermentation chamber for brewing beer. The other one I bought for my Keezer build.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
@jwcarlson, when you use your bucket heater, do you have the temp sensor probe between the heater blanket and the bucket or do you actually drop the sensor down into the honey? What temp do you set it at? 104°F?
 

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@jwcarlson, when you use your bucket heater, do you have the temp sensor probe between the heater blanket and the bucket or do you actually drop the sensor down into the honey? What temp do you set it at? 104°F?
Between bucket and blanket, if you put it into the honey (anywhere but the very edge) you're going to 'boil' the outside stuff for sure, and if you're going to put it on the outside edge then you might as well just put it outside the bucket (IMO). I'd have to look at what I settled on for temp. It's higher than 104 though. I'm not sure it would ever liquify at that temp or it would take a decade. I just bottled last night, maybe I'll toss a bucket on now at 105 and see how long it takes to get liquidy. I usually figure on two or three days, if it's winter it is longer and a lot of times it's not all liquid, but somewhere more like a slush. It can help to stir it as the bottom will sometimes stay crystalized and be kind of a pain to deal with.

I guess I agree with this. A 60# bucket is easier than a 660# drum to move around. I actually already own both of these temperature controllers that you linked. The first one I use with a chest freezer to make a fermentation chamber for brewing beer. The other one I bought for my Keezer build.
Well then you're already halfway there! They both work swimmingly in my experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
It's higher than 104 though. I'm not sure it would ever liquify at that temp or it would take a decade.
😄 Not quite a decade. Lol.

My incubator setup at 103°F will liquify my bottled honey completely in two to three weeks. I feel like this still counts as raw honey, since the bees keep the brood chamber at 95°F and heat rises, I bet the honey supers can be as high as 105°F.

It can help to stir it as the bottom will sometimes stay crystalized and be kind of a pain to deal with.
Yep, those bottoms can be stubborn. I usually turn my jars upside down in my cabinet after they liquify two thirds of the way down.
 

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Pollen, propolis, antioxidants, and enzymes found in raw honey are destroyed at temperatures above 110°F. Pulled this from an old article, so I would see no reason that it wouldn’t still be considered raw honey.
 

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It is a temporary "solution" (unless you are ready to just boil the heck out of it, disregarding the side-effects in the name of the present-ability).

This entire honey selling busy work is kinda nonsense IMO and not worth all the dancing it takes to make it "presentable" and still sell off at basement pricing.

People have been conditioned to consume clear and runny substance called "honey" and nothing else.
They don't appreciate the real stuff (however it may look).
One might as well just produce enough for your own use and enjoy it.
My spouse prefers the crystallized honey anyway (which I have all kinds of different varieties from the rock solid like the pictured above to actually both crystallized and runny at once).
Crystalized honey is quite good, however, it is even better before it crystalizes. After, I sure wouldn't heat it, maybe warm it a warm water bath to soften it for ease of use.
I totally agree about the marketing aspect. Honey is traditionally sold in thin jars to make it appear lighter, in addition to the heating and straining to make it stay liquid. People are coming around is my experience. I think that there is probably a lot more honey being consumed per capita in the USA than used to be the case a few years back. There is definitely more interest out there these days. Let's see,,,,,white bread, light honey, white rice,....and I'd better stop there.
 
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