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Monday, March 23, 2009

Crystallized Honey (Creamed Honey)

Honey lasts a long time. It's been found in tombs, still in good shape. However, under certain conditions honey will crystallize. My understanding is that the crystallization happens when there are tiny particles in the honey that act as seeds for the formation of the crystals and when the temperature is around 57 degrees F.

All honey doesn't crystallize but some of my favorite harvest bottles from this year did just that. I went out of town for a week and left my thermostat on 55 to save on heating. When I returned my favorite honey had become creamed honey.

When people make creamed honey on purpose their goal is to have a very smooth creamed product. The seed grains in this honey must have been perfect because the honey was smooth and perfectly creamy. Or, as my bias would lean, my method of harvest without an extractor may result in only the tiniest grains coming through the filter.

However, at this point in the year, most of my harvest from 2008 is gone and we love honey at my house. This morning I decided to take one of the last non-chunk jars of honey and reliquify it. To do this, you have to heat the honey.

Part of what I value in my harvest methods is that the honey is never heated - the hottest it has ever been is the interior temperature of the hive. But to re-liquify the honey you have to get it to 160 degrees and keep it there for a minute or so before turning off the heat.

I put the creamed honey in a pan of boiling water. I put a candy thermometer in the honey so I could monitor the temperature.



As the temperature rose, the honey became clearer.



At the end of the process, the entire bottle was again liquid honey. Because I got it to 160 degrees, it won't recrystallize. What we lost in flavor from heating the honey is worth it to me to have the liquid again.



I also have some jars of chunk honey (comb in a jar filled with liquid honey) where the liquid part of the honey has crystallized. I can't imagine that this process would work for the chunk honey because the wax would melt.
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10 comments:

  1. OMG Linda we were just talking about his and you last night! We were watching The Food Network and they said that once honey gets cold and crystallizes it's ruined and you might as well throw it away. I said "nuh uh, Linda says it's really yummy" :D LOL

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  2. I don't know about the chunk honey, but I imagine that the wax might float on top.

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  3. Anonymous5:38 PM

    I leave our crystalized honey on top of our coffee machine (at work) the whole day and by the end of the day it is liquid again. I think this may work. If you find a very slow and low temperature way of doing it....I don't know but just so you know there are other options.

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  4. I just got to know something on crystallization of honey. It is said, that when you accidentally touch your hair with honey on your hand, your hair turns grey. Is that true?

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  5. I've never heard that! And I had lots of grey hair before I'd ever gotten any honey in it!

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  6. Thanks for the info, I'm actually trying to crystallize honey left over in a honey bear because I like it that way for a treat... so I suppose throwing it in the fridge would be the idea then. Gonna try that. ^_^ And eesh, what Food Network show said THAT!? Better not have been one hosted by Alton. The honey and heat trick is pretty staple... well, I guess for people used to cooking with more natural products.

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  7. Sorry, Deborah, I deleted your comment by accident (I was reading it on my Droid). If you liquefy crystallized honey, then I wouldn't put the top on until the honey cooled down to room temp.

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  8. C olleen10:04 PM

    I love honey that has crystallized and use it in a variety of ways. My question is: How can I get honey to crystallize rather quickly?

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  9. There's a process for making creamed honey called the Dyce method. There's a post on this blog for making creamed honey - it still isn't fast - takes about 6 weeks from start to finish. http://beekeeperlinda.blogspot.com/2010/06/making-creamed-honey.html

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  10. Anonymous2:18 AM

    Honey is an excellent face cleanser. I am an esthetician and use it in my fresh skin care treatments. When you mix honey with a dab of water it gets the same composition as hydrogen peroxide, therefore, very antiseptic and cleansing. Pick up a little honey on your fingers, add a drop of water, mix with fingertips, and gently, in circular motion, spread it on your face. Rinse then with tepid water. Do the same when honey crystallizes for an exfoliating treatment. You will never go back to commercial cleansers!

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