Wet Honey

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PeterP

Wet Honey

Unread post by PeterP » September 8th, 2013, 7:02 am

Interesting description of how commercial guys handle wet honey. It has been wet in eastern Ontario all summer and the honey, even capped honey, is wetter then usual. As a hobbyist who produces about 500 pounds and separates by early, mid, and late season, blending is not an option. Plus I sell unpasteurized honey so I need to get it down to a lower %. Plus, Ontario grade #1 requires 17.8% moisture content. I took off some raspberry honey and it was 20%. I sold it to a side-liner friend who will blend it or make creamed honey. It was a lovely yellow golden colour but I couldn't bottle it.

It spurred me to buy a refractometer so I can measure moisture before extracting. (When I saw how runny the raspberry honey was I took it to a friends to get the moisture reading.)

From now on I test before extracting and dry it in the comb if it is too wet. I set the supers up on a stand in the garage made of 2x8's on edge and blow air up through the supers. It also helps to run a dehumidifier. With the dehumidifier I can dry the honey by a 1/2 % per day. I got some of the honey in the last 10 supers down to 16%. It makes for a nice thick honey. It is another way to differentiate my local honey from the commercial products on the shelves. Colour, taste and texture along with some brown kraft paper labels give it a unique character.

Regards Peter

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karen
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Re: Wet Honey

Unread post by karen » September 8th, 2013, 10:03 am

I dry honey with a dehumidifier and a fan too. I broke down and purchased a digital refractometer that is waterproof for easy cleanup. So much faster to use. A refractometer pays for it self over time.

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Re: Wet Honey

Unread post by karen » September 16th, 2013, 8:27 am

This year I have a lot of uncapped frames that with out a refractometer I would question. I get a sample by I knocking down some cell walls to make a small pool of honey and scoop it out with the end of the plastic knife. Yesterday a super of honey that was just about full yet each frame was uncapped tested at 14.8. For someone being cautious who could not check the moisture content that super probably would have gone back to the bees. This year over half of my supers are uncapped so it would reduce my crop if I couldn't confirm the moisture content.
My refractometer has paid for itself, I don't understand why most beekeepers are reluctant to spend the money on one.

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Re: Wet Honey

Unread post by Allen Dick » September 16th, 2013, 9:04 am

Refractometers used to be over $450 each. That would be much more than $1,000 in today's money, so people don't realize how affordable they are now, especially since honey has gone up in value.

In the field, holding a frame so it is flat to the ground and giving a quick shake will tell if there is nectar in the frame. If anything flies out, that will be thin honey or nectar.

Pulling honey late in the day of a heavy honey flow can result in frames of nectar being taken home. Some thin honey in a batch is not usually a problem if most of the honey is dry as they will average in the tank.

The goal is to have the honey extracted average out at under 17% moisture.

If you do find you have extracted honey that is thin, it can be stored in the freezer, or you can pasteurize it (See chart below). Either way, it will keep indefinitely.

Or you can make mead.

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nyrackpoole
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Re: Wet Honey

Unread post by nyrackpoole » October 12th, 2013, 12:11 am

PeterP wrote:Interesting description of how commercial guys handle wet honey. It has been wet in eastern Ontario all summer and the honey, even capped honey, is wetter then usual. As a hobbyist who produces about 500 pounds and separates by early, mid, and late season, blending is not an option. Plus I sell unpasteurized honey so I need to get it down to a lower %. Plus, Ontario grade #1 requires 17.8% moisture content. I took off some raspberry honey and it was 20%. I sold it to a side-liner friend who will blend it or make creamed honey. It was a lovely yellow golden colour but I couldn't bottle it.

It spurred me to buy a refractometer so I can measure moisture before extracting. (When I saw how runny the raspberry honey was I took it to a friends to get the moisture reading.)

From now on I test before extracting and dry it in the comb if it is too wet. I set the supers up on a stand in the garage made of 2x8's on edge and blow air up through the supers. It also helps to run a dehumidifier. With the dehumidifier I can dry the honey by a 1/2 % per day. I got some of the honey in the last 10 supers down to 16%. It makes for a nice thick honey. It is another way to differentiate my local honey from the commercial products on the shelves. Colour, taste and texture along with some brown kraft paper labels give it a unique character.

Regards Peter
I think I should try out yours method,, it sounds really workable :) :)
But I normally used to dry honey with fan(Larger one) but now it feels like I should buy a digital refractometer which would really help me. And the advantage of it would be like it will reduce my time.

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Re: Wet Honey

Unread post by shawnybeegood » October 9th, 2018, 8:03 pm

PeterP wrote:
September 8th, 2013, 7:02 am
I set the supers up on a stand in the garage made of 2x8's on edge and blow air up through the supers. It also helps to run a dehumidifier.
I do something pretty similar. Except I just use empty bee boxes to prop up the boxes with the wet honey frames and create space for air flow.
With the dehumidifier I can dry the honey by a 1/2 % per day. I got some of the honey in the last 10 supers down to 16%.
Did a bit of research, and found normal indoor relative humidity levels (<59%) can probably get you under 17.8%. In my experience even just leaving honey out in a dry room, like what my house goes down to on its own when the winter heat is on, can make honey extremely dry. Like honey taffy level dry. A dehumidifier makes it go a lot faster though.

Generally I try not to let it go below 17%. Less than that it can get a little tougher for people to use.

Of course, if your not selling it, or if your in the mood to create a market for a novel product, you could just let slightly wet honey ferment. I eat it and sell the stuff that meets the regulations.

I made a video that shows what my arrangement looks like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvgrcNvFmYI
Last edited by shawnybeegood on October 9th, 2018, 8:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wet Honey

Unread post by Allen Dick » October 9th, 2018, 8:08 pm

It's true about storing the boxes in a heated house. If you wait too long to extract honey and you've stored it in a heated building without sealing it from the room air, it may get too dry to come out of the combs in a week or two. I've had that happen.
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