Honey filtering

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Jiminycric
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Honey filtering

Unread post by Jiminycric »

Went through my first harvest today! Other than a sting, things went quite well. Came out with about 60-70 lbs of honey. I could not tell you the moisture content... Now comes the task of filtering out wax particles. My question is this: what do most use for filtering? Is cheese cloth the way to go? Or a double stainless filter made for honey?

Thanks!
- Jiminycric
Strathmore, Alberta
Allen Dick
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Re: Honey filtering

Unread post by Allen Dick »

Straining is a pain. If you do not plan to sell the honey, just standing it in a warm place (body temp or less) for a day or more will settle it and you can skim it. That is sufficient for most purposes. There is not likely anything harmful in the jun k that floats up since it is just wax and debris from whatever was in/on the combs. Beeswax is edible. In fact, some sellers add wax and junk to make 'raw' honey since some buyers are looking for 'natural'.

Or you can dilute it an make mead. Search the diary for my recipe.
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Jiminycric
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Re: Honey filtering

Unread post by Jiminycric »

I have tried a couple stainless steel strainers from home hardware - not designed for honey, but none the less, to the majority of the 'chunks' out. I will give the letting the bucket stand at room temp and let things settle.

Not sure if I want to sell my first harvest, but will eventually sell honey. I'll have to look for the recipe for the mead, see what it will take to make.
- Jiminycric
Strathmore, Alberta
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Biermann
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Re: Honey filtering

Unread post by Biermann »

Hello Jim,

I got me a double screen set from Peavey Mart last year, it works well if set right under the centrifuge on to a food grade 5 gal pail. I extract over the morning after the frames have been in a 35°C storage room. 50-60lbs is about the amount it will handle, then it is plugged solid and needs cleaning. I get most honey though and then wash it with hot (boiling) water outside. Don't do it in the sink, the wax will clock your drain pipes!

BTW, your honey looks about like my first extraction from this year, first thought was that the color was strange, little greenish.

Cheers, Joerg
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Re: Honey filtering

Unread post by karen »

My bees out did themselves this spring. I split them twice to sell nucs but this year it did not slow them down. I just extracted over 800 LBS of honey. I filter right out of the extractor using double stainless steel screens sold for honey. Then when I empty that pail I filter it through a fine screen, so I handle it two times for filtering. I sell it by the pail to a local store and get an extra $1 a gallon if it is clean so it is worth the time to filter.

I agree with Allen honey is a pain and I try not to make it but my bees do not care what I want.
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RiethaCrafford
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Re: Honey filtering

Unread post by RiethaCrafford »

Chees cloth is the best and there is no pain to it, because the honey strain itself, leave it outside covered with a new black dustbin bag to keep dirt out and to draw the heat of the sun, by no time the honey will be done

I use a gloved hand to push the cones down to open all the cells and all is done in 5 min

Rietha from South Africa
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Jiminycric
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Re: Honey filtering

Unread post by Jiminycric »

karen wrote:My bees out did themselves this spring. I split them twice to sell nucs but this year it did not slow them down. I just extracted over 800 LBS of honey. I filter right out of the extractor using double stainless steel screens sold for honey. Then when I empty that pail I filter it through a fine screen, so I handle it two times for filtering. I sell it by the pail to a local store and get an extra $1 a gallon if it is clean so it is worth the time to filter.

I agree with Allen honey is a pain and I try not to make it but my bees do not care what I want.
I agree Karen, I had wished I had done this right from the start and do the majority of filtering when I extract - I don't have a good means to warm up pails of honey for later filtering. My frames were pulled and put into the extractor right away, which worked really well aside that my hive was a little bit of a disaster and my bees were not happy at all. I would set up,the filers in such a way to have the final product ready to be put into containers without much more work.
RiethaCrafford wrote:Chees cloth is the best and there is no pain to it, because the honey strain itself, leave it outside covered with a new black dustbin bag to keep dirt out and to draw the heat of the sun, by no time the honey will be done

I use a gloved hand to push the cones down to open all the cells and all is done in 5 min

Rietha from South Africa
Rietha, it's interesting to hear about things from around the world, and I do like the cheese cloth too, I had used some for my final filtering on my honey here this weekend.
- Jiminycric
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Hawker
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Re: Honey filtering

Unread post by Hawker »

I like to use the mesh screens from Alberta Honey Producers. They fit right on top of a 5 gallon pail and if you are careful decapping and don't get to much wax in your extrctor you can filter right out of your extractor into your jaring pails.I believe they come in 3 different mesh sizes, 200, 400 & 600.
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Re: Honey filtering

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Can anyone explain why they need to strain honey? Does anyone need it clearer than it gets after sitting in a warm place for a day or two?

Another point: If you do not get a lot of cappings and junk in the extractor when uncapping, there will be very little to remove.

Cappings honey is a different matter, but even cappings can be settled, leaving only the skimmings to be strained.
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Jiminycric
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Re: Honey filtering

Unread post by Jiminycric »

Hey Allen, I have a lot of cappings in the honey from using a uncapping fork.
- Jiminycric
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Re: Honey filtering

Unread post by Allen Dick »

Yes. That can be a good reason to screen honey. Scratchers do introduce some small wax particles, especially if all the combs were fully capped.

People are taught to wait for fully capped combs and to strain honey, but, a lot of the advice people read and repeat does not really apply here.

In this part of the prairie, there is usually no need to wait for combs to be capped as long as the honey does not shake out of the comb and as long as it is not taken off at the end of a day when some if it is just fresh nectar.

Moreover, contrary to what is advised, standing freshly extracted honey in a pail in a warm place -- hive temperature -- 35 degrees C -- will clear the honey enough for most purposes in a day or two at most. The skimmings can be used for mead or strained.
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BadBeeKeeper
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Re: Honey filtering

Unread post by BadBeeKeeper »

Allen Dick wrote:Moreover, contrary to what is advised, standing freshly extracted honey in a pail in a warm place -- hive temperature -- 35 degrees C -- will clear the honey enough for most purposes in a day or two at most.
Here, that would mean firing up the wood stove and hotting up the whole house. I don't yet have a separate facility, though I would like to for both extraction and brewing.
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Re: Honey filtering

Unread post by Allen Dick »

What is the temperature on top of your fridge? How about an electric blanket?

What about in a cupboard with a light bulb selected for the right amount of heat -- or for better regulation,possibly with an in-line 110V thermostat?
http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R4 ... d&_sacat=0

BTW, if a pail of honey is placed in a space with a heat source, the temperature climbs slowly as heat is absorbed, so the temperature after fifteen minutes may be much lower than after five or ten hours.

As always, be careful out there and YMMV.
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Jiminycric
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Re: Honey filtering

Unread post by Jiminycric »

BadBeeKeeper wrote:
Here, that would mean firing up the wood stove and hotting up the whole house. I don't yet have a separate facility, though I would like to for both extraction and brewing.
I had seen a small bit of a tutorial on converting an old deep freezer into a honey heating compartment. It used a thermostat, heat lamps, and a stand for pails. Basically the heat lamps sat under the stand - and turned on and off with the thermostat. Of course one would have to build it so the pails don't over heat.

http://www.beesource.com/wordpress/wp-c ... sthetr.pdf

For me, it's a place I can leave it set up - haha my house does not have room for another deep freezer.
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Charlie
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Re: Honey filtering

Unread post by Charlie »

Thank you for the link.............
While I am sure any beekeeper can build a multitude of contraptions to heat honey. The real question is what temperature do you need inside the contraption and for how long and for what purpose. Do you just want to make the honey easier to extract or is the honey crystallized. While this may sound simple one the surface I am sure there are nuances and implications that we have not begun to think about. While I would love to have all the answers I have nothing but questions on the subject and would ask that people with vastly more experience than I for their opinions. Mainly because I think I need to build a contraption soon and do not wish to be experimenting very much .
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Re: Honey filtering

Unread post by Allen Dick »

What one needs to know is that, using a light bulb or other constant heat source, unless there is a thermostat, the temperature in an enclosure with honey in it will climb slowly as the cupboard material and the honey warm until it reaches an equilibrium where the heat loss equals the heat being added. That temperature is unpredictable, but bigger bulbs make more heat. i.e. 60W is hotter than 40W. The actual wattage matters, not lumens, and LED and compact fluorescent bulbs won't work.

Example: With a forty-watt incandescent bulb in a cupboard in a house which is held at at a constant 72 degrees F that equilibrium temperature might be, say, 90 degrees F. That depends on the cupboard size, material, cracks, etc.

However if the house warms or cools, the temp in the cupboard will move up and down accordingly (with some time lag) unless there is a control.

Additionally, and this is important, if the honey is crystallized to start, the honey will absorb some heat to melt, just as a block of ice would, and with an uncontrolled constant heat source the equilibrium temperature will suddenly jump up when all the honey is liquid.

Therefore, a control like a thermostat is advisable. A person could just check every hour, but people get distracted. Also, with a thermostat, one does not have to experiment with bulb wattage or compensate for changes in the room temperature. Remember, though, that the control can limit the temperature, by turning the bulb on and off, but only if the bulb is big enough in the first place, and obviously, the thermostat must be located in the space where the temperature is to be controlled (not outside the cupboard) and close to the honey.

As a general rule, It takes at least 100F to melt honey and 120F or more to ensure it does not just again within days, but this varies with the particular honey in question.

Honey is held at no more than 95 degrees F in the hive and 99 in the human stomach, so to be 'natural', the limit would be 100 F.

To just settle fresh honey, a temperature under 100F should be fine.

In practice, temps of 106 F to 120 F are used in most honey plants, even in plants where the honey is supposedly 'unpasteurized' because the honey arrives there granulated. Also, filtering gets easier the warmer the honey is.

See also this thread: viewtopic.php?t=1353

Needless to say, incandescent bulbs get hot and can cause fires, so be careful.

Electric space heaters with thermostats may work, too, but YMMV.

An old fridge makes a good melting cabinet, but don't melt the plastic liner.
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Re: Honey filtering

Unread post by BadBeeKeeper »

Well, I've got about 400lbs now, with more coming in, so I don't see small cabinets working for me. Space is getting to be an issue. It's not a bad problem, just growing pains.
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Re: Honey filtering

Unread post by Charlie »

Thank you Allen, most informative.

From the chart listed viewtopic.php?t=1353 one could extrapolate the honey would need to be heated for a couple of days at 100°F to 106°F. Maybe longer
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Re: Honey filtering

Unread post by dtompsett »

I do an initial screening when it comes out of the extractor into the pail using a SS mesh. It's helpful to have a couple of them, as they plug up I swap them out and let the remainder of honey drain off, then wash the cappings out of the filter and cycle it back through again.

The pail of of the extractor is then poured into the holding tank through a honey filter cloth... 100 mesh nylon cloth. Gets all of the smaller stuff out and gives me clean honey I can bottle.

It definitely helps to keep things warm. I had a heating cable wrapped around the extractor last year (previous owner gave it to me), but it burnt out. It was handy to keep the honey at the bottom warm to make filtering a little faster as it flows and separates more easily.
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Re: Honey filtering

Unread post by Allen Dick »

From the chart listed viewtopic.php?t=1353 one could extrapolate the honey would need to be heated for a couple of days at 100°F to 106°F. Maybe longer
That chart is for pasteurization, which is to kill troublesome organisms which is different from sterilization -- or melting or straining -- and the curve ends pretty well where shown.

Somewhere below the chart lower end point, we reach a temperature zone where these organisms multiply, given the right conditions. I think 100F is a comfortable temperature for many yeasts.
Yeasts vary in regard to the temperature range in which they grow best. For example, Leucosporidium frigidum grows at −2 to 20 °C (28 to 68 °F), Saccharomyces telluris at 5 to 35 °C (41 to 95 °F), and Candida slooffi at 28 to 45 °C (82 to 113 °F).[24] The cells can survive freezing under certain conditions, with viability decreasing over time. (Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yeast )
Pasteurization is a huge subject and takes more than a bit of research to completely understand. I only presented that info for those who want 'natural' honey. It is also of interest to those who find they have extracted high-moisture honey and don't want it to ferment and don't have the space to store it frozen.

As for settling, some beekeepers hold the honey overnight at 100F in a bulk tank to settle overnight after extracting. Others store drums in warm rooms and skim them.

Ideally, combs should be kept in a hot room at 90-95F before exacting and such a room is ideal for settling honey, too.

My comments were directed at those who only have a few hundred pounds at most and plan to consume it themselves, share with neighbours, or sell direct to a limited market.

One added note: Be careful not to scorch honey by applying high heat to a limited area of the tank. Honey does not move around like water and will be damaged by exposure to a hot surface. That is why holding in a warm space is better for most people than trying to heat a tank with an element or coil.
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