Beekeeping hoping to produce your own honey is exciting and fulfilling, but it’s also a waiting game. It takes at least a year for bees to build new colony and establish their own food supply of honey. At this point, all they earn extra is your share.
But what if, after all the work and waiting it takes to keep bees, it finally comes time to extract honey and enjoy the honey that the bees have worked so hard for, and then the honey becomes cloudy after extraction? I have also encountered this situation, and would like to share with you how to solve it.
How to remove cloudy honey after extraction: Usually, heating honey in a warm water bath removes most of the cloudiness caused by sugar crystals in the honey. But you may want it to remain crystallized, or even promote it by making cream or spinning honey. Not panic! This is actually a very normal and expected situation with raw honey.
Why Does Honey Become Cloudy?
After doing all the work needed to take care of the hive and then completing the extraction process, including removing the bee frame, opening the hive, and extracting and packaging the honey, when the honey becomes cloudy and starts to crystallize instead of staying in the liquid state you see in stores gold status. But rest assured, you did nothing wrong.
Honey consists of water, glucose and fructose. It is low in water and high in sugar, and it’s this combination and super saturation of sugar that creates a relatively dry environment and prevents honey from spoiling or dying from yeast or bacteria, as it would in an environment with higher water content. But it’s also this ingredient that causes honey to crystallize and appear cloudy.
Crystallization is the result of glucose molecules combining with water molecules, which then form crystals that make honey look cloudy. This explains why different types of honey crystallize at different rates. According to Science Line, “Tupelo high fructose honey, for example, can last for years without crystallizing. In contrast, honey from cotton and dandelion flowers crystallizes more readily”. Honey higher in glucose tends to crystallize faster than honey higher in fructose because the glucose combines with water.
The cloudiness or crystallization of raw honey is as unique as the colony that produces the honey. Even crystallization patterns and amounts may vary between honey pots and honey collected from the same hive at different times.
Whether honey becomes cloudy also depends on the temperature at which it was stored. The recommended temperature for storing honey is about 70 degrees Fahrenheit, or about room temperature in a temperature-controlled home.
Cooler storage areas can promote crystallization, while warmer areas can prevent crystallization, but also affect the quality of the honey. Commercial honey on grocery store shelves has been specially treated to prevent this crystallization effect, and in many cases the pollen has been filtered and removed, causing the honey to lose many of its benefits.
Seeing this crystallize means the honey is real and raw and retains all the benefits of raw honey. So if you find it, well done, your honey is natural!
How To Fix Cloudy Honey?
Generally, heating the honey in a warm water bath and/or gently stirring the honey is sufficient to remove the cloudiness caused by softening and breaking of the crystals that form. If the crystals don’t clear, that’s okay! You can still use honey as usual, but with the added benefit of being easier to apply and less likely to drip.
And you can be sure it’s actually raw honey because the crystals indicate that it hasn’t been commercially processed, preventing crystallization and giving honey a consistent appearance on store shelves.
Is Cloudy Honey Dangerous?
Cloudy honey is not dangerous and can be eaten without hesitation. The turbidity of honey depends on the colony; type of pollen collected, storage temperature and moisture content, but turbidity does not affect the quality of honey.
Cloudy or crystallized honey is completely safe to eat. In some cases, crystallization even gives honey a richer flavor.
What If I Sell My Honey?
When your customers buy your honey, they probably know the ins and outs of real raw honey very well and don’t mind crystallization. The taste of honey is not affected by crystals, and some people even prefer crystals in honey because they spread more easily.
In fact, creamed or spun honey is another product to add to your honey supply, or just make your own to try something new. Because it’s a value-added product, you can charge more for it, and many people are willing to pay a premium for a local product.
Honey with a higher content of crystals, making it thicker, richer and easier to spread, is called creamed honey. Creamed honey may also be called whipped honey, spun honey, or stirred honey.
A process pioneered by Prof. Elton J. Dyce called the Dyce method that allows you to make your own creamy honey that’s perfect for spreading on toast or serving in a spoonful, and as an added bonus, it doesn’t feel like a runny nose It’s easy to drip honey that way, which means less mess to clean up.
The Dyce method is a controlled crystallization process that requires great attention to detail but results in a homogeneous creamy honey with fine crystals. To obtain creamy honey using the Dyce method, the honey is first pasteurized to kill possible latent yeast by slowly heating, filtering, and reheating. Then cool quickly in a cold water bath.
At this point, seed honey, crystals from an existing batch of creamed honey that has been ground to the desired size, is added to promote more crystallization. The ratio of seed honey to pasteurized honey.
The mixture is then left to stand at 57°F for about a week, which eventually forms crystallized honey consisting of tiny crystals.
A second method that does not pasteurize the honey first can be used. In this method, seed crystals are added to a batch of honey at a ratio of 1:10, then gently stirred and maintained at a temperature between 55-70 degrees Fahrenheit for 80 hours.
Just like liquid honey, creamed honey will keep good almost indefinitely.
Does Crystallized Or Cloudy Honey Taste Different?
Although the crystallization of honey does not affect the quality, it can enrich the taste.
What Can Raw Honey Be Used For?
Raw honey is known for its numerous benefits. It can be used in several ways:
- As an alternative sweetener for baked goods.
- Used in the production of glazes for meat and vegetables.
- In smoothies as a sweetener and immune booster.
- Use as a mask in your natural skin care routine or mix with sugar or coffee to make a face or body scrub.
- To sweeten tea and other beverages
- For sore throat relief.
- Soothe an upset stomach
- As a natural antibiotic.
Is Raw Honey Really An Antibiotic?
Raw honey, especially Manuka honey from New Zealand, is known to act as an antibiotic against 250 types of bacteria, including:
MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus)
MSSA (Methicillin-Sensitive Staphylococcus aureus)
VRE (vancomycin-resistant enterococci)
Helicobacter pylori (can cause stomach ulcers)
If a cut, scratch, or infection occurs, rubbing raw honey directly on the area may help heal it. If you are using honey for healing, it is best to source local honey as you will benefit from the pollen and nectar of local plants and flowers.
Does local honey help with allergies?
Because native honey is made from native pollen, consuming raw native honey can provide people with the allergy-causing micro-dose of pollen, allowing them to build tolerance to pollen and relieve allergy symptoms.
What’s the best way to store raw honey?
Pure raw honey does not spoil and does not require refrigeration. It is best to avoid direct sunlight in a cupboard or pantry. It should be kept away from overheating, so don’t store it near a stove or any other heat source.