In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “How to clean honey?”, discuss answers to other related questions like what is the composition of honey and what are the risks associated with the consumption of raw honey.
How to clean honey?
Honey is a thick golden liquid that is produced by industrious bees. These bees produce honey by using the nectar of flowering plants and save that inside the beehive. This honey is then collected by extracting it from the honeycombs of the hive. The extracted honey is then poured over a nylon cloth or mesh to separate it from impurities like beeswax and dead bees. This is how honey is cleaned.
This honey is then further cleaned by pasteurization and filtration to be used and sell as regular honey. Pasteurization is a process that destroys the yeast found in honey by applying high heat. This helps extend the shelf life and makes it smoother. Filtration further removes impurities like debris and air bubbles so that the honey stays as a clear liquid for longer.
Filtration of honey
Filtration is the final step of cleaning honey. For filtration, you have to use a double-stage filter so that honey goes from top stage filter of 1000 microns to bottom stage filter of 300 microns. The top stage honey filter filters out all the large lumps and whacks and bits and pieces whereas the bottom stage honey filter takes out even very small quantities of pollen pick. Once you have filtered the honey from a double-stage filter, it is ready to be stored in the jars.
What is the composition of honey?
Being sweet in nature, sugars are considered the basic component of honey. These sugars include sucrose, glucose, and fructose. As fructose is known to be sweeter than glucose or sucrose, the sweet taste of honey is thought to be due to the high content of fructose.
In addition to sugars, honey is also known to contain traces of other important elements like invertases, glucose oxidase, catalase, amino acids, vitamin B, vitamin C, and antioxidants.
Why does honey crystallize?
The crystallization of honey is due to a natural phenomenon in which honey is transformed from one physical state to another. In crystallization, honey is converted from a liquid to a semi-solid state.
As discussed earlier, the composition of honey is mainly based on sugars. Water is the minor component of honey. It is estimated that honey contains about 70% sugars and 20% water in general. The water carried thus does not dissolve all the sugars naturally.
As glucose is extracted from water and stays in crystalline form, it promotes crystal formation. The formation of crystals neither changes the essence of honey nor it is related to poor stage or sweetness. In substance, these crystals are indicators of the fact that the honey is of high quality and is not processed.
How to keep raw honey from crystallizing?
As crystallization is a natural phenomenon, so you can not stop it but you can try to slow down this process if necessary. Also, if you do not like the texture of crystallized honey, you can go for those varieties of honey that take a longer time to be crystallized.
To slow down the process of crystallization, you can adopt the following measures:
- Try to use a glass jar or well-lidded bottle instead of a plastic jar to store honey. Glass jar will help you preserve the flavor as well as consistency of honey.
- Temperature plays a key role in the crystallization of honey. When stored in a cold environment, honey keeps its consistency better. The cold temperature below 10℃ is considered to be optimal to avoid crystallization.
- Freezing is best known to stop the process of crystallization. You can freeze honey in small aliquots and allow it to thaw at room temperature when you have to use it.
- Filtration is also a key player in slowing down the crystallization process. Filtration helps you remove certain particles from the honey that are considered to trigger the crystallization of honey.
- During bottling, if you keep honey at temperatures of about 40℃ to 71℃ will also help you slow down the crystallization process of honey.
What are the risks associated with the consumption of raw honey?
Raw honey is known to contain spores of a bacteria, Clostridium botulinum. Therefore, the major risk associated with its consumption is acquiring botulism.
Symptoms of botulism caused by the consumption of raw honey include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, double vision, difficulty in swallowing, and difficulty in breathing. These symptoms can be fatal. So, if you consume raw honey and experience any of these symptoms, seek medical assistance immediately.
In this brief guide, we answered the question “How to clean honey?”, discussed answers to other related questions like what is the composition of honey and what are the risks associated with the consumption of raw honey.