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Q: Processing raw honey to retard granulation, how to with minimal equipment ? ( Answered,   4 Comments )
Subject: Processing raw honey to retard granulation, how to with minimal equipment ?
Category: Science > Technology
Asked by: velvel-ga
List Price: $100.00
Posted: 31 Oct 2005 19:39 PST
Expires: 30 Nov 2005 19:39 PST
Question ID: 587348
I want to process raw honey by heating + filtration to retard
granulation after packaging in plastic containers of aprox one lb net
fill. I will process aprox 5000 lbs per day. Controlled heating is no
problem but I must learn preferred time/temperature treatment.  What
type of filtration can I use without buying costly equipment ?  What
micron filter bag ?  Pacaged honey must stay free of crystalization
minimum one year.  velvel
Subject: Re: Processing raw honey to retard granulation, how to with minimal equipment ?
Answered By: guillermo-ga on 31 Oct 2005 23:30 PST
Hello Velvel-ga,

It's good to see you again - I'm glad that my colleague Czh-ga finally
could answer your previous question.

I've found a number of sources that I believe will satisfy your
requirements. However, as it is usual in our service, you can ask for
clarification if you consider that something is missing or unclear.

The sources:

"Be Small Enterprise Development" by Paul Draper and Michael Duggan

An original FAO document at Iranian Science website. The link I
provided you goes directly to the process of your interest, but the
whole document covers in detail practicaly all the related processes,
paying attention to keeping production costs in a low level.


Also a FAO document, at the Argentine website Cultura Apícola,
similarly covers the topic you need and the whole beekeeping process.

"Honey Crystallization"

Published by the National Honey Board, explains what honey
crystallization is and the basics about how to deal with it.

"Honey Crystallization" by Fred Salassa

Published by Hi-Bee News, The Newsletter of the Hawai`i Beekeepers?
Association, is an in-depth article about the issue and how to treat

"Honey Processing"

This content from the New Zealander website Airborne Honey includes
useful information, also browsing its internal links.

Searching on honey crystallization I came accross with an alternative
that you might be interested in, which is producing creamed or whipped
honey. In a way, it's like avoiding crystallization the opposite way -
instead of keeping it liquid, you control cristallization to make a
spread product. It's been done by what is named The Dyce Method, after
his creator. You can learn of it at:


Again, I expect you have met your need with the information provided
above. However, I'll be ready to clarify my answer if you consider it



Clarification of Answer by guillermo-ga on 31 Oct 2005 23:41 PST
Search strategy: "honey processing" crystallization


Request for Answer Clarification by velvel-ga on 01 Nov 2005 10:26 PST
Guillermo, I get some data from your references but I need reports
more applicable to a commercial processing/packaging facility than to
bee keepers' batch processing.   We will pack five tons per day and
these references don't relate to such volume.
I will use their recommendations for heating.  Thank you.
    But it misses "commercial filtration".
  (One says to use ladies' nylon hosiery).
Can you find data on bag filters (what mesh ?  what filter materials ?  
... sequential filtration with diminishing mesh sizes ??

Thank you for fast & good information.           velvel

Clarification of Answer by guillermo-ga on 01 Nov 2005 15:52 PST
Hello Velvel-ga,

"One says to use ladies' nylon hosiery" Well, good enough for small
supliers with scarce resources, in a large scale commercial context it
does sound funny... Despite that, with respect to straining measures,
it seemed to me that the provided material covered it. For example, at
"Value Added Products..."(
), section 2.6.7. "Purification" (PDF file page 42 to 47), especially
figure 2.10, there are detailed descriptions for straining devices,
including mesh measures and materials - and also a suggestion for
nylon stockings ;) but maybe it refers to the type of material, rather
than the thing itself. I'm referring you to that part so that I can
understand more precisely what you need, if different than that. Since
you asked for a solution with no big investment implications, I
figured that with those specifications you could get yourself a
tailored device. Other than that, maybe we should search the market
for honey strainer equipment, such as this one:

You may find useful this catalog:
 The page is a bit untidy because it's a Google cache HTLM version of
a PDF file missing, but it include equipment specifications that you
may find valuable.

Please let me know your thoughts.



Clarification of Answer by guillermo-ga on 05 Nov 2005 15:18 PST
Hello Velvel-ga,

In case you have not seen it yet, my colleague Sublime1-ga has added
valuable information coming from direct experience that - while for
lesser volumes than the ones you're dealing with - may prove useful
for you. Besides the description of the procedure used, I find
specially interesting the relationship among impurities and quality
level - which is also mentioned in some of the documents I referred to
in my answer - being that the reason for letting you know about the
Dyce Method for whipped honey, which makes an attractive homogeneous
creamy consistency with minimal - if any - loss of the flavour and
nutritious elements.



Clarification of Answer by guillermo-ga on 06 Nov 2005 22:33 PST
Hello Velvel-ga,

I've seen your last comment. Please try this document: "Cleaning and
Marketing Honey, by Mathew Allan

Clarification of Answer by guillermo-ga on 06 Nov 2005 22:41 PST
(Sorry: accidental incomplete posting. Here it goes again:)

Hello Velvel-ga,

I've seen your last comment. Please try this document: "Cleaning and
Marketing Honey", by Mathew Allan NDB
( ),
particularly this paragraph:
"It is an axiom among beekeepers that every jar of honey sold should
be of show standard. On the other hand, show experts will devotedly
spend hours on a few jars of honey. For extremely fine filtering, an
industrial monofiliment nylon cloth of tightly-controlled mesh size is
available. This cloth is of welded construction, so the mesh cannot
distort or enlarge, and is very tough. The 200 micron mesh (i.e. one
fifth of a millimetre) will filter out anything larger than pollen
grains and provide a honey of sparkling clarity. It should be noted
that the slightest granulation will result in,a clogged cloth so
warming may help with every batch."

I'll keep looking for information to match your needs. Please let me
know if this post does it.



Clarification of Answer by guillermo-ga on 06 Nov 2005 23:26 PST
The following source is actually a provider for the service of
extraction, filtration and bottling of honey, what suggest the
possibility of outsourcing the process. Regardless that option, please
see this paragraph:

"We warm honey to 40 degrees centigrade (the same temperature inside a
hive on a hot day) and pump it through two 80-micron filers. All the
pollen stays in the honey and the nutritional yeasts and enzymes are
preserved as much as possible. The honey comes out crystal clear with
no visible impurities."

( )

The following document regarding British honey regulation may serve as
an orientation:
"11. Filtered Honey

"This is honey obtained by removing foreign inorganic or organic
matters in such a way as to result in the significant removal of
pollen. ?Significant? is not defined in the Directive and ultimately
any dispute would have to be decided by the court. It varies with the
floral origin of the honey because pollen sizes vary. Most UK honey is
derived from sources with pollen grains less than 50 microns and
mostly less than 30 microns. The mouth can detect particles over about
70 microns. Filters do not exclude only those particles larger than
the nominal size of the filter because of the mechanics of the
operation. In practical terms, filtering through a mesh of about 100
microns is probably reasonable and unlikely to give rise to the
requirement to describe the honey as filtered. It would be very
difficult to establish the evidence unless a filter was used that was
fine enough to remove most of the pollen."

( )

At Honeybee Center website, there is the page "About Honey"
( ). Under the title
"What is the best kind of honey?" there is a chart which two last
categories read:

"Filtered with minimal heat
"Extracted and cleaned using an 80 micron filter. Honey is heated to
40 degress Celsius (the same temperature inside a hive on a hot day).
Contains a great deal of the goodness that nature put into the honey.
Will granulate in two to six months, depending on the type of flowers
the bees visited to gather the honey.

"Pasteurized Honey (most store bought)
"Extracted and cleaned using flash heating to a high temperature,
super filtered through a 1 to 5 micron filter, and quickly cooled.
Contains very little goodness that nature provided, but will last over
9 months on the store shelf without granulating."

I hope the new added information completed what you need for your
honey processing. If not, please let me know, and I'll be willing to
help you further.



My new search strategies were:
honey crystal filter micron


"filtered honey" micron
Subject: Re: Processing raw honey to retard granulation, how to with minimal equipment ?
From: sublime1-ga on 05 Nov 2005 13:02 PST

5000 lbs is about 416 gallons/day. I worked in a smaller honey
processing business, and would like to mention what we did, in
hopes that it may add to the perspective of the data provided 
by my esteemed colleague guillermo-ga.

In order to minimize damage to the honey's nutritional content,
we heated it as little as possible, while still making it warm
enough to thin it a bit for pouring and straining, while staying
below the temperatures which would pasteurize (and ruin) it, 
which is about 160F. 

The amount you intend to process might make a difference in the
ways you will accomplish this, but this is what we did:

We started with honey in 5gal plastic buckets and set them in 
a water-filled heating tank which would hold 3 at a time. The
tank was equipped with a 1500W heating element. It would take
3-5 hours for the tank to heat the honey to a temperature that
would allow for easy pouring. Crystallized honey would take 
longer to thoroughly melt and eliminate the crystals. The 
water temperature was kept as far as possible below 160F - 
130-150F depending on how long you are willing to wait.

When the honey was heated and thinned, we would strain it into
55gal drums. The tops of the drums would be removed, and a 
stainless steel lid with a shallow concave dip in it, made of
a coarse wire mesh, would be placed on top. On top of this was
placed a fine-mesh cloth made of man-made fiber, such as nylon.
Natural fibers tend to break off during pouring and these tiny
bits of material become the germ for the development of crystals.
The more lint-free the material, the better, for filtering.

The honey was poured through this material at a rate which would
accommodate the filtration process. It might take 15 minutes for
a 5gal bucket to flow through the filter. A pool of honey would
remain at the end, and the lid would be replaced and the remainder
allowed to drip through for some time afterward.

The 55gal drums were equipped with a no-drip spigot at the bottom,
called a 'gate', and we would bottle the honey directly from the
gates of the 55gal drums, and label them by hand afterwards.

In our experience, crystals are formed around "impurities" in
the honey, however, these so-called "impurities" are usually 
the very thing which makes good honey exceptional. They include
microscopic particles of things like bee pollen, which is a 
highly-desirable ingredient in the mind of the honey purist, 
who wants the most nutritional honey. To effectively eliminate
such contents would require heating it to a consistency that
would allow for much finer filtration. This would mean using
a level of heat which would effectively pasteurize it, destroying
both any microbial contents and a great deal of the nutritional

Since honey is hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs water, it tends
to kill any bacteria anyway, by absorbing water from the cells
by way of osmosis.

The vast majority of our customers much preferred the nutritional
value of our honey over the pasteurized "Grade A" honey which can
be found in grocery stores. While pasteurized, highly-filtered
honey will resist crystallization much longer (indefinitely, in
some cases), our customers much preferred the occasional need to
reheat the honey (at about 120F) when it crystallized, rather
than lose out on the nutritional value by having it be a more
processed product to begin with. To this end, we always sold our
honey in glass containers, which accommodate re-heating more
easily and safely than plastic ones.

The difference between minimally processed honey and pasteurized
honey is so pronounced that I can actually smell the difference
in the finished product. The minimally processed honey has a 
much more complex and lively bouquet, while the pasteurized
product smells flat and lifeless.

If, on the other hand, you're selling the product to, say, a 
baker, for use in bread-making, rather than to individual end
users, it might not matter as much. I can only tell you our
experience with individual customers.

Once bottled, it's important to keep the storage area heated
to preclude crystallization. Temperatures above 70F assist
greatly in this. We used to go round and round with health
food store owners who would leave their stores unheated at
night, resulting in the quick crystallization of the honey
at temperatures below 50F. Ultimately, we would simply
replace their crystallized honey with fresh honey, and 
reheat the crystallized honey for resale. Glass containers
made this relatively simple.

I realize that you've specified as little crystallization
as possible, in plastic containers, for periods of a year.
While this type of processing is highly undesirable to the
purist, you can see from what I've written that, if the
nutritional value and taste of the honey is not an issue,
you can simply heat it to a very high temperature, thinning
it as much as possible, and using the finest filter you can
find, made of man-made, lint-free fabric, to eliminate as
much particulate matter as possible from the honey. This
will greatly extend its shelf life free of crystals.

I'll keep an eye on this question for any comments or 
questions you might have.

Subject: Re: Processing raw honey to retard granulation, how to with minimal equipment ?
From: velvel-ga on 06 Nov 2005 18:10 PST
sublime-1 & guillermo ........ IF YOU CAN GIVE ME JUST ONE MORE


Subject: Re: Processing raw honey to retard granulation, how to with minimal equipment ?
From: sublime1-ga on 07 Nov 2005 00:29 PST

Given your intentions, I would simply experiment to find
the finest mesh that will work with the honey heated to the
temperature you plan to use. It will vary depending on the
water content of the raw honey. Honey with a lower moisture
content (which will vary with the amount of rain during the
season) will require a filter with a coarser mesh than honey
with a higher moisture content, which will flow more easily.

If nutrition and flavor are not an issue, then you can also
use temperatures which are much higher, which will allow you 
to use a finer mesh.

As to the specific measurements, in microns, for the filter
materials, I couldn't tell you what the most extreme levels
might be, since I only worked with the coarsest levels of
Subject: Re: Processing raw honey to retard granulation, how to with minimal equipment ?
From: guillermo-ga on 07 Nov 2005 06:54 PST
Hello Velvel-ga,

Please see my last two clarifications.


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