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Thread: Soft-set honey

  1. #1
    Senior Member Mellifera Crofter's Avatar
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    Default Soft-set honey

    Twice now, my soft-set honey has been affected by frosting. I wonder what I might be doing wrong.

    The first time it happened, I left the honey for too long in the settling tank, and it was already quite stiff when I eventually jarred it. I thought that was the reason for the frosting (see the first photo), where the frosting is all the way down the side.

    But as for my recent batch of jars - I don't know. It's visible in the second photo. It looks as though the honey has pulled away from the walls near the neck of the jar. (This is not due to a trick of the light.)

    Could a difference in temperature between the jars (warmish) and the honey (probably room temperature after a day's settling), have caused the frosting? (Although it's not happened before.)

    Kitta

    IMG_4836.jpg IMG_4839.jpg

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    Senior Member fatshark's Avatar
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    Hi Kitta

    I always warm both - the honey and the jar. I think a lot of frosting is tiny bubbles rising through the cooling (hardening) honey, perhaps also pulling away from the jar as well.

    After my soft set, er, sets I rewarm it thoroughly to mid-30's C (well below melting, but enough to get it moving) and then run it into warmed jars. At this temperature it is easier to jar and I've seen little if any frosting.

    I'm doing some more tonight

    Good luck

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    Senior Member Mellifera Crofter's Avatar
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    Thanks Fatshark. So, it's probably a temperature thing - but I'm not quite sure how you manage that. After you've softened your hard OSR honey, and mixed it in with runny honey to make a future soft-set honey - how do you heat it up again? Do you put the mixture in a settling tank (with a tap), and then in your warming cabinet to warm, and to settle? Is your cabinet big enough to take the tank?
    Kitta

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    Senior Member fatshark's Avatar
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    I think it's less of a temperature thing as a 'letting the bubbles rise before jarring it' situation. After seeding the melted OSR with ~10-20% fine-grain I mix and mix and mix over a few days until it's almost too viscous to stir. This is using a drill and a paddle ... I dream of a machine to do this. I do this in a bucket with a tap. This then goes into the honey warming cabinet at 35-37oC for ~12 hours, then I jar it.

    My honey warming cabinet isn't big enough, but it is big enough to take a couple of 30lb buckets with taps. I prefer to jar small batches (20- 60lb) more frequently rather than have large amounts of jarred honey sitting around. It's not efficient, but nothing much about my beekeeping is

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    Senior Member Mellifera Crofter's Avatar
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    I've allowed the honey to settle, Fatshark, for at least 24 hours in both batches (in the first batch probably even too long), and always scoop off the mousse for myself before jarring it! I need a new bucket with a tap. I'll get a smaller one to fit into the warming cabinet, and see if that makes a difference.
    Kitta

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    Senior Member Adam's Avatar
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    I have to admit that I don't get sufficient consistency with soft set - and a probably need a better mixing paddle which might help (I believe Abelo have the best one).
    Frosting is usually due to granulation - although your honey Kitta looks pretty OK really. What's it like of you open the offending jar ?

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam View Post
    probably need a better mixing paddle which might help (I believe Abelo have the best one).
    I would urge caution with this one: https://www.abelo.co.uk/shop/creamin...addle-creamer/
    If you touch the bottom of the bucket with it going at full tilt it introduces plastic shavings into the honey.

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    Senior Member fatshark's Avatar
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    Hi Kitta
    You definitely need a bucket with a tap ... I don't scoop off the 'mousse', but instead leave it and the last 3-4lb of honey in the bucket ready to seed the next batch.
    It's also worth letting the honey settle (and bubbles rise) in the jar in the cooling honey warming cabinet before labelling.

    The paddle I use is one of the old style corkscrew ones from Thorne's. It does introduce bubbles into the honey if you use it too vigorously.

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    Senior Member Mellifera Crofter's Avatar
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    I do have a bucket with a tap, Fatshark - but it's on its way out. I want to replace it with one that fits my warming cabinet (like you're doing). Leaving the mousse as seed is a good idea. My husband does the labelling and he did complain that he seems to be wasting his time. From now on I'll wait a while to see what's happening with the honey.

    Adam, I did open one of the jars on Sunday. The top was frosty, and whitish, and the honey pulled away from the jar as in the photo. So, since you asked, I went to take a photo of the opened jar - and both the frosting and the gap had disappeared! A couple of days in a warm kitchen with a Rayburn seems to have done the trick. Now I'm thinking that I might have cooled down the honey too rapidly after jarring. I stored it overnight in the car in an attempt to get it to set in time for the honey show. (I didn't win a prize!)

    Kitta

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    Senior Member Adam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jambo View Post
    I would urge caution with this one: https://www.abelo.co.uk/shop/creamin...addle-creamer/
    If you touch the bottom of the bucket with it going at full tilt it introduces plastic shavings into the honey.
    That's good information, thanks. I'll just have to spend 1000 on a creaming machine!

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