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Author Topic: Can you thicken thin honey?  (Read 3516 times)

Offline TNBeeLady

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Can you thicken thin honey?
« on: August 09, 2013, 10:11:43 AM »
I'm a new beekeeper, and I volunteered to help a local beekeeper rob & extract their honey.  It was a great experience, and I definitely learned a lot!  But one question I have is about the amount of uncapped honey that they harvested.  They said their rule of thumb is rob no more than 10% uncapped.  It seemed more than 10% uncapped to me, and some of the honey I brought home from them is very thin.  We bottled as we extracted, so some is thick.  My question is, can I leave the thin honey open to air & thicken it?  Thanks!

Offline Dr. Cricket

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Re: Can you thicken thin honey?
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2013, 10:29:05 AM »
You can, but it's not easy. You can use a refractometer to measure the water content and reduce the water by bubbling dry air through the honey. It does require some special equipment.

Offline TNBeeLady

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Re: Can you thicken thin honey?
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2013, 10:54:15 AM »
I brought home 8 quarts total.  4 thick & 4 thin.  We have been eating the thin first cause I was afraid it would spoil.  Maybe I'll just eat fast  :)

Offline danno

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Re: Can you thicken thin honey?
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2013, 11:02:51 AM »
the whole idea of the 10% rule is to batch it.   90% capped mixed with 10% uncapped.  If you bottles as you went some bottles will be straight uncapped.  Doesn't mean it will ferment but its a good chance it will.   What I like to do is give the uncapped frames a shake.  If nector shakes out it has to much moisture.   I then start watching how many of these I at to the batch.    I find that about 50% of those frames wont shake out so they are really close. I batch in a 700lb  jacketed tank so it all get mixed

Offline millipede

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Re: Can you thicken thin honey?
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2013, 11:09:14 AM »
Honey is hygroscopic, meaning is pulls in moisture form the air around it. If you leave uncured honey open to the air, you can actually increase the moisture content and possibility of it spoiling unless you have a very, very dry atmosphere. That said I do have a friend that runs a special dry room for just that purpose where he cures his honey in large shallow pans when it is too runny. He keeps it so dry that I have seen some honey dry nearly completely out when left in there.

Offline TNBeeLady

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Re: Can you thicken thin honey?
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2013, 11:41:00 AM »
So airtight is my best bet for it not spoiling.  How long, approximately, do you think I can keep it before it spoils?

Offline 10framer

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Re: Can you thicken thin honey?
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2013, 11:46:30 AM »
i pulled a fully capped frame last week just to have a little and it's the thinnest honey i've ever seen.  light amber (maybe a little lighter than clover) and very sweet.  it's not privet and it's not clover.  i'm guessing persimmon but i don't know.  it's just a little over a quart so i'm not going to worry about it but it's odd.

Offline TNBeeLady

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Re: Can you thicken thin honey?
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2013, 11:49:44 AM »
10framer, maybe that's what this is, too.  Because it's very light & sweeter than the thicker honey.

Offline 10framer

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Re: Can you thicken thin honey?
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2013, 11:58:47 AM »
is it sweet with a "perfume-ish" taste.  sorry that's the only way i can describe it.  if so, that's probably privet.  it's usually thin too but not like what i pulled. 

Offline TNBeeLady

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Re: Can you thicken thin honey?
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2013, 12:45:19 PM »
I just went & did a taste test!  No, it really doesn't strike me as tasting that way, just extremely sweet. 

Offline 10framer

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Re: Can you thicken thin honey?
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2013, 12:48:37 PM »
there's no missing privet.  a lot of people don't like it and describe it as bitter.  i don't pick up on the bitter but it has a taste that almost matches the smell of the blooms.  i like darker honeys but i don't hate privet.  this year it saved my bacon, the clover and poplar flows got chilled/rained out.

Offline MsCarol

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Re: Can you thicken thin honey?
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2013, 07:36:32 PM »
Privet, eh??

That is the one spring bloomer that I barely tolerate. I hope the honey tastes better then the sickly sweet smell because we have a lot of privet. Otherwise my bees will be getting it back.

Yes, I am about 100 miles or so north of you 10Framer. Just over the AL line in TN.

I am learning something.....I didn't think one was supposed to rob until the honey was capped. I have been waiting.....not so patiently....for my big hive to cap a couple frames just so I have a few pounds to share as gifts to those that have helped me out this year.

Wonder if one could dry some of the honey down in an Excalibur dehydrator???

Right now I am drying......a duckling.

Offline hiram.ga.bee.man

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Re: Can you thicken thin honey?
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2013, 10:53:10 PM »
Even when applying the ten percent rule it is a good idea to run a dehumidifier in the room your supers are stored the day prior to extraction.
You ever notice that prices are inflating, but wages are deflating?

Offline 10framer

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Re: Can you thicken thin honey?
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2013, 01:03:24 AM »
Privet, eh??

That is the one spring bloomer that I barely tolerate. I hope the honey tastes better then the sickly sweet smell because we have a lot of privet. Otherwise my bees will be getting it back.

Yes, I am about 100 miles or so north of you 10Framer. Just over the AL line in TN.

I am learning something.....I didn't think one was supposed to rob until the honey was capped. I have been waiting.....not so patiently....for my big hive to cap a couple frames just so I have a few pounds to share as gifts to those that have helped me out this year.

Wonder if one could dry some of the honey down in an Excalibur dehydrator???

Right now I am drying......a duckling.

this thread was on my mind today and i was wondering about using an incubator. 

tastes kind of like it smells.  you either love it or hate it usually.
i was just happy to not have to feed bees in june.  i was getting ready to feed some about 3 weeks ago and cotton came on just in time. 
when do yall get your first frost up there?

Offline Finski

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Re: Can you thicken thin honey?
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2013, 01:06:45 AM »
.
10% uncapped honey should be dry enough.
No extra tricks are not needed. We say here 20%.
.
Language barrier NOT included

Online Jim 134

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Re: Can you thicken thin honey?
« Reply #15 on: August 10, 2013, 09:26:51 AM »
You can, but it's not easy. You can use a refractometer to measure the water content and reduce the water by bubbling dry air through the honey. It does require some special equipment.
Dr. Cricket......

Can you give me some resources for this statement.




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Offline sc-bee

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Re: Can you thicken thin honey?
« Reply #16 on: August 10, 2013, 09:37:14 AM »
If I threw my privet away I guess I would have to dump all my honey. It is one of my major contributors along with tulip popular and blackberry.
John 3:16

Offline 10framer

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Re: Can you thicken thin honey?
« Reply #17 on: August 10, 2013, 10:44:10 AM »
sc i have 44 acres and it's covered in blackberries and i never saw more than a couple of bees working it.  a lot of people tell me they get a good flow from it.  could have been another the weather.  what does the honey look and taste like?
yeah, i've learned to like privet over the years.  it was by far the best flow this spring and i have clover and poplars all around me.  sumac is finally coming on now, hopefully it will be a serious flow.

Offline MsCarol

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Re: Can you thicken thin honey?
« Reply #18 on: August 10, 2013, 10:52:32 AM »

[/quote]
 
when do yall get your first frost up there?
[/quote]

In a "Normal" year, First killing frost is around October 20, sometimes much later. Then we often get a gorgeous couple more of weeks of growing temps.

BUT all bets are off this year. It has been far from "normal"

Offline sc-bee

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Re: Can you thicken thin honey?
« Reply #19 on: August 10, 2013, 11:55:42 AM »
what does the honey look and taste like?................  sumac is finally coming on now, hopefully it will be a serious flow.

Our season is super short lasting April and May. My primary sources are chinaberry, privet, wild cherry, tulip popular and blackberry. Throw in a little aster and vetch along the way. Holly if you are in a good bottom area. I have no flow that builds any significant amount. Some folks put their bees on late cotton but I have not pursued that route. I spoke with a farmer about his cotton and he was eager to bring my bees. He then said we are spraying next week and that changed my mine. The cotton was 25 miles from home and I didn't want to run up and down the road wondering when and what he was spraying.

I don't get enough of any particular bloom to separate anything. It all goes to one big pot and as you say varies from year to year. My honey is usually on the dark side and is not on the super sweet side and provides a robust kick that is left on the palate at the end. This year was odd and my honey is the lightest I have ever pulled (9 seasons). It is also sweeter than usual. Not typical for the area.
John 3:16

Offline 10framer

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Re: Can you thicken thin honey?
« Reply #20 on: August 11, 2013, 12:29:56 AM »
that is a short season.  i started keeping bees in alabama in the late 70's and back then the whole world wasn't planted pines.  march through june and then it was over except for kudzu and other small producers.
i'm about a year into keeping bees in middle georgia and the 75 mile ride changes a lot.  i go out and stare at my sumac every day waiting for the buds to open.  it's a different variety than what i'm used to so i have no idea if it's just going to be another flop or if i'm going to need to super in the next week or so. 
i'd say that tulip poplar and privet are probably the biggest nectar sources in most of the south east excluding coastal areas.  they say sourwood is a big producer in certain mountain areas but i don't know if it compares to poplar.
overall i've had very light honey this year (and very little of it) and it hasn't all been privet.  i think i found an outyard right off the flint river on a cattle farm (should mean clover).  i'll be interested to see how that goes next year.

 

anything