Creamed Honey

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My first extraction of honey, 6 weeks ago, has gone from runny to quite a thick consistency, even in this heat, sitting in its bucket. I noticed that a jar of it I was using a few weeks ago, was starting to look like it was going 'creamed'. Which I was quite happy about, as I want to cream some anyway and was thinking I would need to buy a starter. So I put that jar away.

I have just checked that jar today, and it has set well, it now appears to be creamed honey, which I am pleased about!

My question is, is there a reason that it has done this by itself? I realise that honey does cyrstalise, but this has been quite fast and in warm weather... Is it the content, eg clover or such like, which is more prone to going that way.
 
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My understanding is that the crystallisation rate is affected by the relative amounts of fructose, glucose, and moisture. It will happen faster when there are microscopic particles like pollens as well. As Trevor suggested, some floral types tend to have characteristics that favour self-crystallisation, and some don't.

NickWallingford

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Yes, indeed. Those names for sugars have always confused me. I guess I've picked up the dextrose/levulose mostly from American literature - and the fact that the left and right made sense to me. And yes, that origin of 'inverted'. And isn't there an enzyme involved in the breakdown of sucrose (complex sugar) to the more simple sugars. Yes, I remember it as I write - inverstase?
 

Dave Black

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Yes, indeed. Those names for sugars have always confused me. I guess I've picked up the dextrose/levulose mostly from American literature - and the fact that the left and right made sense to me. And yes, that origin of 'inverted'. And isn't there an enzyme involved in the breakdown of sucrose (complex sugar) to the more simple sugars. Yes, I remember it as I write - inverstase?
Several enzymes. From Bees and plants (or yeast) - invertase mostly. From animals - sucrase, but there are others. They break different bonds in the molecule. The way beekeepers do it is by acid hydrolysis, using an organic acid like citric or acetic. Heat will do it too, but not well. Industrial chemists use different acids.
 
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Hamilton
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@NickWallingford Good Grief!

…you mentioned the ‘L’ word. And the ‘D’word.

People fructose and glucose are the same compounds chemically, but the elements are arranged differently in space. They are ‘optical isomers’.

Sorry but that isn't quite right. Fructose and glucose have the same chemical formula, so they are composed of the same number and types of atoms, but they are connected to one another differently. That makes them structural isomers. Optical isomerism is strictly another name for enantiomerism, not a general term for isomers which have opposite specific optical rotations
 
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Thanks @Jacob . I never got to 'enantiomerism', my chemistry was a bit behind my biology, so I'll have to look that up. I wonder, does that explain why two such similar molecules have such different solubility?

No worries. Enantiomers are essentially molecules that are 'mirror images' of one another. It seems like a trivial difference, but they can have very different properties. The most famous example is thalidomide. But that's getting a bit off-topic.

Solubility can be a pretty difficult thing to rationalise, but it's generally down how strongly the solvent can interact with the solute. For water and sugar, that comes down to how easily the water can 'feel' all the -OH groups on the sugar molecules.
 
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I understand the difference between granulated and creamed honey but I have given up trying to explain the difference to people and I just call all granulated honey ,creamed.
Generally speaking the faster a honey crystallises the finer the crystals will be and when honey granulates slowly like when we used to save frames of manuka honey to feed the hives you can end up with some very big crystals. This was quite hard for the bees to deal with and this was considered a good thing as they couldn't consume it too fast. Honey was also occasionally open fed to the bees in 40 pound tins. These were hard granulated and were simply cut open and left in the middle of an apiary where the bees would collect just enough to stay alive and if the flow improved some of the honey was often left in the tins and could be taken home again for another day. Please note this is not an acceptable practice because of the risk of AFB and was not practised in my time and I have been beekeeping full-time for nearly 50 years.
It used to be believed by many of the general public that honey was granulated by adding things like icing sugar or even I was assured by one person by the addition of lard.
Personally I like either comb honey, or cold, hard granulated honey straight out of the fridge. It's hard to deal with but cold honey like frozen chocolate just taste better.
 
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, or cold, hard granulated honey straight out of the fridge. It's hard to deal with but cold honey like frozen chocolate just taste better.
Oh dear, first time I have to disagree with you there @John B , love my chocolate, any kind, but it's best when it's soft and just about a bit gooey, same for honey, straight of the hive or from the filter and still a bit warm.....would crawl over broken glass to get either of them two sugar fixes. But do agree about some people thinking there's 'something' added to the creamed honey to make it so smooth, I heard icing sugar too and not lard, but butter!
 

NickWallingford

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It used to be believed by many of the general public that honey was granulated by adding things like icing sugar or even I was assured by one person by the addition of lard.
That sure caused a memory for me, John. I went digging back through my files to find the first ever magazine article I wrote. It was for Mushroom magazine, an alternative mag published in the late 1970s. Titled "Icing Sugar and Other Myths" and it refers to people guessing that such as lard had been added to make creamed honey.
 

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Well after seeing that a jar that I put away a couple of months ago has set just like creamed honey, I decided to whip up the remains of the bucket it had come from, that has really crystalised. Will see how these jars come up after storage from todays whipping, certainly looks good and has good 'mouth' or whatever the wino's call it! creamed.JPG
 
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Glad to hear, I am not going mad! the first jar I put away, has done that. If it turns out the way it seems it will, I will be using that as a 'starter' in the future.
So if you use it as a starter at 5% mentioned above, can the resulting product then be used as the next starter? Like yogurt.. using the dregs to start the next batch.
 

NickWallingford

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So if you use it as a starter at 5% mentioned above, can the resulting product then be used as the next starter? Like yogurt.. using the dregs to start the next batch.
Well, not exactly the same, re: yogurt, but yes: any honey that has crystallized with a fine grain can be your 'starter', presuming it hasn't been abused: excessive heat or physical battering/grinding/beating...
 
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