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For Beginners: November
Ivor Davis, PhD, NDB
The honey harvest is an important product of your beekeeping. Deal with it carefully!
THIS YEAR generally has only have a small quantity of sugar beet sugar) into LONG TERM
honey (say less than 30 kg) fructose and glucose. These been a poor season for STORAGE
it is probably better bottled are simple sugars and arethe honey bee and the
straight away and stored in easily assimilated and used When honey has been
production of honey. The the jars. If the quantity is to produce energy. extracted from the supers it
long periods of dull and greater then honey is better should be filtered to remove Glucose oxidase catalyses
stored in bulk, eg, 15 kgwet weather have taken the bits of wax and otherthe breakdown of glucose in
food-grade plastic tubs. That debris and then allowed totheir toll and it is the presence of water to
way you can process the stand for about 24 hours in
predicted that most British honey at a later date by the produce hydrogen peroxide, a settling (or ripening) tank
honey will have been sold bucket. a powerful antiseptic. so that the air bubbles can
by the end of the year. WHAT IS HONEY? In addition, the constituents rise to the top. If your honey
of honey reflect those in the is tending to crystallise itHoney is a precious
Honey bees collect nectar may be necessary to keep it commodity and whether it nectar collected by the bees
is sold or given away as a and then reduce the and depend on where the warm during this process
present it should be amount of water to bees are located and what but not warmer than 30 °C.
prepared to retain its quality. somewhat less than 20% time of year the nectar is Once the air bubbles have
before storing it in sealed collected. Once honey is removed from risen the honey can be run
cells. However, the honeythe hive it starts to There is a range of out into a food grade plastic
bee also adds enzymes todeteriorate. As soon as the chemicals in nectar called tub. This should be filled to
the nectar that process thecappings are cut away it flavonoids that give the the brim to reduce the air
carbohydrates in it andstarts to absorb water and honey its distinctive flavour above the honey which
make them more useful tothe delicate flavours are and colour. Certain honeys might contain a high level
the colony. Glands in thedamaged by oxidisation. It such as heather honey have of water vapour. As honey
head of the bee produceis important to keep air a higher protein content absorbs water, this could
the enzymes diastase,away from honey whilst which makes it thixotropic lead to fermentation.
invertase and glucosepreparing it for the jar. If you (jelly-like).
oxidase (some books use The lid is then firmly fitted
different names for these Manuka honey from New to seal the tub. This honey
enzymes, but essentially Zealand has natural high should then be stored in a
these three are the main levels of antiseptic cool dry dark place. A cellar
ones). components derived from is ideal but unfortunately
Diastase converts complex the nectar. Research work is very few of us have one but
sugars and starches to being conducted at Cardiff find an area where the
simpler sugars. Invertase University to determine the temperature and humidityyel
w converts sucrose (the main relative medicinal qualities are low and do not varyo
C t
er constituent in cane and of a range of British honeys. much. Honey stored likea
gra this will last for years so
long as its water content is
The refractometer scale less than about 19%.
reading (the scale on the
right) indicates that this A USEFUL
honey sample contains
about 17% water, which is INSTRUMENT
acceptable It is not easy to assess the
water content of honey
Refractometers have come without using a scientific
down in price instrument. A honey
Bee Craft Digital November 2008 Page 5
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