It may seem intuitive to assume that crystallized honey is spoiled or poor quality, but this isn’t the case at all. Crystallization happens naturally over time to pure, raw honey and actually helps preserve the nutrients and quality. Additionally, you may find that crystallized honey is easier to spread and richer in flavor.
The Chemistry of Honey Crystals
The “why” behind the crystallization of honey is simple chemistry. Usually, honey contains at least 70% carbohydrates and less than 20% water. This is more sugar than can naturally remain dissolved and over time, crystals begin to form. Some honey crystals are fine and smooth while others are large and gritty. This is largely due to the proportion of the two main types of sugars found in honey, fructose and glucose. While fructose tends to remain dissolved, glucose has a much lower solubility. The higher proportion of glucose honey contains, the more quickly it will crystalize. More rapidly crystallized honey contains finer, smoother crystals. In fact, creamed honey is honey that has been crystallized so rapidly, that the minuscule crystals create a smooth, creamy texture.
You can easily de-crystallize honey on a stovetop using the following steps:
Make sure your honey is in a glass jar or jars (not plastic). Fill a pot with water that comes to ½ to ⅔ up the sides of the jars.
Place honey jars (sans lids) in pot and bring water to a hot but not boiling temperature.
Gently stir honey every few minutes to help break up crystals. Be careful not to splash any hot water into honey jars.
Remove jars from heat when honey is once again smooth and runny.
Tightly seal jars and store in a cool, dry place.
How to Keep Honey From Crystallizing
Remember, crystallized honey happens naturally over time. Some steps, however, can be taken to minimize or delay crystallization.
Maintain steady heat (104°-140°F) during honey bottling.
Provide a quick, mild heat treatment (140°-160°F) to dissolve any crystals and expel air bubbles that could initiate crystallization.
Store honey in proper containers. Air-tight, water safe stainless steel drums are recommended.
Store honey in a cool (50°-70°F), dry location. Storage temperatures above 70°F will compromise the quality and nutrients of the honey over time. Refrigerated storage will quickly crystallize honey and should be avoided.
Honey Heating Blankets
An effective solution to minimizing crystallization during the honey manufacturing process is utilizing a heating blanket. The Powerblanket Bee Blanket is ideal because it keeps honey at hive temperatures and prevents loss of nutrients or burning from overheating. If you’re in the business of honey, consider adding a Bee Blanket or other method of temperature control to your manufacturing process. While crystallization can’t necessarily be avoided, a Bee Blanket can help keep your honey at the ideal, smooth viscosity.
The Little Blanket that Could: Powerblanket Bucket Heaters
What can you put in a five-gallon bucket? Five gallon buckets can house everything from soap oils to baseballs for a little league practice. If your bucket stores temperature-sensitive products, a Powerblanket 5 Gallon Bucket Heater could very well be your new favorite accessory. Bucket heaters and pail blankets are excellent solutions for freeze protection, improved viscosity, and general warming.
Actual Amazon Reviews
Consumers use the Powerblanket Bucket Heater for a variety of applications. This is a versatile, safe, and easy heating solutions for buckets and pails.
Warming Water for a Greenhouse
“I actually use this for a very unusual purpose. I raise bonsai, and have to winter some of them in a small vinyl greenhouse. The greenhouse naturally maintains a temperature only about 4 degrees above the outside temp. So far we’ve had a very cold season, and its only January!
Finding a safe, inexpensive way to keep the temp in the greenhouse above freezing, has been a challenge. It’s a very humid environment, so electronics have to be sealed. Gas or propane is not good either. I found this, and to put it around a sealed 5gal pail of water. The heated bucket consistently puts off enough heat that I think my trees my survive the winter. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s the best I’ve found short of building a serious greenhouse.”
“Use this on my auto detailing, nice to put hands in warm water when cold out.”
“Love this thing!!! This is for warming my soaping oils, and it’s marvelous. I have it wrapped around my buckets and at around $100 it’s way more cost effective than using the water heated tanks (which are like $800). More of these are in my future.”
Another customer said, “I use this for making soap. My recipe has a large amount of hard betters and I would have to reheat the entire bucket a small pot at a time and mix it all back in to make the oils ready to soap with. Now all I do is plug this in and wait a few hours, while I can do other things, and my oils are ready to go! I love this thing, and will probably buy more. I wrapped it around a 5 gallon bucket I reused from some bulk oil I bought.”
Thawing Frozen Buckets
“This thing is exactly what I have been looking for. My Powerblanket heats up to a perfect temp, and I can go about my day without worrying the shop is going to burn to the ground while leaving the jugs unattended. If you need to thaw a bucket and thaw it fast without loss from evaporation this heater is THE ONE!”
Improving Honey Viscosity
One customer reported, “Really worked great on my bucket of granulated honey. Just enough heat to clarify it in 6-8 hours. this blanket is not hotter than hot water. The honey ends up warm not hot. Even better than a light bulb for even heating.”
Another said, “I’m just a small amateur beekeeper looking for a good way to warm my 5-gallon pails of honey safely and efficiently. So when I spotted the BeeBlanket on Amazon it looked like something that might work well for me.
My order arrived quickly (thanks Amazon Prime) and after a quick inspection, I put it to use. After 24 hours my honey went from 62°F to a nice 104°F in a room with an ambient temperature of roughly 68°F throughout the process. Also, I placed my cold pail on a chunk of ridgid foam insulation to minimize heat transfer from the cold floor.
Admittedly I haven’t warmed a stone-cold pail of crystallized honey with it, that will be later. Warming and re-liquefying a 5-gallon pail of honey would be a multi-day project in my estimation. Slow and steady like the bees…
So far I’m impressed with the BeeBlanket and it’s working good for my purposes. 104° honey is easy to strain and bottle plus it’s safe for the honey! Using a 120 watt insulated blanket seems efficient to me and it worked quite well. After running my BeeBlanket for a full 24 hours on a cool bucket of honey my Kill-A-Watt meter gave me a daily cost of 0.08/day for an operating cost. (Power rate here is 0.102/kh) Seems like that’s a pretty reasonable way to warm 5 gallons of honey. I’m sold on this!”
“These Powerblankets have been exactly what we needed to heat up the buckets of paint we have stored in the garage. We’re working on a remodeling project right now that’s taken longer than expected and some of the finish work, like painting, is going into the winter months. We’re not in a position where the buckets of paint can stay inside all the time when not being used, so they frequently go back outside in the garage and into the cold. Rather than having to wait hours for the paint to warm up on its own and thin to a workable temperature each time we bring some in, we just put one of these Powerblankets around the bucket and it works like an electric blanket or heating pad, heating the paint. Works great!”
Warming and Protecting Coconut Oil
“Whether you have a camp, cold storage or outdoor kitchen, this warming blanket is ideal for keeping coconut oil ready to use. My brother belongs to an organization that sponsors dinners throughout the year. This year many of them have been scheduled for the chillier weather in the fall and winter. He donates the oil. First outing they did not account for the time necessary to to heat the oil leading to delays and grumbling. This blanket has remedied that. It is easy to use. the buckle and strap system ensures a snug fit. The thermostat is preset so the oil is heated without getting too hot. Simply position, plug in and use. I would prefer a power button and adjustable thermostat but those niceties are not essential to the usefulness of this blanket. it can be used on any variety of items that solidify when cold. We are completely pleased with its quality and performance.”
The Real Cost Savings
Perhaps you’re thinking: how much is it going to cost me to wrap my buckets in a heating solution? It will cost you much less in the long run. If you use band heaters or crank up the ambient temperature around your buckets and pails, you will lose a lot of energy to inefficiency. With Powerblanket bucket and pail heaters, you get an even distribution of heat without sacrificing efficiency.
Powerblanket bucket heaters are more efficient than the traditional band heater, without running the risk of overheating or burning the product in your bucket. What’s more, with the Powerblanket solution, you have the ease of use that comes with a thermostatic controller. With our Pro Series heaters, the temperature adjusts from ambient up to 145° F. And with the RR Series, you can adjust the heat anywhere from ambient to 100° F. The Powerblanket solution offers both versatility and flexibility.
Features of Powerblanket Bucket Heaters:
The warmers are easy to install and remove.
The full wrap-around design ensures equal heat distribution and proper insulation.
The design prevents product waste to temperature-sensitive materials by maintaining consistent storage temperatures.
Powerblanket® GreenHeat™ Technology uses less energy and saves you money in the long run.
Whether you’re storing paint, water, food, or industrial supplies in buckets, those buckets will need to be protected from the cold. Of course, you can address this problem by keeping your product in a heated warehouse, but if the warehouse is large and you are storing a lot of product, it’s going to cost a lot to keep the temperature of the ambient air high enough that your buckets don’t drop below their ideal range.
Honey is full of enzymes that are essential to our health. Not only that, but honey is also full of antioxidants and flavonoids. However, enzymes, antioxidants, and flavonoid content in honey are all dependent on temperature. In other words, these nutrients are temperature sensitive. Improperly heating honey will destroy the nutrient density.
The most important aspect of honey processing is maintaining quality. Carefully control the heating honey process. In order to liquefy honey, it is best to heat it at 35-40°C (95-104°F). The temperature should not go beyond 40°C (104°F) to avoid overheating. Doing so causes honey to become an extremely tacky glue-like substance that is difficult to digest. So the moral of the story is this: to maintain the amazing qualities of honey, you have to keep it at the ideal temperature.
Heating honey sounds easy, but heating without burning it is trickier that it sounds. Liquefying and straining honey requires heat. Heat removes crystallization in natural honey, and reduces the viscosity. Both liquefying and straining make a products to clean and process as creamed honey, or filled into a jar.
To keep the nutrients in honey, and avoid burning or damaging, heat honey slowly over a longer period of time using a drum heater with even heat distribution.
Overheating honey for any period of time will reduce its quality by destroying its enzymes, loss the delicate flavor, aroma and darkening the honey color. Heating must be done with care, if the nutritional value of the honey is not to be spoiled.
This type of honey is best described as honey “as it exists in the beehive”
Raw honey is directly extracted from the honeycombs of the hive and then poured over a mesh or nylon cloth to separate the honey from impurities like beeswax and dead bees
Once strained, raw honey is bottled and ready to be enjoyed.
Regular honey involves several more steps before it is bottled — such as pasteurization and filtration
Pasteurization destroys the yeast found in honey by applying high heat–extending the shelf life and making it smoother
Also, filtration further removes impurities like debris and air bubbles so that the honey stays as a clear liquid for longer.
Some commercial honeys are additionally processed with ultrafiltration. This process further refines it to make it more transparent and smooth, but this can remove beneficial nutrients like pollen, enzymes and antioxidants.
Honey Warming Sources
Look for a heating source that:
Is not a band heater. Slow heat is the safest way to heat your honey, so avoid using a band heater or an uncontrollable heating source such as an open flame.
Heats over a long period of time, and safely maintains the temperature preferred by customers–between ambient and 100°F.
Provides an even distribution of heat from top to bottom of the barrel, which avoids cold and hot spots and lets you know that your barrel of honey without darkening or burning.
Also, look for a product that will liquefy within 12 hours, even if it doesn’t completely liquefy for 24 hours.
The Bee Blanket
The Bee Blanket was design specifically for heating honey properly. When you employ other heating solutions to heat honey, you run the risk of overheating, and overheating is no small problem. Honey that’s been overheated will crystalize faster and is harder to work with. But ease of use is not the only concern. In fact, the biggest concern with heating your honey past its ideal temperature is the negative effects it has on the nutritional value of the honey.
The Bee Blanket honey heater is an easy-to-install heating solution for honey producers and bottlers. With this insulated vinyl heat blanket, you can heat your honey to the ideal temperature without worrying about overheating.
Beekeepers and honey producers understand that maintaining proper viscosity is important for bottling and working with honey. But, as already mentioned, heating honey through traditional methods will cause you to lose valuable nutrients. Now, here’s where the Bee Blanket comes in.
The difference with the Powerblanket Bee Blanket heating solution is that it maintains the same temperature as a hive. With low-level internal thermostats, you can apply the Bee Blanket and leave it be. There’s no need to worry about overheating your honey, because the Bee Blanket will never get too hot.
Ben Zeller, who has been beekeeping for over a decade, said, “Before, it was easier for the honey to go dark and it took much longer to get it to flow.”He explained, “I use the blankets as a heater to decrystallize the honey. After it’s fluid, we keep it consistently warmed at 95°F using the Bee Blankets.”
Standout Features of Bee Blanket
Cinch straps to secure tight fit
Blanket temperature goes from ambient to 90°-110°F
One heat zone
Highly efficient design saves time and energy
Works on both poly and steel buckets/pails
Prevent overheating your honey and help minimize crystallization
Keeps your honey at hive temperatures so you don’t lose nutrients
All models are certified by ETL to UL & CSA safety standards
For more information, call Powerblanket at 855.376.0491 or email us at [email protected]