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.
The most important aspect of honey processing is maintaining quality. The heating process needs to be carefully controlled and regulated. 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.
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.
Look for a heating source that:
- Is not a band heater. Since slow heat is the safest way to heat your honey, you want to avoid using a band heater or an uncontrollable heating source such as an open flame.
- Heats over a long period of time, and safely maintain the temperature preferred by customers, between ambient and 150°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.