Keeping Your Honey – Part 1 Avoiding Spoilage
Strange as it may seem, you need to treat honey direct from the hive carefully to ensure it will keep well. Keeping your honey – part 1 helps you understand the reasons for this.
Because honey is composed primarily of sugars and water, it will therefore degrade over time if not completely capped when harvested. Uncapped honey will still have too high a percentage of moisture to keep well. (The bees know this which is why they haven’t capped it!) Honey is also hydroscopic (this means it will absorb moisture) therefore you must keep your honey in airtight containers.
It is essential that the moisture content is below 18%. Check this accurately with a refractometer. Moisture allows the development of micro-organisms such as yeast that start fermentation.
The moisture content can be removed by a special moisture removing machine. Alternatively, you can leave the honey uncovered in a sealed room with a dehumidifier.
Pasturising is a process to remove the micro-organisms by heating the honey to 78°C then cooling. Some honey producers use this process even though the honey loses part of its nutritional qualities as a result.