Honey processing involves the removal of wax and any other foreign materials from honey.
- These can be either electrically or manually driven machines which operate on the principle of centrifugal force.
- Extractors vary in size ranging from small two- frame units to big ones holding up to 85 frames.
- Manual extractors are equipped with either a hand crank or a bicycle chain while the electrical ones are motor driven.
Simple Straining Method:
- This method is suitable for freshly harvested honey.
- Uncap (remove the thin wax layer that seals the honey cells) the honey and allow it to pass through a straining cloth or net into a clean and dry suitable container.
- Folded the straining net (nylon mostly) once, to form two layers and tie over the mouth of the container.
- Use a wide mouth container to collect the strained honey
- Allow the liquid honey to settle overnight.
- Remove the scum (cream) from the surface of the honey using a spoon before the honey is packed.
Water Bath Method:
- This is also referred to as batch processing. This method is suitable for semi-processed honey which has been stored for some time and possibly crystallised.
- Honey is first heated in a water-bath (indirect heating), up to about 45°C - 50°C.
- Honey is heated to facilitate both straining and fast handling, secondly, to destroy yeast that may be present and may cause fermentation particularly if the moisture content is above 17%.
- The indirect heating method involves the use of two ‘sufurias’; the smaller one containing honey is placed inside a bigger one containing some water and a piece of wood placed at the bottom so that the smaller one does not touch the bottom of the bigger sufuria.
- The honey that is being warmed must be stirred to distribute the heat evenly.
- A straining cloth is then folded twice (forms four layers) and firmly tied onto a clean, dry suitable container as in the case of simple straining method above.
- Once all the warm honey has passed through the cloth, cover the bucket with a lid, and allow it to settle for a minimum of 3 days to allow the scum to collect at the top of the strained honey.
- It is used for large quantities of honey.
- In this method, honey is made to flow through a series of sieves of various sizes.
- The sieves are arranged in a concentric form, the finest mesh being on the outside and coarser on the inside.
- The semi-refined honey is heated to 45-50°C in a sump tank and then flows by gravity through the sieves usually referred to as strainers; into a settling tank and is left there for at least 3 days.
- The scum collects on top of the strained honey, it is then removed and the honey packed.
- Honey is forced out of the comb by pressing it out using a honey press.
- This should be done as soon as possible after harvesting.
- After pressing out the honey, it is then warmed using a water-bath and strained.
- Honey from different sources will have different characteristics.
- In order to bring uniformity, different honeys have to be blended.
- This involves mixing the honeys during processing so that the final product becomes homogenous and have the same physical and chemical properties.
Honey extraction using the centrifuge
- This method is used to extract honey from combs without the destroying of the combs
- It use especially where honey has been produced using the langstroth hives
- Some extractors can be used to with combs from the KTBH and even from the log hives