Honey Processing

Honey processing involves the removal of wax and any other foreign materials from honey.  

Honey extractors

  • 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.

 

Hand crank manual extractor

Hand crank manual extractor

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. 

 

Simple straining method

Simple straining method

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.  

water-bath-method1

Honey straining through a cloth

Honey straining through a cloth

Bulk Processing:

  • 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.

bulk-processing1

bulk_procesising_2

Pressing Method:

  • 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 Blending

  • 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