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Easy Processing of Oil Seed Rape Honey

Contents:

bulletIntroduction
bulletEquipment Required
bulletHow Its Done

 

 

Oil Seed Rape honey one year after jarring

 

Introduction:

 

Oil Seed Rape (OSR) is a common crop in Britain these days and seems to fill the horizon in the Spring with it's bright almost luminescent flowers.  Many beekeepers have mixed feelings about OSR some say it is bland others welcome it as a huge source of nectar just nicely timed to build up your colonies.  

Against some opinion, blind tasting reveals that the public do like it in preference to many other honeys.  

 The REAL downside of OSR is:

bulletTaking two harvest a year, and whoa betide anyone who forgets that OSR harvest.  The honey will set so hard in the comb that not even the bees can use it. 
bulletThe same is true for OSR honey in the jar,  a truly spoon pending experience.

Honey is a mixture of surprise surprise - sugars,  and a feature of concentrated sugar solution is that is wants to crystallize and there is nothing the hobby beekeeper can do to stop it without affecting the taste.  Some honeys take a very long time and some are very fast such as OSR.   There are a few nectars such as Aecia that will remain as liquid honey, but they are the exception rather than the rule.

 

Equipment Required:

bulletLarge food grade container
bulletWarming Cabinet
bulletHoney duty mixing propeller 
bulletHigh power electric drill (500 Watts or more)
bulletPatience

 

Stainless Steel Mixing Propeller 

Available in the UK from Thorne's Beekeeping Equipment

www.thorne.co.uk

 

How Its Done:

Step 1   

Don't put it into a Jar !

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Store the filtered OSR honey in large containers,  I use a food grade plastic 25 litre (5.5 gallon) wine fermentation bucket.  This is quite heavy about 75lb so smaller a volume may suit you better. 

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This honey is going to set, so let it set on your terms...

 

Step 2

Wait - let it set

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Allow the honey to set absolutely solid , this may take between  3-8 weeks, don't be in a hurry.  

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Although now crystallized the actual grain size of the OSR crystals is very fine.  The problem is they lock together tightly like a jig saw to form this solid mass.   Now that the honey has fully crystallized it can not crystallizes any further.  

 

Step 3

Slowly warm the set honey  in a warming cabinet

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I Use an old fridge with a 60 watt light bulb in the bottom, a piece of wood prevents local heating of the honey and an hot water cylinder thermostat (these usually can be turned right down to around 30C), used in air stops the temperature from becoming to hot. 

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It should not need to be warmer than 35deg C, allow a couple of days.  If the quantity is smaller only 4-8 hours may be sufficient.  

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Do not get it liquid, just warm enough to get an agitator in and no softer

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If you get it liquid then a) you will degrade the taste and b) it will start to solidify again.

 

Step 4

Cream the honey using a powerful electric drill

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Using a rotary honey propeller stirrer (see above) aggressively mix the honey for at least five minutes  getting into every corner of the container.  Gradually all the solid will change to a perfect creamed consistency, take care not to whip in air as this will rise to form a froth when in the jar.   Tip: If you can use a drill that can rotate in reverse then use this direction. It is then much less likely to draw a vortex and suck in air.

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We have now pulled the individual crystals apart, they can not re-engage with each other to become a solid again.  

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Although at a microscopic level we still have a fully crystallized honey , the texture is that of double cream

 

Step 5

Bottle it !...

Now...you know how to do that don't you!

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