Honey is derived from Nectar whose main ingredient is disaccharide Sucrose. The honey bee breaks this sugar down into two simple sugars: glucose and fructose.
“Rippened Honey” is the nectar that has been reduced to 16-19% water content and capped. If you have some frames that are a mixture of capped and uncapped cells of honey/nectar you may leave these in a room with a dehumidifier over the period of several days to reduce the water content.
Pasteurization of honey is accomplished by ‘flashing’ the honey to 170 degrees for a few seconds or heating it to 145 degrees for 30 minutes. This process dissolves any crystals in the honey and affects yeast cells, thus reducing the possibility of fermentation of the honey.\
Beekeepers strain and filter honey to remove all or part of the fine particles, pollen grains, air bubbles, or other materials normally evident in a honey suspension. Ultrafiltration involves adding water to honey and filtering it under high pressure at the molecular level, then removing the water.
Long term storage of honey is best in a cool, dry area in containers that are tightly sealed. The color or flavor may be altered over time but will remain safe. It may also be frozen, but this accellerates the crystalization process. If the honey in dry or frozen storage becomes crystallized, place the container in a warm water bath and stir until the crystals dessolve.
Several criteria are used by judges to determine the quality of the honey.
- Container Appearance
- Density (water content is not above 18.6% or below 16%). A refractometer is used when measuring water content, and sometimes a pfund scale to measure polarized light.
- Freedom from crytals.
- Cleanliness and freedom from foam.
- Flavor, which becomes the most controversial judging criteria. The judge cannot let preferences for certain flavors prejudice the case. Only honey that tastes alcoholic (fermented) or burned can be marked down.
- Accuracy of filling.
- Floral Source.