Determining the quality of honey
June 14, 2018
The quality of bee honey can be determined organoleptically and by other simple techniques. Great importance in determining the quality of honey has a viscosity – the resistance of honey to flow through the hole, expressed by conventional units (the ratio of the speed of flow of honey compared to water).
The viscosity of honey is determined by the content of water, colloids, sugars. Depending on their viscosity, honey varieties are usually divided into five groups. The first group includes honey with a high water content, for example, acacia, clover, etc., to the second – liquid honey: buckwheat, lime, rapeseed; to the third – thick honey: dandelion, sainfoin, etc.; to the fourth – sticky honey, for example, padevy; to the fifth group – studentoid – heather honey.
To determine the viscosity of honey, take a tablespoon of centrifugal honey (pumped out on a honey extractor)
The viscosity of honey is a sign of the maturity of honey. It was found that the viscosity of honey containing 25% water is 6 times less than honey containing 18% water. Honey from honeycombs taken from the hive should be pumped out immediately, as during storage and cooling its viscosity increases, and pumping it out on the honey extractor is difficult.
The specific gravity of honey (the weight of a cubic centimeter in grams) also depends on the water content in it. The more water in honey, the less its specific gravity. The specific gravity of honey varies also depending on the temperature
Under laboratory conditions, the specific gravity of honey is determined as follows: one part by weight of honey is dissolved in two parts of water. This solution is filled with pycnometers (special cones), they are kept in water at a temperature of 15 њ C for two hours, after which they are weighed (it is possible on ordinary household scales). The ratio of the weight of the honey solution (after subtracting the weight of the empty pycnometer) to the weight of water gives the specific gravity of the honey solution.
When determining the water content of honey, take a 1 liter jar, weigh and pour a kilogram of water into it, note the water level in the jar. Then the water is poured, the jar is dried and honey is poured into it until the same mark, again weighed. Knowing the pure weight of honey (minus dishes), its water content is found in table 2. Honey must be poured into the jar through the funnel carefully to prevent the formation of bubbles in it.
Crystallization (sugaring) of honey is a natural process that does not affect its quality. During crystallization, honey from a syrupy state passes into a candied state. Bee honey is a supersaturated solution of glucose, the crystals of which precipitate, and the levulose remains in solution and, as it were, envelops the crystals. Crystallization starts from the surface of honey when the water of the supersaturated solution evaporates. The loss of glucose crystals is explained by the fact that the specific gravity of glucose is 1.56, i. e., heavier than honey.
There are three types of crystallization of honey: coarse (crystals of more than 0.5 mm), fine-grained (less than 0.5 mm) and salicy (crystals are not distinguishable by the simple eye), when honey looks like bacon, butter. As the temperature decreases, the crystallization of honey slows down, viscosity increases: at 14 њ C, crystallization occurs rapidly, at 27-32 њ C honey does not crystallize, at 40 њ C the crystals begin to dissolve. At rest, the crystallization of honey slows down. These regularities make it possible to control the crystallization process.
Sugar of honey is accelerated at increased glucose content. Some honeydew honey quickly crystallize due to the presence of mesesitosis (trisaccharide) in them. Accelerated crystallization of honey is also an increased content of sucrose. The content of honey of levulose, colloids, dextrins makes honey more dense, sticky and slows down crystallization. Not all kinds of honey crystallize equally fast. So, acacia, sage, padevy difficult to crystallize; honey mustard, rape, rapeseed, esparchet, sedge, sunflower, alfalfa, on the contrary, crystallize quickly. Crystallization of honey in honeycombs can lead to the death of bees, since they can not use it.
Blending – blending several varieties of honey to improve the color, viscosity, taste qualities of low-grade honey. For example, spray honey in liquid form is watery transparent, when mixed with a certain amount of honey of amber or yellow color, a honey kind is obtained that satisfies the tastes of consumers.
To clover honey with a weak (tender) aroma and taste, add lime Far Eastern or lime Ufa, which are excellent enhancers of flavor, taste and viscosity.
To obtain honey with the right water content, two kinds of honey are mixed: one with high water content, the other with low water content, i. e. with excessive viscosity. Blending should be done with great care, since sometimes even a small amount of poor quality honey (for example, tobacco, containing essential oils, giving honey unpleasant aroma and taste) can spoil large quantities of high-grade honey. When blending honey, you should always first mix a small amount of low-grade variety with an improver, remembering that “a fly in the ointment spoils a barrel of honey.”
Determining the quality of honey