Main properties of honey

Main properties of honey

The color of honey depends to the greatest extent on what plants honey comes from. Thus, honey from white acacia, linden, sweet clover, alfalfa and clover is light in color, from almost white to pale yellowish and light-colored. The color of honey collected from sunflower is also light-colored. Honey from fruit trees has a yellowish-brown color. Buckwheat honey of dark color with a reddish tinge. The color of honeydew can be very diverse, both light and dark.

It should be emphasized that the color of honey is almost not related to its quality: both good (floral) and bad (padevye) honey can have a variety of colors.

The taste and smell of honey in assessing honey should be much more important than its color. Most flower honey have a very pleasant taste and aroma. At the same time, the taste and aroma of various honey is to a certain extent specific, depending on what plants it is from. Honeydew honey usually has a less pleasant taste and is almost devoid of a gentle, pleasant aroma, typical of floral honey. There is no uniform scale for an objective assessment of the taste and aroma of honey.

Maturation and water content of honey. The chemical composition of nectar collected by bees differs significantly from the chemical composition of honey. In nectar, usually much more than in honey, water, cane sugar is not inverted and almost no enzymes.

The process of processing nectar in honey begins with the moment of absorption of nectar by a bee and ends in a few days, during which the so-called maturation of honey occurs.

During the ripening process, the amount of water in honey decreases, the sugar cane is inversed, and honey bees are enriched with enzymes, protein and other substances. While the honey is not ripe, the bees do not print it.

Only sealed honey can be considered mature. However, in the sealed honey honey ripening processes continue, although much more


In practice, it is customary to consider mature honey that is suitable for pumping it from honeycombs. The indicator of such a maturity of honey is the beginning of printing it with bees at the top of the frame (sealing on 1 / 4-1 / 3 of the frame). The processes of ripening of such honey, especially with regard to the evaporation of water and the inversion of sugars, continue even after its evacuation.

At present, when honey serves not only as a food product, but also as a medical product, special attention should be given to the ripening of honey in the hive. It should be borne in mind that honey, which is not sealed with bees, is, in most cases, immature honey. It contains an increased percentage of water (more than 20-22%), and such honey can, after pumping, sour. In addition, in immature honey, there are significantly fewer enzymes and other protein substances that are of great importance in the use of honey as a medicinal product.

Therefore, honey should be pumped out sufficiently mature. Unripe honey is allowed to pump only in cases where the apiary does not have enough honeycombs. The exception is only heather honey, which should be pumped out unripe, even before sealing, since, being mature, it is pumped out with great difficulty and not completely. In cases of forced pumping of unripe honey, it is necessary to organize artificial ripening of honey outside the hive. To this end, honey is usually poured into tubs, which are placed in warm, clean, well-ventilated rooms. For more rapid evaporation of water from honey, dormer windows are opened in attics, resulting in a light draft. To avoid attracting bees and other insects, the dormer windows must be tightened with nets or gauze. The same nets or gauze should be closed and tubs,

The main indicator of the maturity of honey is the water content of honey, that is, the percentage of water in it. It is established that the water content of mature honey does not exceed 20%.

The water content of honey is determined in various ways. The simplest way to determine the water content of honey is to determine the specific gravity of honey, and then, using the table, find its water content. This method is based on the relationship between the specific gravity of honey and its water content. The greater the proportion of honey, the less it has water content and vice versa, with a decrease in the specific weight of honey, its water content increases. Thus, with a specific weight of honey 1,443 its water content is 16%, and at a specific gravity of 1.382 it contains 25% of water.

Honey honey tends to balance itself with the surrounding air in terms of moisture content: when storing honey in a room with a high relative humidity, it absorbs water from the air and liquefies. When stored in a very dry room, it gives off moisture, and the water content of honey can be significantly reduced.

The best relative humidity in the room for storing honey is 50%.

The property of hygroscopicity of honey should be taken into account when wintering bees. So, for example, if during the wintering the honey somehow crystallizes, so that its hygroscopicity decreases, the winter hut should be cooled. In this case, the relative humidity of the air in the hibernate will increase, and honey will absorb a large amount of moisture, which will somewhat facilitate the wintering conditions of the bees.

With the water content of honey to a great extent is connected with one more property – viscosity. The greater the water content of honey, the less it has a viscosity. Thus, honey with a water content of 25% has a viscosity about 3 times lower than honey with a water content of 20%, and 6 times less than honey with a water content of 18%. Therefore, very liquid honey found in practice is in most cases either immature or diluted in water.

However, the viscosity of honey depends on a number of other conditions, especially temperature. As the temperature increases, the viscosity of honey drops sharply. This property is widely used for pumping honey. In warm weather, honey is pumped much faster and cleaner (fuller) than it is in the cool.

The viscosity of honey depends to a large extent on the presence of dextrins in it. For this reason, honeydew honey, as richer in dextrins, is usually more viscous.

The viscosity of honey depends also on other components of honey.

Of honey (mature), common in Ukraine, honey has the lowest viscosity from a white acacia. Comparatively the liquid honey from linden and clover. Thick honey is given to a sainfoin and buckwheat. Deciduous honey collected from deciduous woody plants, mainly sticky, sticky. Honey from the heather has a peculiar gelatinous consistency. This is explained by the fact that it contains about 2% protein (protein), while in other flower honey the protein is about 10 times smaller. When heather honey is for a while in the honeycomb cells, its protein substances form a “grid”, as a result, the mature honey is almost not pumped out on the honey extractor. If this “grid” is destroyed, then such honey for a while loses jelly, but then it acquires it again. Beekeepers in those areas where there is an abundant bribe from the heather, apply different ways in order to use this honey. Some of them try to pump out the honey immature before it has acquired a significant jelly, others mechanically, using a special device, like a steel brush, destroy the protein “skeleton” formed in cells with honey, others prefer to break out honeycombs with heather honey and then, using a press, the honey is separated, after which the remaining wax raw material is re-heated. It should be acknowledged that the question of pumping honey hemp is not sufficiently developed at present, although for many regions this issue is of great importance. like a steel brush, destroy the protein “skeleton” formed in cells with honey, others prefer to break out honeycombs with heather honey and then, using a press, they separate honey, after which the remaining wax raw material is re-heated. It should be acknowledged that the question of pumping honey hemp is not sufficiently developed at present, although for many regions this issue is of great importance. like a steel brush, destroy the protein “skeleton” formed in cells with honey, others prefer to break out honeycombs with heather honey and then, using a press, they separate honey, after which the remaining wax raw material is re-heated. It should be acknowledged that the question of pumping honey hemp is not sufficiently developed at present, although for many regions this issue is of great importance.

Crystallization of honey. Crystallization (planting) of honey is one of the most important properties of honey.

Honey is a supersaturated glucose solution mixed with fructose and other substances. Glucose has the property of relatively easy to crystallize, “drop out” of the solution in the form of crystals. Fructose also in crystallized honey is in a liquid form, together with some part of water (the other part of water is a part of the crystals of glucose).

The main reason for the crystallization of honey is the presence in it of very small crystals of grape sugar, which later become, as it were, the centers of crystallization and increase in size. The grown crystals have a greater specific gravity than liquid honey and, gradually increasing in size, settle to the bottom.

Crystallization of honey in the dishes can be greatly accelerated, if you add a little crystallized honey in it and stir well.

The more honey is added to the “seed” (sown honey), the faster it crystallizes, as the process passes simultaneously in many points.

If there are few embryonic crystals, the crystallization will go slowly, and the batch will be coarse.

To obtain a salad-like cage, a seed is also taken and seeded, and it is well rubbed. In this case, it is given at least 5% of the amount of crystallized honey.

In all other cases, the seeds are much smaller. Crystallization is accelerated with mixing. The rate of crystallization depends to a large extent on temperature.

At a temperature of 12-14 degrees, the crystallization of honey occurs most rapidly. At a lower temperature, the cage slows down due to less evaporation of water from honey and, especially, due to an increase in its viscosity.

At higher temperatures, crystallization slows down. At a temperature of 27 њ C or higher, honey does not usually crystallize, but at 30 њ C and crystallized honey passes into a liquid state.

The rate of crystallization of honey depends to a large extent on its water content. The less water is contained in honey, the faster it crystallizes and the more its sap will approach salo-like.

The mature honey crystallizes completely, and liquid does not remain above the crystallized mass (the entire liquid part of the honey goes on enveloping the crystals). In the crystallization of immature honey, quite often a certain amount of liquid remains on top of it, which, absorbing moisture, is able to liquefy further and turn sour.

Honey of different origins is not equally prone to crystallization.

Honey from flowers of fruit trees, white acacia and some others to crystallization are not inclined. At the same time honey from sainfoin, sunflower, cotton and a number of other plants refers to rapidly crystallizing honey. Very quickly crystallize honey from cruciferous plants, for example, rape, mustard, rape.

Particularly important for beekeeping is the crystallization of honey in honeycombs during the wintering of bees.

Crystallized honey honey bees during wintering is not able to use and, if not taken the appropriate measures, may die. It is very important to prevent the crystallization of honey in the honeycombs in a timely manner.

The reasons for the crystallization of honey in honeycombs are not completely clear. In general, they are the same as when crystallizing honey in a bowl, when stored. Most authors attribute the main role to the “germ crystals” of sugar, which are always present in a certain amount, in honey and even in the nectar of flowers. Thus, it is believed that nectar, especially collected by bees in droughty weather, being a supersaturated sugar solution, is largely “seeded” with “germ crystals”. Honey obtained as a result of processing such nectar has a lower water content, which also contributes to the acceleration of crystallization.

It is known that the older the honeycomb, the more honey in them is prone to crystallization. For this reason, it is better not to leave old honeycombs in the hive.

When forced to feed bees in the winter, it is preferable to give bees sugar, not honey. If, in. In some cases, it is necessary to feed bees with honey, which was crystallized, then it must be diluted with water (giving one part of water for every 3 parts of honey), warmed to no higher than 50-55 degrees, wrapped well and allowed to stand up, so that the embryonic crystals managed to dissolve.

Never be allowed to winter bees frames with old (last year’s) honey, which is especially prone to crystallization, and is often already crystallized.

With excessive dryness of air in the winter alley, the crystallization of honey in honeycombs is accelerated.

In all cases, when there is a suspicion that honey can, at least partially, crystallize during wintering, such honey should be pumped out in time, when bees are prepared for wintering, and bees are given enough sugar (in the form of thick sugar syrup).

Fermentation of honey. If the water content of honey is above 20%, then it is able to wander and sour.

The fermentation of honey occurs as a result of the development and life activity of yeast fungi that secrete an enzyme called zymase. Under the influence of zymase, honey is decomposed, turning into alcohol and carbon dioxide. In the future, alcohol is oxidized, turning into acetic acid.

During the fermentation of honey, during the decomposition of sugars, honey is covered with foam on top and is filled with bubbles of carbon dioxide, due to which it increases in volume. Honey, which is stored in a closed container, can break this dish when fermented.

When sour, honey often darkens. Honey, which has been fermented, loses its valuable qualities as a food and medicinal product and, quite often, when consumed as food, can be harmful.

Honey, fermented in honeycomb nests of bees during wintering, is more destructive for bees than even honey.

Fermentation of immature honey depends largely on the temperature of the room in which it is stored. Honey is most prone to sour at a temperature of 11 -19 њ C,

It is believed that at a temperature of 27-30 њ C and above, honey does not sour. In the conditions of the bee family existing in the nest, in the summer, when the temperature in it is kept at 34-35 њ, even the spray does not become sour. If the temperature in the room where the honey is stored is not higher than 10 њ of heat, then in this case the honey will not turn sour.

If fermentation has begun, then it should be immediately stopped, which is achieved by a short (for 10 minutes) heating the honey to a temperature of 70 њ, at which yeast will be killed. However, this only stops further damage to the honey, but its qualities are not restored. At the same time, even with such a brief warming up, honey partially changes. It starts caramelization of fructose, destroys part of vitamins and enzymes, etc.

The most reliable means against the fermentation of honey are: pumping out only the mature honey and storing it at a temperature of no higher than 10 њ.

About padovyh honey.

Honey bees are found in all regions of our country. Often they remain unnoticed by beekeepers, they are used as staple stocks of bee colonies for wintering and bring enormous damage to beekeeping. Sometimes not only individual families died, but whole apiaries perished from honeydew honey.

Honeydew honey is more common in forest areas. Bees collect them mainly from woody plants: oak, lime, willow, aspen, fir, hazel, garden trees, etc. Sometimes it also falls on herbaceous crops – rye, prose, etc., and also on wild plants, for example, on the cane.

More often there is a drop of animal origin, which is a sugary discharge (in the form of stools) of aphids, chervets and some other insects that feed on plant juices. These discharges are collected by bees mainly in the impotent period and turn into pade honey.

As already mentioned, there may be a fall of plant origin. The latter stands out under certain weather conditions directly by plants and is also collected by bees. Such a pad is called “honeydew.

Honeydew honey is very diverse not only in its composition, but also in the degree of their harmfulness, especially during the wintering of bees. This is undoubtedly due both to the species composition of the plants from which the Pad is collected, and to what kind of aphids are excreted by the bee collected by the bees. Thus, it is known that the fall from the oak is more harmful to bees than the fall from the lime tree.

However, in different years, it would seem that the same drop, for example, collected from oak, is also harmful to varying degrees. Perhaps this is due primarily to the fact that the hive in the hives is always mixed with flower honey. The difference in the proportions of this mixture and causes a difference in its harmfulness.

Why are honeydew honey harmful to bees during wintering?

Studies show that honeydew honey, first of all, gives relatively many indigestible residues, which contributes to premature overflow of the intestines of bees.

Erupted from the organisms of aphids as harmful. All this taken together and is the main reason for the harmfulness of pade honeys during the wintering of bees.

It is extremely important to timely determine the quality of fodder stocks of bees going to winter. Among beekeepers, it is widely believed that pade honey can be determined quite accurately organoleptically (in appearance, taste and other external features). So, many beekeepers believe that padem honey is not printed by bees, does not crystallize, has a dark color, unpleasant taste, etc.

This opinion is erroneous. There are known facts of the death of whole apiaries, wintering on sealed honey, which, nevertheless, was padeevym. Studies have shown that about 30% of honeydew honey, unsuitable for wintering, bees are printed. Moreover, they can seal honey with a mixture of padi.

Many honeydew honey can crystallize. So, from the collection of honeydew honey of the Institute of Beekeeping, numbering more than 300 samples, 58% were crystallized.

The same can be said about other properties of honey, especially its color, which is very diverse.

Cleaning honey.

Due to the fact that honey is a food and medicinal product, it is necessary to carefully monitor that it does not get foreign impurities that contaminate honey, such as: earth, wood shavings, dead bees, larvae, grains of wax, etc. .

Pumping honey is better to produce in a clean, inaccessible to bees room. At the same time, one should observe great care: do not place the hive frames on the floor or on the ground, work cautiously in the hives, skillfully use the smoke, work in dressing gowns, wash hands well before starting work, etc.

In addition, honey must be filtered, passing it through a strainer during descent from the honey extractor. After pumping, honey should be drained into the clarifiers, where it should be settled. In this case, lighter impurities (wax, bees) float upward, where they are easily collected with a spoon or scoop; heavier impurities (sand) settle on the bottom. The sump should have two drainage cranes: one at a height of 5-6 cm from the bottom, the second at the bottom. If there is one drain cock in the sump, then it should be located at a height of 5-6 cm from the bottom so that the remaining impurities on the bottom can not get into the honey when it is lowered. Usually the process of settling lasts 2-4 days (in hot weather it occurs faster, in a cooler-slower).

Containers for honey.

As containers for transporting honey, mainly barrels are used.

Barrel sizes vary, but their capacity should not exceed 100 kg, since heavier barrels are more difficult to load. Barrels can be made of wood of various breeds, except very resinous, since honey can absorb odors. Oak barrels are also not recommended, because of the acids contained in honey, the oak turns black and partially spoils honey. But if oak staves are treated with a solution of hot soda, then such a barrel will not turn black with honey.

Barrels are made of dry material. Rivets should not have more than 20% moisture.

It should be remembered that the tree is able to absorb honey, and the loss of honey for this reason sometimes reach a significant size. To avoid these losses, the barrels inside are covered with a very thin layer of paraffin, or a mixture of paraffin and wax. To do this, take five kilograms of this substance, heat up to about 120 њ, pour into a barrel designed for honey, and quickly roll it. After that, the wax or its mixture with wax is quickly drained off, then, replenishing its loss, it is reheated and used for coating inside the second barrel, etc.

Sometimes honey is packed in linden, wooden boxes and even paper bags, but in such cases it can only be transported after it has crystallized well.

Glass containers are mainly used for retail sale of honey. Pottery can be used to store honey only if it is glazed.

The room in which honey is stored must in no case be moist. It is not possible to store honey next to smelling substances, since it is capable of perceiving their odors.

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Main properties of honey