First of the process of extracting honey from the honeycomb is not as simple as someone might think. Surprisingly each processing step from initial extraction to packaging of the final product is the answer to peculiar problems concerning the physio-chemical and biological features of different honeys. The steps in making a commercialized honey product includes initial extraction, dehumidification, liquefaction and mixture, pasteurization crystallization and final packing.
This is the most important physical feature for the characterization of honeys by commercial view point. it involves formation of glucose monohydrate crystals in different quantity, shape and agreement depending on processing conditions. A larger processing time results in more voluminous crystals. Crystallization depends composition. the lower the amount of water content then the higher amount of glucose the therefore the higher tendency to crystallize.
Crystallization is very suspicious to consumers. Extracted honey tends to be made of a lot of various sugars and there fore this tend to be released in the water.
What factors influence crystallization?
- Amount of glucose and fructose.
- Possible impurities.
- Presence of adequate condensation nuclei, including single glucose crystals, dust, pollen grains, air microbubbles.
- Speed and type of crystallization influenced by a number of condensation nuclei.
- Temperature (5-25c)
- Hedonistic preference of target market.
Methods of Crystallization
This involves mixing honey with completely crystallized honey in varying proportions depending on temp and viscosity. (9:1). Honey with a lot of moisture content needs to be crystallized after pasteurization at 65C for 5-10min. the optimal temperature is between 24-28C to favour honey without incorporating airbubble. the disadvantage is that there will be a formation of a whitish outcrop of the surface because of water evaporation and drying of glucose crystals to appear white. Separate honey crystals and concomitant. Then introduce it into drums and placed it in hot chambers at 28-30 before wrapping. This will solve the problem.
Honey is passed in a homogenizer with the aim of separating crystals and introduce it into jars or it is passed from hot rooms to the packing step.
Types of honey crystallization
Long processing time produces angular, rough or sharp crystals.
A result of a very quick process, especially with honey of a high glucose/water ratio. It presents as stains retractions, namely white veins on the walls of vessels in correspondence to air bubbles. avoid this by heating honey at 30C for 24-48hrs.
Occurs in honey with high humidity degree or with those kept at high temperatures in storage for long. Crystals precipitate at the bottom, while a solid surface is obtained instead of a liquid one.