It is important to take care of the sanitary state of the honey to be used.
Because of its pH, its hygroscopicity and its hydrogen peroxide content,
the risk of bacterial infection is low. The main danger is wild yeasts
[H4]. There are several possibilities to sanitize honey:
- Boiling kills all microorganisms (bacteria and yeasts) as well as
proteins and those colloids which would then cause haze [H4]. Very many
recipes advise to boil honey for 10 to 30 minutes. But this will
also remove some organoleptic compounds that give honey its aroma. White
showed that temperatures and times which are actually necessary are way
lower than what is usually done: 22 minutes are required at 60°C (140°F)
but less than 5 minutes are enough at 65°C (150°F) and as little
as 1 minute at 68°C (155°F) [M1 p. 513]. Temperatures between
60°C and 65°C (140°F and 150°F) save most of honey flavor
and do not require playing with 10 liters of boiling water.
- Another alternative is to add sulphite. Then heat is not required
(no change in flavor or color). But proteins are not removed either (clarification
will take longer) and the pH must be known. 70 ppm (0,4 g/gal) are necessary
at a pH of 3,5 [H4].
- Ultra-filtration [Kime, McLellan & Lee : Ulta-filtration of honey
for mead production, agricultural research 15, 517 (1991)] remove bacteria,
yeasts, colloids and some proteins. But H4 is skeptical because this method
also removes the characteristic taste of honey. Kime had some success with
a mead made following this method but it was a pyment (it contained grape),
so the lack of honey taste could be hidden. One could also wonder if this
is feasible at a small scale (filtration generally requires equipment and
- Nothing. It is then necessary to use a honey which was produced and
capped by the bees in a short time. One must find a local beekeeper whose
hives are used for pollination of high nectar species such as tupelo (in
Florida) or orange blossom [H4].
Comparison of various techniques to sanitaize honey. X : true, x : fairly true
, Ø : wrong. 1: pH-meter, 2: filters and pump, 3: not honeys with a high pH
(prune 6, black- and blueberries 4,5), 4: not viscuous honeys,
5: the honey must contain few yeast cells.
| || removes yeasts || removes proteins || no loss of taste || no/little equipement || no hazard || any honey |
|boilling ||X ||Ø ||X ||Ø ||X ||X |
|60-70 °C ||X ||x ||x ||X ||x ||X |
|sulfite ||X ||Ø ||X ||Ø (1) ||x ||x (3) |
|filtration ||X ||X ||Ø ||Ø (2) ||X ||x (4) |
|nothing ||Ø ||Ø ||X ||X ||X ||Ø (5) |
May 28th 2002