Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How to Make Creamed Honey

Making creamed honey is easy to do.  You don't have to be a beekeeper to make it. That's because all you need is… liquid honey and some seed honey.

Over time natural honey will soon develop large chunky crystals. It's not a sign that the honey is bad and the honey won't taste any different. It's just that the crystals aren't so pleasant on the tongue. These crystals have square corners that feel sharp and give an unpleasant sensation.

Enter Prof. Dyce from the University of Cornell. He developed a process to control the formation of crystals so that smooth oval shaped crystals are created. These are very spreadable and smooth on the tongue.

But how do you get these smooth oval crystals in your honey?

It's easy: You buy them.

Visit your local established beekeeper. He'll have creamed honey on hand. Try it first, paying attention not to the flavour of the honey but to the feel and sensation of the crystals on your tongue. If they're appealing then buy some.

Use that creamed honey to seed your clear honey by inserting a tablespoon or more into a jar. Then stir the crystals in thoroughly and put the whole thing in the fridge for about two weeks. Presto! You'll have smooth, non drip, spreadable creamed honey. Your own honey gives the flavour but the smooth seed crystals give the texture.

How does this happen? Our favourite golden liquid has a trick or two up its sleeve. If you give clear honey smooth crystals it will replicate them naturally. The term is 'following suit'. The small crystals prevent the formation of larger crystals. It's very similar to how yogurt and cheese are made, although they use cultures as seed.

[Photo - this jar is 90% crystalized - notice the bottom 1" that hasn't converted yet. It's important to stir the seed right to the bottom. With this jar the spoon and beater wouldn't reach the bottom].

By the way, other terms for creamed honey are Whipped Honey, Spun Honey, Churned Honey, Candied Honey, Honey Fondant and Set Honey. All are processed naturally through controlling the crystallization.

[Photo - two buckets of purchased creamed honey that I use as seed for my own.  The electric beater stirs the seed very well but it's not long enough to reach the bottom of tall jars.]
Beekeepers don't forget this is another product line you can sell.  Non drip creamed honey is great for kids and not so messy.  Moms have less clean up in the kitchen and that's a big selling point.

Honey can be stirred using an electric drill - see photo below.  This is a paint stirring drill attachment that I purchased from the local hardware store.

More info on making Creamed Honey can be found through these links:

Creamed Honey - Dyce Method
Wikipedia - Honey


Kat said...

Well, I just looked at the last 3 posts (been busy too) and learned a lot. I just had to un-crystalize some honey last week, and wish I would have read this first, but it seems fine. Thanks for all your shared knowledge!

Beekeeper Barbara said...

Kat: Thanks for your comment. It is a busy time for sure. Don't blink... soon it'll be summer.

Hadley Fukuda said...

Will it still work if I just mix using a spoon if I don't have a hand mixer or a drill?

Beekeeper Barbara said...

Hadley: Yes it will work. The mixing gets the crystals spread around so they can work faster. So with stirring if the crystals aren't in every part of the jar it just might take a little longer for the whole container to crystalize.


Gecika said...

I'm in Dufferin County myself, and a new beekeeper. We're hoping for our first harvest this year, and I can't wait to give this a try. My dad loves creamed honey!

Beekeeper Barbara said...

Gecika: You can actually practice making creamed honey now by purchasing a jar of liquid honey and creamed honey. Add a teaspoon of creamed honey to the liquid and stir well. Put in the fridge and then wait a couple weeks. Presto!
Good luck with your beekeeping. If you have questions don't hesitate to ask.

Anonymous said...

I am delighted to have found your website! My question is this - how do I add a flavor when making creamed honey? My friends all know how much I love honey and recently I received a gift of raspberry creamed honey which is almost gone - it's delicious! Can I use the last tablespoon of it to make creamed honey using 100% natural honey, or will the flavor be lost?

Beekeeper Barbara said...

Dear Anonymous: Thanks for your comments. Yes you can use the last tablespoon of the creamed honey as a starter culture for creamed honey. The raspberry flavour won't carry over though beyond the flavour on that teaspoon. I haven't researched (yet) on adding flavours but I believe you can spoon them in - so a raspberry syrup or jam that you think would be suitable could be mixed in. I would probably first do the creamed honey culture and wait for the jar to go to cream and then add your flavourings.... This has a ton of possibilities. I bought a Jalpeno Pepper and Raspberry creamed honey that is just amazing. Let me know how it turns out.

Honey Hive Farms said...

Honey Hive Farms,

Thank you, nice read... we were just talking about this today at a farmers market.

Tim Moore

Anonymous said...

This is fabulous information! I recently had to heat some raw creamed honey to stop fermentation. It is now quite "liquidy". Will it return to creamed honey if I refrigerate it?

Beekeeper Barbara said...

Anonymous: Hello. The heated honey will eventually crystalize again but would take some time. Putting it in the refrigerator would speed up the process. Or just add a teaspoonful of creamed honey to help it get going again.

Eddie said...

I'm confused, to make creamed honey I just mix crystallized honey with clear and then place in fridge, or do I have to used Creamed honey and mix with clear honey ?

Barbara Lindberg said...
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Barbara Lindberg said...

Eddie: To clarify some more - crystalized and creamed honey are the same thing. There is a bit of a difference in that store bought creamed honey is nice and smooth (so use that to make your clear honey crystalized).
Honey on it's own will crystalize over time but it won't be so nice and smooth.

Barbara Lindberg said...

Hi Eddie. Take a tablespoon or so of creamed honey and stir it thoroughly into clear honey.

The smooth crystals of the creamed honey will grow and multiply when in the clear honey and turn the clear honey into crystalized.

I hope that makes sense. Try it and let me know how it goes

Barbara Lindberg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Do you have to keep it refrigerated once you cream it?

Barbara Lindberg said...

Anonymous: Thanks for your excellent question. No, you don't have to keep the creamed honey in the fridge once it's fully creamed. You can leave it on the counter like regular honey.