Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Lazy Woman's Honey Warmer

I had a dilemma.  I'd recently read Kim Flottum's book, The Backyard Beekeeper's Honey Handbook. .

The author describes how to make a warming box.  It's basically an insulated container where the honey pails are set with a low watt light bulb.  The honey slowly liquefies over a 12 hour period.  The key is to sustain a low heat so that the honey's natural elements are preserved.

[Photo - sticky honey and cappings before heating]
If you've been beekeeping for even a year you'll have noticed how quickly natural honey crystallizes.  And that's a normal process.  (If you want more info on how and why honey crystallizes read this.

In the next month or so I plan to build a warming box and I will certainly share all the details of that with you once I get it done.

But this brings me to the dilemma.  I needed to warm up some honey and wax cappings that I had scraped out of the cappings box last season.  They've been stored in containers and it's quite a sticky mess of wax and honey.

I don't want to cook the honey which would separate the wax and honey but would give my a dark caramelized honey.

So I started looking around the house for a potential warming box that I could pop two bowls into to warm up.

I looked over cardboard boxes and then my thoughts turned to the oven--not to turn it on but to use it as a warming box.  It's a closed container, maybe not super well insulated but it could work.

I took out a shelf, leaving only one shelf up about 4" from the bottom.  I put the bowl of cappings on the shelf.  Then next to the bowl I set a trouble light with a 60 watt bulb.  I closed the oven door, with the electrical cord only creating a small gap.

The next morning the honey was softer but not melted so I made two changes.  I upped the wattage to 100 and put the light on the floor of the oven underneath the bowl.

Viola!  By evening I had runny honey.  I could put it through a sieve and jar it.  The cappings left on top of the sieve I'll give to the bees to lick dry--they do it better than any other method.

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