Does honey go rancid, or ferment? - Homesteading Today
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  #1  
Old 07/18/05, 12:55 PM
Timedess
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Question Does honey go rancid, or ferment?

I buy my honey (raw) from a beekeeper who is about anhour's drive from my house. I buy it by the bucket- about 4.5 gallons at a time. The honey that I have now, which I bought last winter, is from last fall's collection (is that the right word?). It is very dark.

It too me a long time to get it from the bucket (sealed) into the gallon pickle jars that I normally keep it in. By the time I got around to it, it had already partially crystallized. Now, the honey in the jars is "layered", almost like sedimentary layers. It has layers of crystallized honey, and layers of fluid honey. It smells very... strongly. Almost like it's fermented, kind of an alcoholic smell. I've been told that honey doesn't "go bad". Why does my honey smell so very strongly? Is it still ok to use? There isn't any appearance of mold, though I do notice some foamy like appearance on the top of it.

I have two and a half gallons left of this honey; I really don't want to have to throw it out- not at the cost of good honey around here (about $22 a gallon)! But if it'd make us sick, I don't want to keep it. Any help would be MOST appreciated! Thanks!

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Old 07/18/05, 01:24 PM
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Yep, sounds bad to me, but the only real way to find out is to test it. If you'll PM me, I'll send you my address and you can send it here for thorough testing.






Not really. Your honey is fine, just put your bucket in some warm water to uncrystalize it and decant it into your jars.

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Old 07/18/05, 01:41 PM
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After the honey crystalizes, I am told that it IS possible for honey to ferment. Unusual, but possible.

You might run it past an experienced bee keeper, if you can find one.

As for the dark color, think nothing of it. The color of the honey depends on what flowers the nectar came from. Where I live, fall honey is generally dark and strong-tasting.

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Old 07/18/05, 03:02 PM
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so... what can i do with fermented honey then?

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Old 07/18/05, 09:08 PM
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Well, Duh, I said ship it to me for exhaustive testing, yet I look at my empty Private Messages box every hour for a reply.

I'll make it easier for you...I'll pay shipping!

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Old 07/18/05, 09:23 PM
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Im not sure if you can still make mead out of it, if you are so inclinded to do it, or you can try and up the alcohol content and put it in hot tea, etc.....

One thing you might try(not sure if it will work to keep it from going bad or fermenting) but start making spun or creamed honey when you get it back home.

If all else fails..... sent it to bare... sounds like he can put it to good use

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Old 07/18/05, 09:58 PM
 
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Was last year very dry? It sounds like honeydew honey which is made from the sap of trees. And it often does ferment nasty, dark, strong flavored stuff I would bet if your a loyal customer you werent given that on purpose I'd show it to the guy that sold it to you. The only way honey can fement is if it didnt get dehydrated enough (or water was added) like if it was robbed to soon or is that honeydew stuff it just dosent seem to do well.

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Old 07/19/05, 09:16 AM
 
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Sure honey ferments and otherwise goes bad. It's caused by too much moisture, and the #1 cause is extracting uncapped cells. You can also make it go bad by storing it open in a humid area. Honey will absorb moisture.

Crystalizing is a seperate issue. That's just an inherent aspect of a supersaturated solution, which honey in many ways is. You can heat crystalized honey to redisolve the crystals. But, depending on the honey and the crystals, this may not be as effective as you'd like.

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Old 07/19/05, 09:37 AM
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I have heard that when honey crystalizes, the remaining liquid is higher in moisture content and so can ferment. Or, so I have been told, I have not seen this happen.

Now that I have my own hive, I store honey in the freezer for my winters use. It doesn't crystalize that way.

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Old 07/19/05, 12:35 PM
 
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Temp changes can also cause it to ferment. Sometimes the honey can sweat and moisture can collect on the inside of the bucket lid. This can drip down and make a puddle. This can cause fermentation.

Even with a little fermentation, your honey should be safe to eat, but it might have a strange taste to it.

If you decide not to eat it, you can add water to it and ferment it. From the honeywine (mead) you can also make vinegar.

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Old 07/19/05, 08:25 PM
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lol sorry bare. you don't want this stuff anyway.

i think i'll just keep it for cooking- it tastes fine in my bread recipe. i just won't be eating honey-toast anytime soon, lol!

i do know that when we went to pick up the honey, he said that it was (something other than what he usually sold). he had run out of his regular supply- it was a bad year, and i went late, to get it. i don't think that he'd have purposefully given us 'worse' honey, as opposed to anyone else. he's not like that.

thanks for the help, all. i'm not up to making mead, or vinegar, or anything like that. i can barely keep up with my homemade bread these days! lol!

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