Honey is a remarkably versatile ingredient. It’s known primarily for its sweetness, but it possesses a depth of flavor that allows it to enhance dishes in numerous ways. You can use it to sweeten up some salad dressing, to create a glaze for some buns, or even to finish the sauce for some barbequed ribs.
Many of us are absolutely in love with the flavor of honey. We have beekeepers to thank for supplying us with that delectable ingredient.
If you’re thinking of becoming a beekeeper yourself, you will need to brush up on the basics. For instance, do you know how to handle honey frames before they are extracted? Learning how to store honey frames until extraction will be crucial.
In this article, we’ll discuss proper honey frame storage and other related topics. Stay tuned if you’re interested in picking up some valuable honey farming tips!
- How to Prepare Honey Frames for Storage
- Storage Methods for Honey Frames
- How Do You Store the Extracted Honey?
How to Prepare Honey Frames for Storage
Storing your honey frames properly will be key to maintaining the quality of your honey. Before you get to that, you need to prep them for storage. Follow the tips detailed below so you can prepare those honey frames properly.
Check if the Honey Is Capped or Uncapped
We’re assuming that you have already collected the honey frames from the honey supers. Because of that, the process of storing the honey frames should start with checking them. To be more specific, you need to check if the honey cells are capped or uncapped.
Both capped and partially uncapped honey frames are suitable for storage, but you may want to handle them differently.
You see, uncapped honey cells tend to hold more moisture. When storing honey frames, the last thing you want to see is excess moisture. Too much moisture can lead to the growth of mold. Unsurprisingly, mold can have an adverse effect on the quality of your honey and cause it to smell.
Storing capped and partially uncapped honey frames together can lead to liquids leaking out. It would be best to store them separately so you can guarantee the quality of the capped honey.
Eliminate the Uncapped Honey Cells
So, what should you do with the uncapped honey frames? Like we said above, uncapped honey frames can be stored, but you need to process them a bit before doing so.
Your goal is to eliminate the nectar from the uncapped honey cells so you can keep the moisture levels low. Removing the nectar from those cells is easy enough.
To remove the liquids, you can turn the frame over and start hitting the cells. The nectar in the cells should start to spill out after a few hits. You can also shake the frame to dislodge the nectar or hit it against a hard object.
Just make sure you aren’t too rough with the frame because you could end up forcing the honey out as well. You could also damage the frame by hitting it too hard.
After doing those things, you may still see some substance resembling nectar in some of the cells. In all likelihood, that nectar is already on the verge of turning into honey. You don’t have to remove it from the frame, but storing it can be risky.
That substance may ferment if it comes into contact with water. You need to be careful with it if you hope to sell it as honey.
Storage Methods for Honey Frames
Now that your honey frames have been checked and nectar has been removed from them, you can proceed to storage. You can either store the honey frames in the freezer or a different area.
Continue reading to learn more about your storage options.
Storing Honey Frames in a Freezer
Storing your honey frames in the freezer is one way to keep them safe from potential mold development. You should also store honey frames in the freezer because doing so will kill any insects that may be hiding in them.
Freezing your honey frames will also effectively stop the crystallization process. Crystallization can change the color, texture, and even the flavor of the honey. The honey isn’t necessarily bad after it crystallizes, but it may not appeal to as many people.
You don’t have to do that much prep work if you are storing the honey frames in the freezer. Just wrap them tightly with plastic and they should be good to go. The plastic will prevent any moisture from seeping into the frames and potentially triggering fermentation.
Avoid opening and closing the freezer frequently while you’re keeping the honey frames in there. You want the honey to stay frozen at all times so don’t let the temperature rise in there.
Honey frames kept in the freezer can stay there indefinitely. There is no risk of spoilage so keep the frames in there until you are ready to extract the honey.
Note that frames with uncapped honey can only be stored in the freezer. Store those uncapped frames anywhere other than the freezer and they will likely develop mold.
Retrieving the Honey Frames from the Freezer
Are you ready to extract honey from the frozen frames? Before you do that, you need to let the frames warm up first.
Take the frames out of the freezer one day before you intend to extract honey from them. Find a dry spot that’s at room temperature and leave them there.
Don’t remove the plastic coverings on the honey frames just yet. Keep the wraps on so the honey frames remain protected. You can remove them when you are ready to extract the honey.
Storing Honey Frames Elsewhere
The freezer is the ideal storage unit for your honey frames. However, your freezer may not be able to hold all your honey frames. If that’s the case, you’ll have to look for a different storage spot.
The spot where you’ll be keeping the honey frames should be dry. Make sure there are no water sources nearby that could get to the honey. You should also avoid any humid spots because the moisture in the air can affect the quality of the product.
Ideally, the spot should also be closed off. You don’t want any air blowing and cooling down the honey.
One area where you can store the honey frames is your pantry. Clear it out then make sure there are no holes in there that moisture can get through. If it looks good, you can keep the honey frames thereafter you wrap them in plastic.
An empty cabinet will also work well for holding honey frames.
Maximum storage time for the honey frames is way shorter if you cannot use your freezer. You can keep them in storage for only three days at most.
Storing the frames any longer than three days can lead to the honey crystallizing. Aside from that, the frames may also start attracting pests if they are stored outside of the freezer for more than three days.
Storing Honey Frames in the Refrigerator
You’ve probably that we haven’t mentioned the possibility of storing honey in the refrigerator. That may seem odd since the refrigerator is often the appliance we use to store edible goodies.
The issue with storing honey frames in a refrigerator is crystallization. The cold but not freezing conditions inside the refrigerator will speed up the crystallization process. The honey you’re getting from those refrigerated frames may not be what you expected.
As we mentioned earlier, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with crystallized honey. There’s just a decent chance that your buyers will not like its flavor, color, or texture. If they’re used to consuming a certain type of honey, crystallized honey may be off-putting to them.
Keep your honey frames out of the refrigerator if you don’t want them to crystallize.
How Do You Store the Extracted Honey?
Hopefully, you were able to store the honey frames properly and you were able to extract quite the haul from them. Now, you can turn your attention to storing the honey.
Detailed in this section are some essential honey storage tips.
Choose the Right Containers
Selecting the right containers for storing the honey is absolutely essential.
First off, you need to look for containers that are made out of ceramic, glass, or stainless steel. Only use containers made from those materials because anything else can affect the honey’s flavor.
Next, you should check out the lids of the containers you’re using. The lids should form extra-tight seals on the containers. You don’t want any air seeping in and potentially altering the quality of the honey.
Also, try to gather more containers than you think you’ll need. If you’re short on containers, you may have to leave the leftover honey exposed for a while. Doing that can also affect the taste, texture, and color of the honey.
Strain the Honey
Small pieces of debris may end up suspended in the honey while the bees are making it. You obviously don’t want those bits and pieces in the final product so remember to strain the liquid first.
Strain the honey carefully and look closely at the liquid. Don’t let any unidentified object pass the strainer.
Store the Honey
You can now proceed to store the honey that you’ve poured into the container.
Once again, storing the honey in the freezer is an option if you don’t intend to use it for a while. Simply avoid filling the container to the brim so the honey can expand as it freezes.
Alternatively, your cupboard or kitchen cabinet can also work as a good storage area for your freshly extracted honey.
Storing honey or honey frames does not have to be a complicated endeavor if you know what you’re doing. Follow the tips in the article and you should have plenty of honey to sell the next time you hit the market.