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Honey Production & Processing

Ag Processing Technology

Sweet fluid produced by honey bees Derived from flower nectar According to the US Honey Board and various national food regulations Honey stipulates a PURE food product

Honey Make-Up
Sweetness comes from monosachrides fructose and glucose Has approximately the same sweetness as granulated sugar Most micro-organisims dont grow in honey due to its low water activity However it does frequently contain dormant endospores of bacterium Clostridium botulinum that can be toxic to infants

Honey Production

Honey Production
Bees produce honey as a food source In cold weather or when food is scare bees use excess honey for energy By contriving for bee swarms to nest in artificial hives, people have been able to semi-domesticate bees and harvest excess honey

Inside the Hive

1 Queen bee Seasonally variable number of drone male bees 20,000-40,000 female worker bees

They raise the larve and collect the nectar that becomes honey in the hive

Honey Production
After collecting nectar the bees use their honey stomachs to ingest and regurgitate the nectar a number of times until it is partially digested It is then stored in honeycomb cells After the final reguritation the honeycomb is left unsealed

However at this point the nectar is still high in both water and natural yeast which unchecked would leave cause the sugars to ferment

Honey Production
The process continues as bees inside the hive fan their wings to create a strong draft across the honeycomb This enhances evaporation which raises the sugar concentration and prevents fermentation

Classifying Honey By Its Floral Source

Classifying Honey By Its Floral Source

Classifed by the floral source of the nectar from which it was made Honeys can be from specific types of flower nectars, from indeterminate origins or blended after collection

Blended Honey
Most commercially available honey Mix of 2 or more honeys differing in floral source, color, flavor, density or geographic origin

Wildflower honey Derived from the nectar of many types of flowers Taste may vary year to year Aroma and flavor can be more or less intense depending on which bloomings are prevalent


Made primarily from the nectar of one type of flower Produced by beekeepers keeping beehives in areas where the bees have acess to only 1 type of flower Typical North America Monofloral honeys are

Clover Orange blossom Sage Eucalyptus Tupelo Manuka Buckwheat Sourwood

Honeydew Honey
Made from the sweet secretions of aphids or other plant sap-sucking insects Dark in color with a rich fragrance Not as sweet as nectar honeys Popular in some areas (Germanys Black Forest and some portions of Bulgaria) Production is much more complicated and dangerous

Packaging and Processing Honey

Packaging and Processing Honey

Generally bottled in its familiar liquid form However it is sold in other ways

Comb Honey & Chunk Honey

Meant to be consumed still in the wax comb Collected by using standard wooden frams in honey supers The frames are collected and the comb is cut out in chunks before packaging Chunk honey is honey packed in widmouth containers consisting of one or more pieces of comb honey immeresed in extracted liquid

Comb Honey

Organic Honey

Produced, processed and packaged in accordance with national regulations and certified as such by some government body or an independent organic farming certification organization

Crystallized Honey
Also called granulated honey Some part of the glucose content has spontaneously crystallized from solution as a monohydrate

Pasteurized Honey
Reduces mouisture levels, destroys yeast cells, liquefies crystals Sterlizes the honey and improves shelflife Downfalls

Excessive heat exposure results in product deterioration Heat also affects appearance, taste and fragrence Can darken the natural honey color

Raw Honey
Honey as it exsists in the beehive or as obtained by extraction, settling or straining without adding heat above 120 degrees F Contains some pollen May also contain some small wax particles Local raw honey is often sought by allergy sufferers as the pollen impurities are thought to lessen the sensitivity to hay fever

Strained Honey

Honey that has been passed through a strain to remove particulate material without removing pollen, minerals or valuable enzymes

Ultrafiltered Honey
Honey processed by very fine filtration under high pressure Removes all extraneous solids and pollen grains Very clean Has a longer shelf life Preferred by the supermarket trade Degrades certain qualities of the honey much like the pasteurization process

Ultrasonicated Honey
Processed by ultrasonication Non-thermal alternative for processing Destroys most of the yeast cells and those that are not destroyed generally lose their ability to grow Reduces the rate of fermentation

Whipped Honey
Akacreamed honey, spun honey, churned honey, candied honey, honey fondant Processed to control cyrstallization Also produces a honey with a smooth spreadable consistancy


Storage (start)

Suitable for long term Recommended to be stored for 2 (max. 3) years Main goal is to prevent fermentation Best honey is that in the comb that has been sealed with wax by the bee Should not be stored in metal containers, ceramic or wood are best Dark, dry place to prevent mouisture absorption Do not store uncoverd in the frig as it will absorb odors and flavors from other items

Honey Grading

Grading Honey
Voluntary Based on USDA standards Quality is based on

Soluble solids Water content Flavor Aroma Clarity Absence of defects color

Honey Grades
Grade A-Good Grade B- Reasonably Good Grade C-Fairly Good Substandard- Poor, Failing

Indicators of Quality

Distinquished by fragrance, tase and consistancy Ripe, freshly collected high quality honey at 68 degrees F should flow from a knife in a straight stream with out breaking into separate drops. After falling it should form a bead When poured it should form small, temporary layers that disappear quickly, indicating high viscosity. If not it indicated excessive water content (over 20%)

Indicators of Quality

In the jar fresh honey should appear pure, consistent fluid and not settle in layers Transparent or honey that is reluctant to thicken may indicate the bees were fed sugar syrup or sugar which is bad for the bees and the honey they produce Fluffy film on the surface of the honey (like white foam) or marble colored or white-spotted crystallization on a containers sides is formed by air bubblesthis is an indication of high quality honey which was filled without pasteurization

Uses (start)

Food and Cooking

Main uses are cooking, baking and as a spread on breads Also used as an addition to tea Sweetener in commercial beverages

Vegans and Honey

Vegans do not use honey as it is considered an animal product

Honey Producing Countries

Top Producers


China Turkey United States Spain is also an important producer

Honey Production In South Dakota

Rank & Production

2nd in the nation (2008) ND is #1 2008 production was 21.38 million pounds Approx. 200 SD Bee Keepers, 90 of which maintain their bees on a commercial scale

SD Honey
Highly desirable Mild flavored Light colored Alfalfa/sweetclover blend

Profits from Honey Sales

2002- $16,065,000 2001- $10,845,000 2000- $16, 492,000 2008-The price paid per pound was $1.34

Not Just Honey

Bees are also important pollinators of agricultural crops in our State! In a study by Cornell University it was estimated that honey bee pollination adds $10.7 billion to the value of the crops they pollinate

Not Just Honey

Many other products are produced from bees besides honey

Beeswax hand creams Candles Soaps Beeswax Skin Creams Honey B-B-Q Sauce


Wikipediawww.wikipedia.org Argus Leader www.argusleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/articl e?AID=20090323/BJUPDATES/90323038 http://www.state.sd.us/doa/das/valu_bee. htm http://www.madeinsouthdakota.com/Catal og/Category.cfm?catId=587