Simple honey warming cabinet

If your honey is anything like my honey it will be starting to crystallize about now and although crystallization in honey is a natural process can result in hard gritty honey with large crystals that resemble sugar crystals.

Last year I made some soft set honey and it worked well and to me soft set honey is lovely on toast as the smooth texture is less likely to run off the side of the toast and end in your lap.

This is an excellent video showing how to make softest honey

So this year as I had jarred all my honey and despite reasonable sales I have a cupboard of crystallizing honey. So I decided I needed to make myself a small honey warming cabinet to gradually warm the honey over time and reverse the crystallizing process.

It’s important to warm the honey slowly and not to exceed 45 degrees C as anything above can damage the honey and all its health benefits.

It is possible to warm a few jars in the microwave but can take time as you have to have the microwave on a low power setting for a minute or two then let the honey stand for a few mins and then back in the microwave once more and repeat until the honey is warm enough to stir. The problem with the microwave is you get hot spots even if you have been carful and obviously remove the lids. The thing I have never understood about microwaves is that you cannot put any metal inside unless you want a fire work display but the stainless steel interior microwave I had a few years ago was ok??

Some people with fancy ovens with accurate low settings can warm a few jars in the oven. Also some people have nice warm airing cupboards to keep the honey warm and this will slow down the crystallization but won’t be warm enough to soften crystallized honey.

People convert old fridges or chest freezers into warming cabinets. They have to fit small thermostatically controlled heating elements into them and a fan helps to circulate the air to achieve an even heat. The fridge freezer approach is a good one if you have large buckets of solid Oil Seed Rape honey but a big hammer to crack a nut if all you want to do is soften a few jars of honey besides chest freezers don’t fit well into narrowboats.

So this is my approach to my crystallizing honey a simple plywood box that hooks over a radiator and a simple door that just hooks over the top. The box has two strips of foam that takes up the lumps and bumps of my 1920’s cast iron radiator and it holds 12 jars.

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At first during November it was slow as my fire was only lit for shorter periods but as I have been turning up the heat with the colder nights is working brilliantly and softens the honey with ease. I need to test the temperature inside the cabinet and will when I get my hands on a temperature gauge but suspect it will be well under 45 degrees and if it goes close I can regulate the temperature by moving the door to one side.

I know it’s not the prettiest of items at the moment and as it is working so well may construct one from a nice timber for next year so it can stay on the boat and double up as storage during the year when not needed as a warming cupboard. I also now realise my walls below my gunnels perhaps needs painting and another job on the list.

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3 Responses to Simple honey warming cabinet

  1. David says:

    I’ve found one of those cheap-as-chips indoor/outdoor wireless weather stations from somewhere like Maplin (a fiver in the sales) is useful to detect the temperature in my honey warming cabinet. Also great to check my overwintering mini-nucs aren’t getting frozen solid (though no chance of that this winter … 😦 ).

  2. Pingback: Warming honey | Beekeeping afloat

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