Mead Lover’s Digest #163 Wed 30 June 1993

Forum for Discussion of Mead Brewing and Consuming
John Dilley, Digest Coordinator


Crystallised Honey. (malcolm roe)
Re: mesquite honey characteristics? (shag)
Mesquite Honey (Forrest Cook)

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Date: Tue, 29 Jun 1993 10:48:08 +0100 (BST)
From: (malcolm roe)
Subject: Crystallised Honey.

Honey is mainly a supersaturated solution of glucose and dextrose.
The bees raise the concentration to this level to ensure that wild
yeasts will not cause the honey to ferment. Because it is
supersaturated it will always crystallize if given enough time.
Note that it is just a change of phase. There is no water loss.
Indeed, if you leave honey open to the air for any length of time
it will absorb water, not loose it.

The tendency to crystallize differs from one type of honey to another.
This is a very complicated subject. Usually the most important factor
is the glucose to dextrose ratio but the presence of traces of certain
proteins can inhibit crystallization. The other important thing is the
presence of seeds on which crystallization can start. Often particles
of pollen act as seeds. As a consequence, natural honey is more prone
to crystallize than processed honey which has been well filtered (as
well as pasteurized, blended, etc., etc.)

To return honey to its liquid state just warm it in one of the ways
mentioned previously by other members of this group. I find 2 mins per
pound in the microwave convenient. Often this is not sufficent so I
wrap the jar in some insulation, such as a towel, to retain the heat
and leave it for an hour or so. Try to avoid excessive heating. It
can spoil the honey.

As a matter of interest, if you want to promote crystallization, you can
add a small quantity of already crystallized honey to act as a seed. A
teaspoonful stirred in is usually very effective.

As regards mead making, the important thing to know is that there is
nothing wrong with crystallized honey. You can liquify it first of all
if you want but it is not necessary (providing it is not so hard that
you can’t get the honey out of the container!) You will be adding more
than enough water to ensure that all the sugars will enter solution.

Malcolm Roe Phone : +44 442 230000 ext 4104
Crosfield Electronics Ltd Fax : +44 442 232301
Hemel Hempstead, Herts. HP2 7RH, UK E-mail :

Date: Tue, 29 Jun 1993 07:09:36 -0700
Subject: Re: mesquite honey characteristics?

My last batch was a spicy mesquite mead — it came out
pretty darn spicy. I don’t know if I put in too much
spice, if the mesquite honey added some spiciness, if
there was some kind of nonlinear effect of both spice
and mesquite, etc. I’d do it again, though — the
mesquite honey is pretty yummy. In fact, I made some
baklava with the mesquite honey I had leftover, but
that’s another story.


Date: Tue, 29 Jun 1993 10:32:29 -0600
From: Forrest Cook <cook@stout.atd.ucar.EDU>
Subject: Mesquite Honey

In response to Brian Smithey’s questions about mesquite honey,
We brewed up a batch of Mesquite-Vanilla mead this spring and noticed
a very interesting tangy bite from the honey. It reminded me a bit of
a citrus flavor but I have had difficulty pinning down the exact flavor.
The flavor is definitely good and seems to mix nicely with vanilla.
I’ll let you know how it tastes in about a year when I start opening up
bottles of "Thrilla from Vanilla".

Forrest Cook WB0RIO

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