Processing and storage of honey, bee bread, wax, frames with honeycombs

At the end of summer, I always buy honey in combs from beekeepers. It can be chewed like sweet gum, and in its beneficial properties it even surpasses ordinary liquid honey. But most of all I like it because you can be sure of the quality, because it is simply impossible to fake this product. Therefore, I try to take more of it, several frames at once. But then the question inevitably arises: how to store honey in honeycombs? However, over time I had an answer to it.

The benefits of comb honey

In addition to processed pollen, comb honey contains wax, wax and propolis, thanks to which it acquires its healing properties. The benefits of this product were known even in the ancient world, which is confirmed by references to it in the works of the great physician of those times, Avicenna.

The composition of comb honey includes amino acids, minerals, vitamins, sucrose, maltose, dextrose, succinic acid, carotene, enzymes and many other substances necessary for the body.

In folk medicine, this product is used to increase immunity and hemoglobin, stimulate appetite, as well as mental and physical development in children; They treat diseases of the respiratory system and diseases of the thyroid gland. In addition, cellular honey normalizes the activity of the gastrointestinal tract, removes toxins from the body, improves the functioning of the kidneys and cardiovascular system, activates metabolism and normalizes blood pressure. Honeycomb honey is even used to prevent caries and get rid of nicotine addiction. The benefits of this product are simply enormous, and therefore it is worth making every effort to keep it at home in pristine condition for as long as possible.

How to store honey in honeycombs at home

The healthiest honey is the one that was collected in the spring, but its storage conditions are more demanding. The optimal storage temperature is 3-10 degrees. Temperatures above the established indicators have a detrimental effect on the composition, the chemical composition is poorer.

Important: frames are like a sponge that absorbs all the odors of the environment, so there should be no products with a strong smell nearby.

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Main Enemies

The presence of propolis in comb honey provides it with natural preservation. Microbes are not dangerous for honeycombs, which leads to a very long shelf life. Interestingly, thanks to the natural “packaging”, the bee product does not even harden, but can remain in a liquid state for up to three years. But microbes are far from the only enemies of frames after they are removed from the hives. Moisture is a much greater danger. Beeswax is very hygroscopic; if the humidity exceeds the permissible limits, the honey in the combs will begin to ferment and sour.

The second enemy of frames is the sun . If you leave honeycombs under its rays, the beneficial substances in them begin to be destroyed, and after a certain time this medicinal product becomes completely useless. Therefore, experienced beekeepers diligently avoid storing frames not only in the sun, but also simply at high temperatures.

The third enemy is insects , in particular, wax moths. In just 5 days, it can go from an egg to an adult and seriously damage the integrity of the honey frame. The moth is an insect up to 3.5 cm long (the average length of its body is 1.5 cm) and is especially active during the hot period of the year. When the temperature drops below 10 ºС, the moth is no longer able to reproduce and develop from eggs. By the way, this insect prefers musty rooms and really does not like ventilation. If there is good air circulation around the frames, and the temperature in the room is below 10 ºС, then no moths are afraid of the honeycombs. In addition, such conditions increase their shelf life by an order of magnitude.

And finally, the fourth enemy of comb honey is mold . If the humidity in the room is too low, this unpleasant phenomenon may appear on the honeycombs. You can only get rid of mold with drastic measures, so it is better to prevent its occurrence.

If honey is within

If you are given a whole frame of honey, don’t be surprised and don’t consider it an inconvenience. Such a gift has very useful properties, as mentioned above. The question rightly arises of how to store honey in frames.

Everything is very simple. Empty the contents from the frame and cut the honeycomb into small pieces. Then place them in a suitable container with an airtight lid. Store either in the refrigerator or in a cool, dark place.

Another unique component of the frame is wax, which will help cope with colds. It has a beneficial effect on the throat and relieves sore throat symptoms when chewed. You can use honey with wax and as cosmetic masks and facial scrubs.

Storage conditions

But let’s finally figure out how to store honey in honeycombs, and what conditions need to be created for it to retain all its beneficial properties.

First of all, provide it with a suitable temperature regime. It is best to store honeycombs at a temperature of 3-10 ºС. It would be optimal to organize storage in a dry basement or pantry, but you need to ensure that the room is well ventilated and the humidity level does not exceed 60%. And in no case should you allow sudden temperature changes, which significantly shorten the shelf life.

Maintaining a normal humidity level for honeycombs at home will not be difficult, but the only way to ensure honey at a low temperature at home is in the refrigerator, so make sure in advance that there is enough storage space. You can carefully separate the honeycomb into small pieces and place them in a shallow bowl. You should not put several layers in one container, as the honeycombs may stick together. It is best to store each piece in a separate container.

By the way, the dishes must be closed with lids. This will protect the honeycombs from fluctuations in humidity in the refrigerator and from the penetration of foreign odors. The fact is that honey absorbs aromas very well, and since there is something pungently smelling in the refrigerator every now and then, after a while the honeycombs will smell like anything but their natural smell.

The choice of dishes also needs to be approached very responsibly. Beekeepers store honeycombs in wooden boxes treated with putty. You won’t put boxes at home, so just choose a suitable smaller container for the honey. It is best to organize storage in a glass, wooden, enamel or clay container and be sure to tightly close it with a lid. But honey cannot be stored in copper, iron or galvanized containers, since toxic compounds are formed in it.

What utensils are needed?

You may ask, how to properly store honey in honeycombs at home? Our grandparents stored this precious product in earthenware, but nowadays the most affordable option is glass. The material is absolutely neutral, never, under any circumstances, reacts, much less releases toxic substances. Its main disadvantage is transparency, which can play into the hands of the sun.

Plastic containers have become widespread; anyone who often goes to bazaars has seen that all the honey is sold in plastic containers. This option is great for sale and short-term storage. After all, under the influence of sunlight, a plastic product loses its properties and begins to release toxic substances. Therefore, storing honeycombs in plastic containers for a long period is strictly prohibited.

Metal is a rather controversial material for storing honey, although many beekeepers use stainless steel cans to transport large volumes of bee products. Over time, the metal oxidizes and this leads to honey spoilage. Moreover, it is the moisture contained in the product that leads to the oxidation of the metal.

Wooden dishes are an optimal replacement for glass, because during storage, amber nectar acquires the unsurpassed taste and aroma of wood. But, you should protect yourself from using dishes made from coniferous trees, which release essential oils. The optimal solution is linden, birch or beech.

Shelf life

How long does honey last in honeycombs? According to some beekeepers, the shelf life of nectar is practically unlimited, but in reality it is no more than 3 years, subject to all the rules described above. Studies show that every year honey loses up to 16% of its beneficial properties, so simple calculations show a storage period of 2 to 3 years.

To increase this period, the honeycombs must first be divided into small parts and placed in separate containers for storage. You should not put them in a heap, as they may stick together. Each piece can also be filled with liquid nectar, so to speak, preserved, and in this form the product will bring much more benefits.

Expiration dates

And now about how long you can store honeycombs at home. If the temperature is maintained, this product lasts for a very long time. Experienced beekeepers claim that honey can be stored in honeycombs for as long as desired, even for decades and centuries. But I am of the opinion that this sweetness still has its shelf life, because, according to research results, after a year the antibacterial properties of honey decrease by 8-16%.

How long are cells stored? On average, their shelf life is 2-3 years if all conditions are met. If you doubt that you have organized the storage correctly, it is better not to keep the honeycombs at home for more than a year. At room temperature, the shelf life of the frames is reduced to six months.

By the way, when excavating Egyptian pyramids, archaeologists found honeycomb honey, which was quite suitable for food. And in Ancient Rus', honeycomb aged two and three years was highly valued.

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Shelf life of honey

Under the influence of external factors, the organoleptic characteristics of honey change. Healing characteristics may be lost even if a number of recommendations are followed. Therefore, it is recommended to keep it at home for no more than two years. When exposed to light and humidity, the beneficial qualities can quickly evaporate. It begins to darken, crystallize and thicken just a couple of weeks after pumping out of the frames.

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In apartment conditions, when the temperature constantly reaches more than 22C, spoilage can occur much faster. At high temperatures, honey begins to deteriorate and darken within six to nine months.

Recommended temperature and humidity levels?

Regardless of whether you plan to store honey in honeycombs or in a more familiar liquid state, certain conditions must be maintained, otherwise the product will deteriorate very quickly:

  • Storage at room temperature is acceptable, but only if it does not exceed 20ºC. In the kitchen, this indicator is rarely maintained, so it is better to choose a cooler place for the product.
  • If the house is very warm, then young honey begins to ferment, while stale honey acquires an unpleasant taste.
  • The optimal temperature for storing honey is from -6ºС to 10-15ºС. Such conditions are provided by a refrigerator, cellar or pantry that is not adjacent to the pipes or kitchen wall where the stove is located. They allow you to significantly extend the shelf life of the product and maintain it in the desired condition during this time.
  • Despite the permissibility of using freezing for the purpose of storing food, resorting to this approach is not recommended. Because the composition hardens very quickly and you have to use hot water to defrost it.

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As for humidity, its optimal level is 60%. Sudden jumps or prolonged exposure of the composition to a too humid or dry atmosphere can lead to its rapid deterioration.

How to store honey in honeycombs at home

Honey in combs is different from ordinary honey. This is due to the fact that it contains beeswax. The storage conditions for this delicacy are the same as for the liquid one. It must be kept in a dark room. It is important to monitor the humidity level. If it is increased, then the product may deteriorate, and if it is decreased, then moths or mold will appear in it. In addition, you should not allow this delicacy to be adjacent to perishable foods.

It is much better to store honey in honeycombs. This is due to a number of factors:

  • During pumping from the honeycomb, the product may lose most of its vitamins.
  • The wax also contains a large number of useful substances.
  • While the honeycomb is sealed, its contents remain sterile and therefore contain no bacteria at all. This, in turn, causes long-term storage of the treat.
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