Creamed honey

Which of these is the odd one out?

Comb honey, chunk honey, baker’s honey, creamed honey, blossom honey, borage honey, Scottish honey, honeydew honey?

Anyone?

Reserved descriptions

Honey that is for sale needs to be labelled properly.

I don’t intend to discuss the labelling regulations as, a) they may be different here in Scotland to wherever you live, b) they’re a bit of a minefield, and c) if revised this page would quickly become out of date.

However, logicall, honey that is for sale needs to have a label that includes the word ‘honey’.

Makes sense so far 😉

In addition, there are a number of reserved descriptions such as comb honey, borage honey, Scottish honey that are allowed.

These reserved descriptions may be only used ‘where the product meets the definition’.

So, you can only use the words ‘comb honey‘ when the honey is sold wholly or partly in the comb. You can only use the reserved description ‘borage honey‘ if the honey is primarily made from nectar collected from borage etc.

Similarly, the honey must be collected entirely within a certain geographic area to be named after the area.

The odd one out is ‘creamed honey‘.

My understanding is that this used to be allowed 1 but is no longer an acceptable reserved description. It’s certainly not listed as such on the Trading Standards website 2.

It’s no longer acceptable because honey doesn’t contain cream.

Creamed honey

I think this is disappointing … after all, creamed honey never contained cream as far as I’m aware.

Instead the description was meant to indicate the smooth consistency of the product, the ‘melt on your tongue’ creamy texture.

Soft set (spring) local honey

Why should food names and labels be literal? After all, we eat hot dogs and sweetbreads 3.

When I last checked these weren’t made from dogs … or bread 4.

But it was clearly too confusing for some, so – inevitably – the word ‘creamed’ was banned from use as a reserved description on honey labels 🙁

But creamed has another meaning.

The Oxford English Dictionary includes the following definition of ‘creamed’ …

To deal with vigorously and with success, esp. to beat or thrash; to defeat heavily, as in sporting contexts; to ruin or wreck (a motor vehicle, etc.). colloquial (originally U.S.).

… the usage of which dates back to 1929.

And this is a perfect description of an easy way to produce a really high quality honey from coarse- and fast-granulating nectars like oil seed rape.

Oil seed rape (OSR)

For many beekeepers OSR provides a bumper early season honey harvest. The honey is extracted in late May or early June, allowed to set and then processed for sale.

Anyone who has bees near OSR will know that the honey, without processing, is spoonbendingly 5 hard.

Mid-April in the apiary ...

Mid-April in a Warwickshire apiary …

To make it spreadable (and saleable) I usually use a version of the Dyce method for producing soft set honey.

Frankly, this is a bit of a palaver 6.

Soft set honey

You need to completely melt the honey, cool it to 34°C, seed it with a honey with a suitable fine crystal structure, mix it thoroughly and then allow it to set at ~13°C with very regular stirring.

This whole process takes several days.

It’s not constant work and it’s not particularly hard work, but it is all a bit protracted. Done properly it produces honey with a good texture that sells well … and is outstanding on crumpets.

All gone … soft set honey from OSR

There are other ways of achieving this … such as buying an automated machine which does all the intermittent stirring for you.

At a price … perhaps £2500 with full temperature control.

But I don’t want to produce 50 or 100 kg of honey at a time. And I don’t want yet another piece of equipment sitting around taking up valuable space.

Like the majority of the 45,000 beekeepers in the UK, I produce nothing like the quantities of honey to justify this commercial-scale equipment.

And, like the majority of those 45,000 beekeepers, I don’t want to spend all of my time producing honey to pay for this sort of equipment. I want to rear some queens, walk in the hills, go sailing or drink coffee on the patio.

Frosting in soft set honey

Furthermore, in my experience soft set honey can show significant batch-to-batch variation in terms of its tendency to develop frosting in the jar. Some batches never show frosting, others develop the unsightly appearance (that has no influence on the flavour) within a week or two.

Honey with frosting

Honey with frosting

In my experience, I and third party sellers are more concerned about the unsightly appearance than the customers are.

I want to produce a honey that tastes and looks good.

The shopkeeper wants a honey that they know is going to sell well.

It’s not entirely clear to me what causes frosting. Some has the distribution and appearance that suggests minute bubbles have risen through the honey, getting trapped under the shoulders of the jar.

At other times it looks as though the honey has contracted slightly, pulling away from the sidewalls of the jar.

The example above is particularly unsightly and looks very like the honey is re-crystallising again, losing the ‘melt on your tongue’ crystal structure for something altogether coarser. Whatever, they went back to the furthest recesses of the cupboard where I found them 😉

Creaming honey

There’s another way to generate a fine crystal structure from a coarsely crystallised honey.

You cream it … in the OED sense of the word:

You vigorously beat it … 

Which neatly brings me to the Rapido / Rasant Honey Creamer.

Rapido / Rasant honey creamer

A few months ago Calum – who regularly submits insightful comments to posts on this site – recommended this honey creamer for processing oil seed rape honey (OSR). Calum called it the Rapido. It’s produced by Germerott Bienentechnik and they appear to call it the ‘Rasant‘ (and have what looks like a second variant available since I purchased mine).

The Rapido is a stainless steel paddle that is used to vigorously beat the honey. It’s about 9 cm in diameter and is securely mounted on a 60 cm shaft. The non-honey end of the shaft is hexagonal and can therefore be secured in the chuck of a powerful drill.

The instructions indicated a 1000 W drill was required, or – with a different fitting at the non-honey end of the shaft – you can use a plasterers mixer 7.

And it works a treat:

This is a 30 lb bucket of honey converted from coarsely crystallised to a beautifully fine crystal structure in a little under four minutes.

Usage

It’s not quite as quick as I’ve described as you still need to pre-warm the honey and allow time for it to settle.

Here’s the full process I’ve used for about four buckets (~60 kg) of OSR honey in the last month.

  1. Warm the bucket in a honey warming cabinet at 30-33°C. It must be warmed right through, so leave for at least 12-15 hours.
  2. Remove any surface scum if there is any. The majority of my buckets don’t have any, so this can be skipped. My set OSR honey has already been through a coarse and fine stainless steel filters during extraction.
  3. Starting slowly as shown above, mix with the Rapido. Make sure all the honey is mixed, which may involve pushing the non-rotating paddle down the sidewalls of the bucket to loosen it slightly 8.
  4. Continue mixing for 3-4 minutes until the honey is the consistency shown at the end of the video.
  5. Pour into a bucket with tap.
  6. Return to the honey warming cabinet at 30-33°C for a further 12-15 hours to allow bubbles to settle out (or is that rise out?). I’m not certain this stage is needed … but since it involves me doing nothing it’s easy to do.
  7. Jar the honey.
  8. Allow to cool. Add labels.
  9. Sell the honey and wait for the plaudits and repeat custom 🙂 It will happen.

Once the resulting honey cools it has a wonderful texture – easy to spoon and spread, but does not drip off the spoon.

Just perfect for crumpets or homemade bread 🙂

This really is honey that has been ‘creamed’ … beaten vigorously and with success.

I’d like to end with a “big shout out” (as the young people say) to Calum for the recommendation in the first place.

Thanks mate 🙂


Notes

A shorter post than usual this week as I’m moving house 9. I’m writing this when I should be packing boxes … or trying to find things I now need that were packed into boxes yesterday. Assuming things have gone to plan I’m no longer a permanent resident of Fife (though I’ll continue to work there) and now live in the wild west 🙂

Germerott Bienentechnik don’t have a UK distributor for the Rasant honey creamer (I know, because I’ve chatted with them about it) so it needs to be purchased direct from Germany. It costs ~€50 but is quite heavy so shipping costs are high. Post-Brexit there may also be additional taxes involved 🙁

UPDATE (23/2/21) As indicated in the comments below, Thorne’s now appear to be selling this as a honey churner … at least it looks identical to me. I’ve also been in contact with Werner and Klaus at Bienentechnik and they are happy to take your order and can be contacted on info@bienentechnik.com. Inevitably, there may be some post-Brexit shipping issues to overcome 🙁

Finally, there’s always a demand for raw honey. Although I still wouldn’t call this honey ‘raw‘, I can claim honestly that it’s not been heated to temperatures higher than would naturally occur in the hive. Some customers will prefer this.

Footnotes

  1. Or was widely used, perhaps before reserved descriptions were introduced.
  2. Interestingly, label manufacturers still sell “Creamed (or sometimes cremed) honey” labels that can be used in addition to the front label on the jar where the reserved description, or just the word honey is printed.
  3. And what about spotted dick or Rocky Mountain oysters for goodness sake?!
  4. Those in the know will be well aware that Rocky Mountain oysters are nothing to do with shellfish … and good luck to those brave enough to search for spotted dick on the internet.
  5. For overseas readers be warned that spoonbendingly is not a real word. It should be.
  6. Colloquial (chiefly West African). Trouble, difficulty; bother, ‘hassle’.
  7. Don’t bother trying to use a cordless drill or an underpowered corded drill … you will burn it out. My 650 W drill struggled and I purchased a 1010 W one that is now dedicated for creamed honey production.
  8. The instructions make it clear that the whirling paddle should not come into contact with sidewall of the bucket – presumably to avoid filling the honey with thousands of plastic scrapings or shards.
  9. Though not that much shorter … it’s still longer than the average post just 3 years ago.

75 thoughts on “Creamed honey

  1. Sandy

    I see Aldi selling ” multifloral” manuka honey. Are there different manukas????
    Or do they get off with more?

    Reply
    1. David Post author

      Hi Sandy

      I’ve not seen the jar and I won’t be buying any … however, I suspect this is a blended honey with a trace of manuka. Or at least with manuka as a minor component. A quick web search shows that the MGO (methylglyoxal) rating is 100+ which is relatively low.

      Cheers
      David

      Reply
  2. Kasia Walker

    I don’t think I ever want to try honey-dew honey. Comes out the wrong end as far as I am concerned!!

    Reply
    1. David Post author

      Hi Kasia

      The ‘wrong end’ of the aphid, but not the bee. But if you think about what the bees do in terms of nectar collection, regurgitation and ‘handling’ the honey during storage then there’s a lot to to think ‘Ewwww’ about 😉

      Cheers
      David

      Reply
  3. David

    Good luck with your move David, I hope all your bees settle into life in the west.

    I look forward to hearing how the forage and seasons differ for you.

    Cheers,

    David

    Reply
    1. David Post author

      Hi David

      I’m not moving any bees … I’m (now!) living in a Varroa-free area so have bees here which have no mites. One less thing to worry about 🙂

      Unfortunately, I expect to be unpacking for the next 7 months so will miss this season altogether 🙁

      Cheers
      David

      Reply
  4. Deb

    Short and sweet!

    Thank you David for useful blog on how to deal with crystallised OSR. (I’m going to have a go with a kitchen hand blender and will let you know how it goes in May when our OSR crop is harvested down here in the sunny south)

    Reply
    1. David Post author

      Good luck … make sure you warm it right through first. A hand blender might not have the ‘oomph’ to generate the necessary small crystal size. I’ll be interested to hear how you get on.

      Cheers
      David

      Reply
  5. Calum Grigor

    😀
    Thanks for the shout out.

    David, really happy that I didn’t oversell it to you, great work instructions! I don’t return mine to heat to let the bubbles rise, as I use a tea urn water bath to warm through – 3hrs warming is plenty for my 12,5kg buckets – worry about it getting too runny.
    Br
    Calum

    Reply
    1. David Post author

      Hi Calum

      Heat transfer from liquid is much more efficient than in my honey warming cabinet … hence you can get away with a much shorter “incubation period”. Going by the space the cabinet takes up it’s something that I should investigate.

      Thanks again for the suggestion … delighted with it 🙂
      Cheers
      David

      Reply
    2. Dani Akrigg

      Calum. How did you get this shipped to the U.K. please?
      I’ve just tried to order one and they wouldn’t accept the shipping address
      Thanks
      Dani

      Reply
      1. David Post author

        Hi Dani

        Thorne’s have just started selling it … they call it a honey churner.

        I wrote this post several days ago and I’d been in contact with the guys in Germany who produce it – they didn’t then have a supplier in the UK and I gave them details of the leading equipment suppliers in the UK.

        I got a direct email from someone who read this post who updated me … with thanks. I’ll add a note/correct the page (as appropriate) when I get a bit more time.

        Cheers
        David

        Reply
        1. Alison Hine

          Thank you for a really useful article.
          I found the honey churner on Thorne’s website after I couldn’t complete the German shipping form. Looking forward to using it – but I’ve had to buy a new drill as well, which I had to smuggle into the bee shed quickly.

          It’s still cheaper than the machine!

          Alison

          Reply
          1. David Post author

            Hello Alison

            I too needed a more powerful drill 🙁 Mine is stored in the honey warming cabinet so that it is not inadvertently also used for drilling holes in things … It’s surprising how dusty and dirty a drill gets in normal use. The last thing I want is this being shaken off into my bucket of honey. It feels a bit excessive, but ‘Honey with sawdust and some shards of metal from my last DIY job’ is tricky to fit on my labels 😉

            Good luck with your ‘creamed’ honey.
            David

          2. sarah price

            Hi Alison which drill did you buy? I am looking for recommendations – thanks
            Sarah

  6. Eric McArthur

    Bakers make bread and other oven ready products but not honey.
    Frosting is indeed the result of entrained air. Unsightly frosting on the jar side can be dissipated by judicial heating; in hot water – never microwave honey!!

    Eric McArthur

    Reply
    1. David Post author

      Hello Eric

      Absolutely … never microwave honey. The most irritating frosting appears after the jars have been labelled of course 🙂 With some set honey I’ve seen (and prepared 🙁 ) it shrinks away from the sidewalls of the jar. It’s less ugly that the frosting shown above, but it certainly makes the jar look a lot less attractive on the shelf. It’s batch dependent.

      Cheers
      David

      Reply
  7. Ann

    Hello David, thank you for another interesting blog. Is it possible to damage the plastic bucket with the Rapido and gouge out flakes of plastic?

    Reply
    1. David Post author

      Hello Ann

      The instructions state that it should be kept away from the ‘walls’ of the bucket. The edges of the paddle are smooth, as is the end, so I think you’d have to go out of your way to damage the bucket. I would not use it with a bucket fitted with a tap though … and I’ve always taken care to try and not contact the bucket walls.

      Cheers
      David

      Reply
  8. James Reid

    Hi David
    Another really useful blog, thank you. I will need to research drills although I already have two, neither of which are likely to have enough mph You can’t have enough drills.
    Interesting that you are on the move again. We are probably going to move back from Ayr to York – more oilseed rape there (and the missus might be happier too!).
    As a matter of interest, reading your link to walks in Sunart, mention of coffin roads caught my eye. Have you read Peter May’s Coffin Road? If not, I think you might like it. It involves bees, murder and mystery!
    Good luck with the packing.

    Reply
    1. David Post author

      Hi James

      I’ve just started the unpacking 🙁 … it’s never-ending. However, I did find a kilogram of queen candy in the bottom of the freezer and the propolis screens I’d lost 🙂

      I’ve read ‘Coffin Road’. I thought the beekeeping bits in it were a bit contrived. I prefer some of the earlier books by Peter May like The Black House.

      York is a nice part of the world … of course, not quite as nice as Scotland 😉 You’ll certainly get more OSR, though remember that you can get too much of a good thing.

      Cheers
      David

      Reply
  9. Kim

    I clicked on the link to making soft set honey and I can across an abbreviation I didn’t recognize: HMF. What do you consider elevated temps?

    Reply
    1. David Post author

      Hi Kim

      I’ve got a half-written post on HMF so will discuss this sometime in the future. My elevated temperatures might not be the same as those of my customers … however, if it’s never been warmed to a temperature higher than would be achieved in the hive (35°C) then I think it could be argued that the honey has not been subjected to elevated temperatures. HMF production is a consequence of elevated temperature AND time, so it’s not as easy as just saying 50°C or whatever.

      Cheers
      David

      Reply
    1. David Post author

      Hello Margaret

      I’m sure that would work well. The one we have in the kitchen is too short to get close to the bottom of a 15 kg bucket of honey so I’d either have to decant it, or find an alternate model. I’d also have to ensure I returned it to the kitchen in an unsticky state 😉

      Cheers
      David

      Reply
    2. Ann

      Interesting to hear this, Margaret. I tried it once and burnt out the blender which overheated. Maybe I just had a very cheap blender!

      Reply
  10. Philip Moore

    We changed our wording on our label to “whipped” and sales are much higher. Consumers found the term creamed odd and confused with being a dairy product. Also personally when I hear the term “creamed” I have flashbacks of my childhood having to eat “creamed” onions at Thanksgiving. Disgusting. I digress…

    Reply
    1. David Post author

      Hi Philip

      I’m with you on the creamed onions … there are better ways to enjoy them. I don’t spend a lot of time looking at honey jars in stores, but don’t recall much over here being sold as ‘whipped’. Our reserved descriptions include presentation/processing methods such as comb, chunk, drained, extracted, pressed and filtered. However, additional clarifying words such as ‘clear’, ‘natural’ can also be added provided they do not mislead, which is probably where ‘creamed’ falls foul of the rules. Whether whipped would increase sales (assuming it’s allowed) in the UK is – as they say – an exercise for the reader 😉

      Cheers
      David

      Reply
  11. Dani Akrigg

    Hi David.
    This gizmo looks amazing
    You show this on OSR
    Do you think it would work equally well on crystallised blossom honey?
    Thanks
    Dani

    Reply
    1. David Post author

      Hi Dani

      I see no reason why not … report back if it works. All my blossom honey remains clear and runny so I’m unlikely to get the chance to try it.

      Cheers
      David

      Reply
        1. David Post author

          Hello Dan

          Calum might reply separately …

          The entire point of this creamer is that the crystals present in the honey are broken down and made smaller. If you melted the blossom honey first – assuming you mean melt and not warm – then the crystals are gone already and you’d just be creaming a liquid honey. When this crystallises again it’s likely that the original crystal structure (coarse, hard) will reform as this is a consequence of the sucrose/fructose content and the microscopic particulates which act as nucleation centres for the crystals … none of which you’ve altered.

          If I was using this for a blossom-type honey I would use it exactly as I describe above – warm the honey to about 31-33°C to soften it – then cream it.

          I’ve noticed that the Thorne’s instructions for using this creamer – at least those linked from the page on their website – suggest melting the honey. They are badly written and should be ignored. What they are doing is describing the Dyce method.

          As I hope is clear from the post, this is an alternative way of producing a soft, spoonable but crystallised honey. The end product is different from that that produced using the Dyce method. Different, not inferior.

          Cheers
          David

          Reply
  12. james laishley

    Great article. I have noticed a very large field near me planted with Rape . This will be my first experience with Rape so your article was well timed. Thank you

    Silly question. Could you use a standard plaster mixing tool in your drill to cream the honey

    Reply
    1. David Post author

      Hello James

      I’d be wary about using a plaster mixing tool … they’re not exactly ‘food safe’. Enjoy the OSR and make sure you extract it before it sets in the frames 😉

      Cheers
      David

      Reply
  13. Deb

    I so enjoy your posts, thankyou for the time you invest in this. When creaming honey I use fresh extracted Spring/Summer honey; I add my “starter” and let the bucket sit on the kitchen counter for about a week, stirring a few times a day; then it is jarred and goes into storage around 57 degrees F. It creams lovely, soft enough to spread on bread without ripping it. I do not use, or have, canola around me, otherwise I would be more aggressive and whip it. Here in the US it is called creamed, spun or whipped, which beekeepers argue about from time to time regarding the process corresponding to the name. Thanks again. Deb🐝

    Reply
    1. David Post author

      Hi Deb

      If you’re starting with ‘runny’ (freshly extracted) honey, then the seed you add will determine the consistency of the final mix, helped by a bit of mixing as it crystallises. The problem comes when you have 20 buckets of freshly extracted canola/OSR honey. There’s not enough space in the kitchen!

      Delighted you enjoy the posts.
      Cheers
      David

      Reply
        1. David Post author

          Hi Reto

          I’d be surprised if a dedicated paint stirrer was food-grade stainless steel as there’s no reason to make it that expensively …

          Whether it would work would require testing. It’s not just a case of stirring the warmed honey. You have beat it pretty hard to break up the crystal structure. My drill is running at ~1000 rpm, perhaps more, towards the end of the 4 minute process. You also want a process that doesn’t introduce too much air into the honey. As you can see from the video, I keep it under the surface throughout.

          Thorne’s sell this for £55. A 30 lb bucket of honey, processed, jarred and labelled, has a value of at least £250. I expect the one I bought to last a long time, so consider it a good investment.

          Cheers
          David

          PS A quick search turned up a couple of ‘stainless steel paint stirrers’ but none looked robust enough to me … 🙁

          Reply
  14. Fred

    Hi David

    Wow…. honestly, how did we not know about this before? Having spent years toiling/cursing /giving up on traditional methods often punctuated by family asking ‘are you still working at that ?’ This article felt like a Damascene moment. I had reached the point where I moved my hives with 24 hours of seeing the OSR faint yellow glow appearing and was sort of glad when our reliably poor late season weather prevented bees getting at the ivy. Without wishing to stir a political debate, over here in N Ireland we ‘re sort of still part of EEC and maybe could become unforeseen smugglers of Rasant?

    Anyhow ,thanks so much to you & Calum (or big shout out…)

    A local beekeeper recently helped me with a query (non smuggling) and when I offered thanks, he simply said ‘ We’re all beekeepers’

    Reply
    1. David Post author

      Hello Fred

      No need to be a smuggler … Thorne’s appear to be selling these now. All credit goes to Calum. He brought it to my attention and then reminded me a couple more times before I eventually ordered one 😉

      I’ve got a lot of OSR honey and am going to investigate blending some mixes this year to see how they turn out.

      Cheers
      David

      Reply
  15. Mark Lole

    Interesting , its my first year with osr honey and results have been ok .
    With this honey churner do you still add the seed honey ?
    Your articles are always interesting and a welcome read
    Mark

    Reply
    1. David Post author

      Hi Mark

      The instructions above are exactly what you do … no seed honey. The paddle breaks up the large crystals, leaving smaller ones. No need for the seed honey … which is what supplies the small crystals in the Dyce method.

      Cheers
      David

      Reply
  16. Ian King

    Thornes sell a similar paddle, not cheap but stainless steel – please be warned, do not use a plasterers paddle – its not food grade.

    Reply
        1. David Post author

          It could be the tens of thousands of readers … or perhaps they only had one in stock as they didn’t know how well it was going to sell 😉

          Well done for getting in early …

          David

          Reply
  17. Sarah Price

    This is great – I have a drill attachment for creaming my honey – it is more fan shaped – hard to use without letting quite a bit of air in – but it might be that I need a slower setting on my drill. Anyway thank you again for a wonderfully simple and considered method!

    Reply
    1. David Post author

      Hi Sarah

      You probably are referring to this one (or similar). I’ve not used one of those so can’t make the comparison. I’d want to be sure to keep the ends of the blades off the walls of the bucket to avoid any plastic shards.

      Cheers
      David

      Reply
      1. Julia Young

        I had a similar stainless steel mixer to Sarah’s which I had adjusted (added a screw thread) a similar paddle to the above so I could use it in my dedicated ex-Lidl plaster mixer. I’ve since done several versions of the Dyce method keeping part of the previous batch as the starter. I’m just in the middle of making a batch and wasn’t completely happy with the most recent starter so was going to look out the old pestle and mortar and make a new starter when I came across your blog article.

        Two questions.
        How important is the temperature whilst you are mixing? I don’t have a warming cupboard big enough to hold my big settling tank so it sits on the kitchen floor whilst I am mixing.
        How important is the speed of the drill? I’ve always kept my mixer very slow so I don’t introduce air and simply mix the honey. Your process looks more like a beating of the honey to decrease the crystal size.
        Many thanks for another thought provoking article.

        Reply
        1. David Post author

          Hello Julia

          This creamer works completely differently from the Dyce method … no seed honey is needed. It needs a powerful drill as the honey is only warmed to 30°C. If it was much cooler the honey would be completely set and almost impossible to stir. At 30°C it’s softish, but coarse crystals are still present throughout. You can see them at the beginning of the video. This method works by vigorously beating the honey to break up the crystal structure. Running the drill at a slow speed would not work.

          In the Dyce method you mix the honey relatively slowly to avoid introducing air (as you say). In this method you still try not to introduce air (by keeping the head of the creamer below the surface at all times) but the drill has to move fast enough to beat/shear the crystals thoroughly.

          Hope these comments help.
          Cheers
          David

          PS I made a couple of edits to your Q which looked like typos or autocorrects; player mixer = plaster mixer, but enough = big enough.

          Reply
          1. sarah price

            I wonder if it is something about the shape of Julia and my paddle that causes more air to come in than if it didn’t have the blades?

          2. David Post author

            Possibly … when I make soft set honey using the Dyce method I use a corkscrew-type mixer attached to a cordless drill.

            Corkscrew mixer

            These work well for this relatively low-speed mixing, but do mix a substantial amount of air into the honey. This causes frosting in jars and I always let the honey stand for 24 hours at ~37°C before jarring it to let the bubbles rise to the surface.

            Cheers
            David

  18. Sam

    Hi David, we use a method for producing a soft set OSR honey that has always worked well for us and produces a wonderfully textured (and saleable!) product. It was suggested by our mentor, Mike, when we began keeping bees some several years ago so all the credit should go to him.
    When we take our spring honey off we leave it in our brewing cupboard (we make quite a lot of wine!) for about 3-4 days and whenever we are passing (usually three or four times a day I guess) we give it a vigorous stir with a long plastic brewing spoon. If there’s no room in the cupboard we sit the bucket on a brewers heat pad.
    We then jar it up or if, like last year, we have lots we put it in big tubs and jar when required.
    We have wondered, however, whether our spring honey, although it is definitely mainly OSR, might contain a proportion of other nectars as it seems to have a slightly different taste to other OSR honeys we have sampled. Perhaps this is why we can get away with our method? We are lucky to live in a part of South Shropshire that does have a wide variety of spring blossom and we have orchards and a large ‘bee friendly’ garden so perhaps the bees mix it up a bit?

    Reply
    1. David Post author

      Hello Sam

      I suspect that most spring honey, even in areas with a lot of OSR, contain a mixture of nectars. I’ve also noticed the variation in flavours and just last w/e gave a friend two different batches and asked which he preferred. He also could easily tell them apart. You could always look at the pollens in the honey to get a better idea of what’s in it, or – even if you can’t identify them all – get an indication of the range of plants the bees have been visiting.

      Your method for soft set presumably works by breaking up the crystals as they form, only allowing the smaller (smoother) product to remain.

      Cheers
      David

      Reply
  19. sarah price

    Is it possible to have recommendations for a drill?
    I have now bought one of these mixers direct from the German company and it was reasonable postage and came very quickly – they are a very helpful company.

    Reply
    1. David Post author

      Hello Sarah

      This is the one I bought. It seems to have sufficient ‘oomph’ and I’ve processed at least half a dozen buckets of hard-set (but warmed) spring/OSR honey with it. It pongs a bit the first time you use it as the oil is burnt off, but no other issues.

      Don’t lift the mixer out of the honey until it has completely stopped rotating … and don’t ask me how I know that this is good advice 😉

      Cheers
      David

      Reply
      1. Ian King

        You have a price choice , mains 220v cheapish or brushless battery, I would if you can afford it the go the brushless battery route, no extensions and the battery’s last a good long time

        Reply
        1. David Post author

          Hi Ian

          You need a powerful drill for this creamer. My Bosch cordless drill has nothing like the ‘oomph’ required. I’m sure there are cordless options that are suitably powerful but suspect they might be very heavy or expensive (or both). If you have a particular recommendation please add it below.

          Thank you
          David

          Reply
  20. Sarah Price

    Hello, I have enjoyed very much this article and all this discussion which was very helpful for me processing the first bucket of what is 80 kilos of mostly OSR honey…. I used the mixer for 5 minutes (added a minute) and just like in the video it changed consistency etc. but now that it has kind of se (soft set)…. the grain is slightly more grainier than I would like – not quite as smooth…. I am wondering if this is everyone’s experience – that using this method (with all the benefits of it) might result in a slightly grainier soft set or whether I could beat it for longer (carefully as it is very easy to introduce air) and that increased time would break the crystals down more? I used the drill you recommended David and it whirred around just like in the video, so I think the speed was about right.

    Reply
  21. Richard

    For anyone thinking of buying the creamer, go to Werner directly. He has excellent English and replied to my enquiry almost immediately! Talk about German efficiency! It’s taken a few weeks to receive the creamer but with covid/Brexit I’m not complaining. As of time of writing Thornes don’t have this creamer on their website. Set honey now in the warmer, can’t wait to get creaming!

    Reply
    1. David Post author

      Excellent … many thanks Richard. I also dealt direct and was amazed at how quick delivery was (admittedly just pre-Brexit). I’ve used my creamer many times now and remain very pleased with it.

      Which model did you get? There now appear to be two. The Honey stirrer Rasant and the Honey stirrer Rasant II (very imaginative naming!). The latter appears to be a larger diameter and a rather simpler construction.

      I hope you’re very happy together (and make sure you use a powerful enough drill).

      Cheers
      David

      Reply
  22. sarah price

    I Also found Werner Very helpful and we had quite a conversation about brexit. My creamer came within a week! Unbelievable. I’m so pleased having had more OSR honey than ever and have got the consistency just right.

    Reply
  23. Richard

    Hi David.
    I went for the Rasant as that was the type you’d used. I wasn’t brave enough to try the new type!
    I’m going to try my old drill first but if it’s not up to the job I’ll get something more suitable.
    Thanks, Richard.

    Reply
    1. David Post author

      Hi Richard

      I’ve not done extensive trials but I think the creamer works better if the honey is warmed through but still rather granular. The temperature will depend upon the glucose/fructose content, but for me about 32-34°C seems to work best. I think the creaming is more effective if there’s a bit more resistance in the honey when mixed.

      This means that there’s more work for the drill to do … be warned ;). I bought an 1000W drill and it copes fine, but gets very hot indeed.

      Cheers
      David

      PS The model II appears to be manufactured slightly differently from the photos on the web. The model we both have is a hefty chunk of metal and should last well.

      Reply
  24. PHILIP MOORE

    Swienty makes a great machine. Our machine is 20 years old and never had any problems. We use it to make seed for larger batches. Larger batches we use a Maxant creamer which works great.

    Reply
    1. David Post author

      Hello Philip

      I suspect we’re talking about a rather different scale here … the automated Swienty and Dadant creamers I’m familiar with are €1-2k for 50 – 100 kg at a time. The ‘paddle’ discussed above is about £50. I’ve looked longingly at some of the automated creamers by Abelo and Swienty but simply cannot justify the expense for the scale I operate at.

      Anyway … what else would I do all winter if I just prepared all 200 kg of OSR honey in a single batch?

      😉

      Cheers
      David

      Reply
  25. Richard

    Hi David.
    I have my cabinet (your design) set at just over 30 so I’ll give that temperature a try. Decided not to use my old drill but I do have a powerful SDS drill/breaker that I think I can get a chuck adapter so I can use the creamer.

    From what I remember the newer type looks like it has sharp edges, not sure I’d want to use one in a plastic bucket…. As you say the older type is a big lump of metal, it’ll certainly last a lifetime of making creamed honey 🙂
    Thanks for replying and the advice 👍🏻

    Reply
    1. David Post author

      Hi Richard

      An SDS drill would probably be ideal.

      I agree about the sharp edges and plastic buckets. I’m careful even with the Rasant, and the instructions specifically say keep it away from the sidewalls of the bucket.

      Have fun,
      David

      Reply

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