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What to do if Your Harvested Honey is High Moisture, Ferments, or Smells Soured
High moisture honey can certainly be a problem! Honey over 19% water can easily ferment. We often see high moisture honey in especially wet springs or humid areas, if honey is harvested too early, or water was introduced during extracting. There are some simple tricks to reduce the moisture content of honey on a small scale.
First, you will need a refractometer to see what the moisture content of your honey is. If it seems especially runny, it's a good idea to get it tested. If the moisture is above 19%, heating or cooling, and mixing the honey over a period of days can reduce the moisture.
Here are some options for reducing moisture if you have high moisture honey:
- Simply bottle and freeze your honey immediately after harvesting and thaw jars out as needed. Frozen honey cannot ferment.
- Place your honey in a 5 gallon bucket. Place the bucket in a small room, an enclosure like an old refrigerator, or a large ice chest inside your house where the humidity is low. Place a small fan in the enclosure, and leave the door cracked slightly. Warm the space to 95-110 degrees with a light bulb. Leave the lid off the bucket, and stir 2-3 times per day. After about a week, it should reduce the moisture by 1-2%.
- Similarly, you can chill the honey to about 65 degrees in a small enclosure, and follow the same steps above.
- Purchase a small dehumidifier and place it in an enclosed area with your honey, mixing 2-3 times per day for a week. This will also pull the moisture out of the honey.