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How To Process Honey, Keep The Quality

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Saul Kamukama, a honey processor, says consumers sometimes complain about the colour and taste of the honey. He says honey consumers complain because they are ignorant about the qualities of good honey.

According to Kamukama the differences in the quality of honey is mainly due to handling during harvesting and storage.

Kamukama has academic training in food science and technology and has been dealing in honey for 23 years. Harvesting The first step is to separate the uncapped honey from the capped one. This is because uncapped honey will contain immature honey.

“When the uncapped and capped honey is mixed, the honey will be light in thickness and colour,” he says.

“It will also have higher moisture contents, which allow fermentation hence decay.”

He says honey could also be different because of weather patterns.

Honey harvested after the dry season will be thick and heavy and the reverse is true during the wet season.

“The maturing of honey requires evaporation, which is high during dry seasons. Evaporation helps the honey to lose the moisture.”

Storage

Kamukama says honey should be kept airtight at all times.

“This prevents the honey from absorbing water. This state helps the honey to retain its natural ability to fight bacteria penetration by osmosis,” he says.

He adds: “Even when airtight, honey should not be kept near kerosene jerrycans or ghee, as it has a high tainting ability. Containers for storage should also be dry.”

Kamukama says crystallisation of honey is due to several factors, among them the source of nectar and the storage temperature.

“The nectar source gives the ratio of glucose to sucrose in the honey. If there is more glucose, the honey is more likely to crystallise. Also, chilling the honey will lead to crystallisation,” he explains.

Quality of honey

“The honey in Uganda is of good quality because it is organic. The bees also collect nectar from diverse sources,” he points out.

“If at all there is poisonous nectar, the bee dies before entering the bee hive, hence the risk of poisonous honey is nil,” he adds.

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