Perhaps you are already a fan of this sweet treat drizzled on ice cream, stirred into your morning coffee or added to those favorite baked cookies. Call it what you will: dehydrated honey, honey powder, or crystals-it is just another way to enjoy a remarkable substance made by bees. Consider trying something new and learn how to dehydrate honey at home.
Can You Really Dry Honey?
Yes, honey can be dried to a powdery form -by removing most of the moisture content. The bees have already started the job by reducing the water in plant nectar. You can take things to the next step and remove even more of the water content.
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The powder form is nothing more than honey that has been dehydrated and ground into small crystals or powder.
How fine you grind the end product is a manner of personal preference. You may choose a very fine powder or even a slightly larger crystal resembling raw sugar.
Of course, you can buy honey powder ready to use. However, be sure to read the labels. It may contain other ingredients to ensure good pouring.
That is perfectly okay, just be sure you know what you are paying for. When you dehydrate your own honey at home, you control any additives.
Benefits of Dehydrated Honey
Already one of the most shelf stable foods, honey lasts virtually forever. When stored properly honey does not go bad. Yes, it may crystallize to a solid consistency.
Since this food made by bees is already so wonderful, why bother with dehydration? Sometimes, we want to use it in another form. The flavor of honey powder sprinkled on food offers a different texture than the liquid version.
Dehydrated honey is easier to store because it takes up less room. It dissolves faster in beverages – especially cold drinks.
Also, it is much easier to use in baking because you don’t have to adjust the liquid level in the recipes. In this form you can use it just like sugar. However, since it is sweeter than sugar maybe you can use less.
Choosing the Best Honey
There are many varieties to consider for your dehydration project. The color of honey and flavor is determined to a large degree by the plant nectar source used by the bees.
When it is made from many different nectar sources, it is often called “Wildflower Honey.” If only one nectar source was used primarily you get varieties such as Sourwood Honey, Clover Honey or even Orange Blossom.
When you are planning to dry honey, any variety will work. However, the product straight from the beekeeper often yields the best results. This should be no surprise as a small-scale producer has the opportunity to carefully tend to each jar.
For commercial purposes, large food packers sometimes filter their product to keep the jar looking nice for a long time. This packaging process may remove some of the good benefits of this raw food.
However, if you cannot locate any directly from a beekeeper. Try to find the best raw product at the grocery.
The viscosity of honey does vary and it is temperature dependent too. Thick honey will work better than that which is runny with a higher water content.
How to Dehydrate Honey Tutorial
- 1 jar Honey
- 1 pkg Food Grade Desiccant
- Prepare Silicone Sheets or Paper for trays. What you choose will depend in part on the type of dehydrator you have.You can use special silicone sheets that fit your dehydrator trays or parchment paper or freezer paper.If using paper, cut the sheets to fit your trays and place them in. Make sure your dehydrator is sitting on a level surface.
- Pouring honey on sheets. Work with one tray at a time. Pour honey onto the sheet. You can pour it in the middle and spread outward or drizzle a pattern across the sheet-then spread. This can be aggravating because honey is naturally sticky!Start small, you can add a bit easier than you can get it off. If you want to add any flavors such as cinnamon or ginger -now is the time.
- Spread product evenly. Use a spatula or large spoon to spread the honey across the sheet.It must not be thicker than 1/8” and it is best if it is spread uniformly. Avoid puddles and thicker spots as much as possible.Warming the honey a bit may help in spreading it across the sheet or paper. I hold one side down with a finger and use the spatula to spread the honey moving away from the held down side.
- Set the dehydrator to 120” F / 40° C. Now for the part of that requires a lot of patience. Run the dehydrator until the honey is hard and crisp.How long it takes depends on your dehydrator, the humidity in the room, and the water content of your honey : 24-48 hours is common.Check it every 6 hours or so during the day to make sure it is not becoming burnt. It is finished when it is set and no longer sticky.
- You want to have everything ready to crush and store as soon as the honey cools a bit. Do not leave it sitting around it will absorb moisture.If you are using Teflon dehydrator sheets , the dried honey will pop right off. Otherwise use a spatula to remove the chips of honey from the paper.
- Grind to desired consistency. Grind using a food processor, (mortar and pestle) or I used my Magic Bullet. Any tool to get it to a granular or powdered consistency.
- Storing dehydrated honey. Immediately, place in a tight sealing jar and toss in a food grade desiccant package. This helps prevent clumping – but clumping will occur. This is raw honey. Honey powder that you buy already made has other ingredients to help it flow.
- For me, drying honey works best with a strong dehydrator. I am not saying that you can not use a small one – but it may take days…
How to Dehydrate Honey without a Dehydrator
If you want to create some dried honey crystals but lack a dehydrator, there is another option. Though the heat may destroy some of the nutritional aspects of this raw food.
Use a pot on the stove to heat your honey. Allow room for expansion as it will bubble up. Use a candy thermometer to achieve a temperature of 300° F / 148° C. This is the hard crack candy stage. Do not over heat or it will burn and be careful to avoid burning yourself.
Remove from stove and quickly pour hot honey on your silicone sheets (or parchment paper) lined flat pans. Leave to cool in a dry – low humidity environment. Then, crush or grind to the desired consistency.
I have not used this method to make honey powder because I strive to keep my raw honey..raw.
Notes and Tips:
Though I have read that it will work, the round dehydrators with heat at the bottom did not work for me. After spreading the honey in a very thin layer, I ran the small machine for 4 days in a room with a dehumidifier going. It did not work.
When I use my square Excaliber Dehydrator with heat at the back, my honey was dried in 2 days. At first, I did not use the screens under that came with my trays under the teflon sheets – that was a mistake. It allowed the honey to pool in spots.
Honey absorbs moisture from the air and will do so within a few minutes. This causes stickiness which we really do not want.
Run an air conditioner or dehumidifier in the room during the drying and grinding process if the humidity is high.
This is not the best way to store honey as it takes a while to dry. However, there are some applications where having a powdered honey is a plus.
Ways to Use Dehydrated Honey Powder
Once you have a store of dried honey packaged away for easy keeping, you will find a multitude of ways to put it to good use. These are just a few ideas to get you started:
- Use as a sweetener in coffee or tea
- Dissolves nicely in cold drinks too
- Sprinkle on ice cream
- Dust fruits with powder when drying them in dehydrator
- Use instead of brown sugar in backed goods
- Easy to take with you on camping trips or hiking
Honey is a perfect food for bees because it stores for a long time without spoiling. In this way it provides the colony with food to eat during the long cold Winter months.