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British Beekeepers Association

Topic: General Husbandry - honey

26th June 2015 at 8:52am

Simon Rice
Bishops Stortford

29 posts - View

I'll be interested in the combined knowledge of the forum. The GHA requires you to have a minimum of three jars of runny honey and three jars of set honey to show the examiners. Not having any runny honey from 2014 and with my 2015 spring honey setting practically overnight due to the high percentage of OSR, I was left with a challenge. How to make my honey runny? Yates describes using a temperature of 54oC for 45 mins to prevent honey from crystallising for 6-12 months. This does seem quite a high temperature but works (I tried it with a thermostatically-controlled water bath, crystal-clear honey results that still tasted like honey). So my question is what do other folk do please ( apart from cheat :0))
26th June 2015 at 9:54am

JimNorfolk
-- MODERATOR --
North Norfolk

1819 posts - View

Simon I think you have to go with what you have. Its not about getting a tick in a box for having three jars of each, its about how you process your honey and having a knowledge and understanding of other processes you could use. I would heat the honey to produce the 3 jars and have the equipment used available to show the examiners. Make sure you have all the equipment you might use available for inspection even down to a check weight for your scales. The best preparation for the Gen Husbandry is to invite someone who has recently been through the exam to go through every aspect of your beekeeping with you. Their advice is invalauble.
26th June 2015 at 10:16am

AdamDarling
-- MODERATOR --
Norfolk

5736 posts - View

My view is that by heating the honey, you are demonstrating a practical measure of dealing with it, and not cheating. In the discussions with the examiner, they want to know what you know and understand. Having done it, and with the proof at hand, is what they are looking for. You've done it, and have the reference (of Yeates) as well. The examiners are practical beekeepers and understand that beekeeping doesn't always work 'to the book.'
26th June 2015 at 10:43am

Simon Rice
Bishops Stortford

29 posts - View

Thank you both of you for your comments. You both raise some very valid points. What I didn't tell you was I took the GHA last Tuesday. The reason I asked the question was I got a couple of raised eyebrows from the examiners when I told them what I had done (54oC, 45 minutes), to prepare my run honey, which then made me wonder.
Sadly I didn't have a check weight, but am going to see my local butcher with a jar of honey and my scales in hand to see if he'll check my scales for me. I also didn't know it was technically illegal to overfill a jar (which does seem ludicrous to my simple mind), but I learnt lots!
Having a GHA mentor would be a very good idea. If I pass ( and it's probably a big If), I will be that mentor for my association.

Thanks once again.
26th June 2015 at 11:28am

Nigel Pringle
North Yorkshire

2325 posts - View

Simon Rice wrote:
 I also didn't know it was technically illegal to overfill a jar (which does seem ludicrous to my simple mind),

It is indeed ludicrous and it is not illegal to overfill a jar. You need to state a minimun weight. If it's over it's fine. It's only illegal if it's under weight.
Or at least that is what our local environmental health officer explained to us. I trust her judgement.
26th June 2015 at 11:50am

Fred - Dublin

1263 posts - View

< You need to state a minimun weight. If it's over it's fine. It's only illegal if it's under weight.>

 

Hence the Bakers' Dozen. Beats getting your ear nailed (you still attached,) to your shop door.
26th June 2015 at 4:10pm

Gerry Collins
Doncaster

535 posts - View

When assessing BBKA general husbandry assessors are trained not to raise eybrows or indicate in any way whether what you did is right or wrong as this can put candidates off in later tasks or answering questions . Anyway those temperatures and times are fine. In beekeeping there are lots of ways to  do things and if they work then you will be credited for it. There are also areas like central Sheffield where it is difficult to get honey that will granulate properly and this is allowed for but you will be expected to describe methods of how to produce soft set and naturally granulated honey.
26th June 2015 at 6:02pm

Nigel Pringle
North Yorkshire

2325 posts - View

Gerry Collins wrote:
 but you will be expected to describe methods of how to produce soft set and naturally granulated honey.
    

I'm curious about the definition of naturally granulated honey here. Do you mean honey, like Oil Seed Rape, that naturally granulates or are we talking about a liquid honey seeded with fine grained crystals? Or is there another method?

Last edited at 6:49pm on the 26th June by Nigel Pringle

26th June 2015 at 6:29pm

MarkB
Waveney

233 posts - View

I was told during my assessment that over-filling the jar laid me open to charges of 'unfair competition'. Its best not to argue in those situations.

I think if they're nit-picking, Simon, you probably did OK!
26th June 2015 at 6:34pm

Nigel Pringle
North Yorkshire

2325 posts - View

I certainly concur with the not arguing during an assessment. This overfilling has cropped up on several forums over the years and I have yet to see any evidence quoted that it is correct....which why I asked our local Envr H officer about it. But I should note she is Env. Health, not weights and measures.
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