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Honey moisture?


I have harvested honey several times this summer. All was 90% capped or more. My honey is very light in color and kind of runny. It is all measuring 18-19% moisture. Even on frames that were 100% capped for over a month did not measure lower than 18%.

Why does my capped honey measure above 18%?

Also, will it keep all year being close to 19%? I have conflicting info on moisture percent and fermenting. One article really wanted the honey below 17%. Other say below 20% will keep forever.

I have also read that honey will draw moisture yet when I leave some in a bowl over night it gets really thick like it is drying out.

For honey that is high in moisture, which is better, in the fridge or in the freezer?

Questions questions…I am just glad I have honey this year to even have honey questions :grin: 3.5 gallons of the liquid gold so far :+1:


there is a bit of a discussion of this issue here:

have you had a lot of rain this year?

there are ways to reduce the water content in honey:


Anything less than 20% is fine
Heather honey is often 22 or 23 and keeps sealed in a jar for over a year usually.
Honey will draw moisture but only if it’s there. If your air is dry then the honey will dry out. That’s one possible explanation. The other is that the honey is beginning to crystallise. Use that refractometer on the sample left standing in a bowl?
If your honey is over 20% I would keep immediate stock in your fridge, portion the rest out and put in the freezer.


My nectar source is legumes, mostly clover and birdsfoot. Very light and sweet honey. Most seem to think below 20% is shelf stable so at below 19 I guess I am ok.

It has been a wet summer. First summer in my lifetime we did not have a dry spell. Beautifully green all summer long :+1:. Have had at least a slow nectar flow almost every week. One last alfalfa field that is blooming this week then winter feeding begins.


Ground flora nectar tends to have more moisture in it. On the other end of the spectrum, some nectar from Eucalypts like Yapunyah are almost honey straight off the tree.


I had a thought- most refractometers are calibrated for sugar not honey- and you have to make a small adjustment to the reading for honey- did you do that?



No, I calibrated using olive oil.


You buy a honey refractometer and it comes ready calibrated. If you think it might need adjustment in the future take some olive oil and keep a sample, take a reading. That way you have a stock solution to calibrate in future


I just checked store bought honey (Nature Nates) and some honey from a friend in Georgia, both honeys are darker than mine, they both measured in the low 18% range. Mine measures mid to high 18% so I am thinking my refractometer measure a little high. I feel better about mine being shelf stable now.