The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Picking the ants out of the honey

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Felila's picture
Felila

Picking the ants out of the honey

I bought a large jar of honey at Costco, much larger than the small jars of artisanal honey I was buying at my food co-op. I used to store my honey atop the microwave. Never had problems with ants, probably because the artisanal honey was put up in canning jars with tight lids. 

The Costco honey came in a cheaper jar that let ants get into the honey, even though the lid was screwed on. They were teeny tiny ants. Thousands of the buggahs!

I washed the outside of the jar and the lid; wiped the inside of the jar with wet paper towels; scraped ants off the top of the honey with a spoon. It seems that no matter how often or carefully I scrape, a few more ants float to the top. 

The honey is mostly for baking, so for this batch of struan bread, I decided to consider the ants "extra protein" -- and not inform my roommates that they might be ingesting a few ants. I've moved the honey jar on the kitchen table and plunked it in a bowl of water, so it ought to be safe in the future. 

Anyone have any ideas on methods for getting last few ants out of the honey? Without a honey filtration machine?

yy's picture
yy

If the ants are mostly floating in a layer on top, you could put the honey in the fridge and allow it to crystallize to facilitate scraping the remaining ants off. Then you could sink the jar in some hot water to re-melt the honey.

While eating some ant carcasses probably won't harm your roommates, I would suggest informed consent in this case. Let them know that there might be some ant remnants, and let them choose whether or not to eat your bread.

Felila's picture
Felila

Jeff already ate some of the bread. I'm staying mum. 

Though I suppose someone who spent two years backpacking in Peru and Equador is probably not all that squeamish :)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and combine with some of the water from the bread recipe to thin it out.  Pour thru a fine strainer.  Pour the strained honey water mixture into the liquids and continue ...without the little ant carcases.   

Felila's picture
Felila

Brilliant! Will do so on the next batch. 

Ford's picture
Ford

While not direct to your question, may I offer a suggestion for prevention?

I have problems with these tiny buggers.  I have a pest service and I spray when I find them, but they still appear.  I thought I had hidden my honey pot on top of the microwave, but NO!  After thoroughly washing the pot and putting in a fresh honey supply, I placed the pot in a bowl of water.  Several ants drowned in trying to reach the honey pot then the rest avoided it altogether.  Until the ants learn how to bridge the gap or learn to swim, the problem is solved!

Ford