High humidity of honey can dramatically decrease its beneficial qualities, its shelf life. In other words, such a substandard product contains less useful amino acids. It can simply ferment, becoming ugly foam mass or fast harden (crystallize). These negative effects are directly dependent on the deviation of the normal percentage of water in honey. However, appeared recently refractometer can easily solve this problem. Its internal structure consists of optical lenses, special measuring scale, screw-regulator, the so-called pinch glass, eyepiece and body. The use of this device with a good accuracy can determine the water content ratio in honey. An important fact, which makes it quite popular, is the exploitation of the refractometer in the field. That is, the device will operate properly in places far from home.
The principle of the refractometer
The principle of using this handy device is very simple. It is based on the physical properties of light waves – refraction. With the passage of a stream of light, through a liquid we get an illuminated spot of a certain diameter. This property is almost entirely used in the refractometer. At sufficiently stable ambient temperature you should perform the setup procedure (calibration). In this case, use a small drop of special oil, which will serve as a benchmark for measuring the water content in honey. After that, oil is removed with the cloth of soft tissue, wiping the surface of the lens. Besides, refractometer needs a good sunlight for competent work. It is needed in the process of preparing the instrument, as well as during the work.
After using the original pattern – the measuring scale, the appropriate boundary flux, which will pass through the honey was established, you start the measurement of desired food product. With the sufficient experience and knowledge, the whole process of research of quality of the honey takes several minutes. After the required measurements, the remnants of honey are removed from the surface of the lens.
Basically the device consists of optics. Therefore, it is necessary to handle very carefully. Try to avoid getting any liquid inside the body of refractometer . Store, move it only in specially constructed case. It comes with the device. Be sure to read the instructions, which is also attached to the refractometer. After all, informed use of such a device, compliance storage, will help you to use this indispensable thing long enough.
Procedure when using the tool:
Measuring humidity of honey.
Step 1. If honey without crystals and solids (transparent), then go to step 2. Otherwise honey sample (1-2 ml) in a sealed tube is heated in a water bath 40ºC (104 F) to transparency and cooled to room temperature without moisture loss.
Step 2. Open the matte plate and drip 2-3 drops of honey to a prism. Close the matte plate so that the honey completely covers the surface of the prism without air bubbles or dry spots. The thinner film of honey, the more accurate the measurement. Wait about 10 seconds. (This is necessary to align temperature of honey refractometer.)
Step 3. Aim matte plate on the light and look through the eyepiece. You will see a circular field with graduations down (you may have to focus the eyepiece to clearly see the grading). Upper part of the field should be blue, and the bottom should be white. Read the humidity of honey on a border between the colors.
Temperature compensation of readings:
Since the refractometer is calibrated at 20ºC (68 F), deduct 0.08% for each degree of temperature above, and at temperatures below 20ºC – add 0.08%.
Calibration of the instrument.
Calibration of tool is most conveniently done using a standard refractometer readings on the same sample of honey. Turn the calibration screw with a screwdriver to bring white and blue border to a standard refractometer border.
Please note: 1. The accuracy of the measurement depends on careful calibration. Follow the above instructions.
Note: Prism should be at room temperature before and during the measurement.
2. Do not hold the tool in damp working conditions and do not soak it. If the eyepiece is dimmed, it means that the water is inside. Contact a specialist or the seller.
3. Clean tools after each measurement (calibration) with a soft, damp cloth. Bad cleaning of prism leads to inaccurate results and damage of the prism.