Monday, April 6, 2015

Honey Lovers


Thought I would start a new blog series. Why? Because I am infamous for starting series and then stopping. Nonetheless, it is always a way for me to "stay committed" to this little web space. At least for a week, maybe a month if you're lucky.

I call this new series: Honey Lovers

On a fairly regular basis, a friend or acquaintance reaches out to me with something bee or honey related. With "bee season" just around the corner, I decided my honey lover posts would be dedicated to all my inquisitive pals. If you have a question, leave it in the comments, and I will add it to the "series" list. First, I must give a special shout out to those of you who have reached out. I am pretty sure this article was posted on my facebook wall by ten different people. I feel honored that you think of me when you see or hear anything bee or honey related. Who would have thought, his crazy beek adventure would have created honey bee awareness in MY circle. Take a class, buy a bee suit, and become a beek with me!! 

I had a long time friend reach out to me this past weekend with a photo of his upside down honey bear asking why his honey looked the way it did. Then mentioned, how much of a pain it is to squeeze or scoop the honey out when it solidifies. #thatswhatshesaid 

I've been there, spending too much time unscrewing the lid of a sticky honey jar, to be left with a near solid lump of goo, then getting frustrated and tossing it in the trash. 

When your honey looks similar to the photo above, don't get frustrated and more importantly, DO NOT THROW IT AWAY. Your honey has crystallized and means a few different things:
  • Quality: It is actually a sign of high quality honey. In most cases, it means it's raw and hasn't been filtered to remove the pollen (the part that's good for you). I promise to dedicate a post to pollen and elaborate on this one. 
  • Temperature: Honey should be stored at room temperature or greater. If kept in a pantry, lazy susan or cabinet, where it gets a little cooler in the winter, your honey is more likely to crystallize. Store it on your counter, instead. If you chose to purchase honey in a bear (make sure it's local), switch it to a jar or honey pot so it's easier to scoop out when it does crystallize.  It will prevent your frustration later. 
  • Natural Process: Honey is made up of two sugars - glucose and fructose. The proportions vary with each type of honey and is dependent upon what plants the bees fed on that year. The point is science, guys. I can tell you that it's the glucose portion that crystallizes and some honey flavors are more prone, due to their high glucose percentage. For instance, I just learned that Alfalfa and Clover honey crystallize at a faster rate than some of the other honey flavors. My bees lived on an alfalfa farm, which is probably why most of my left over honey looks like the photo above. And maybe because I stored it on the bottom shelf of my pantry during the coldest months of the year. #rookiemistake
Don't get frustrated. Don't think it's honey-gone-bad. Just scoop it out. Put it in a cup of warm tea and it will dissolve. Spread it on a piece of toast, just like you do with butter. Or eat it by the spoonful. And enjoy it. 

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