MY HONEY IS STARTING TO CRYSTALLIZE IN THE JAR. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
It’s perfectly normal for honey to crystallize and does not mean that the quality of the honey has changed. All honey is primarily composed of two types of sugar: glucose and fructose. Honey varieties high in fructose rarely crystallize, like Tupelo Honey. Honey varieties high in glucose have a stronger tendency to crystallize over time. Crystallization is natural and does not affect a honey’s flavor. Honey is least likely to crystallize if stored at room temperature. To re-liquefy your crystallized honey, stand the lightly sealed jar into a container of warm water for 20 minutes or run under a hot tap. The honey will gently liquefy. You will want to stir it to speed even heating. Remember that our Whipped honey varieties are meant to be finely crystallized. Store it in a cooler location, but do not refrigerate or it may get too stiff to spread.
HOW SHOULD I STORE HONEYCOMB?
The best way to keep raw honeycomb is at room temperature in a cabinet or on a countertop. Keep it in the plastic box to prevent any unwanted visitors from getting into it. Of course, avoid exposing your honey to water. It does not need to be in a refrigerator, where it may begin to crystallize.
IS THE COMB EDIBLE?
The wax cells of the honeycomb are not only edible but very beneficial because they contain natural vitamin A as well as healthy roughage.
WHAT IS THE SHELF LIFE OF HONEY? WHY IS THERE AN EXPIRATION DATE ON THE BOTTLE?
Honey never spoils! Pots of still edible honey have been uncovered after thousands of years in Egyptian tombs. We mark an expiration date on some of our bottles as required by food stores, but that date is simply to meet their regulations. However, honey, unlike wine, tastes best during its first few years.
HOW CAN HONEY HELP MY ALLERGIES?
There is some debate but many people tell us that eating honey reduces their allergy symptoms. Fresh, raw honey best preserves its natural benefits for this purpose. We once heard at a beekeeping convention that honeycomb is best for people with allergies and asthma. How and why we don’t know, but the worst side effect is a little burst of energy, so why not try it? We suggest that you enjoy a daily regimen of eating 1 tablespoon of raw honey or honeycomb once in the morning and once in the evening.
HOW DO YOU GET BEES TO MAKE HONEY FROM JUST ONE KIND OF FLOWER?
Each of our honey types are derived from different flower species. Bee hives are moved to an area where there is an abundance of a specific plant that is in bloom – such as in the swamps where the tupelo trees grow. The bees will go back to the same kind of flower over and over (called “flower fidelity”) to bring back the nectar from that one plant. After the bloom ends – usually about two weeks – the beekeepers remove the honey boxes and extract that honey. Then the beekeeper can relocate the hives to a new area where another species is blooming.
WHAT MAKES ONE HONEY DIFFERENT FROM ANOTHER?
The species of flower from which the bee gathered the nectar determines the color, flavor, and sugar composition of the honey. Buckwheat honey is black and strong in flavor, acacia honey is almost completely clear and mild. We like to say all honey is good, but some honey is great. And believe us, there is a big difference. Common commercial honey is often blended for color consistency without regard to taste.
WHAT MAKES YOUR WHIPPED HONEY VARIETIES LOOK DIFFERENT FROM YOUR OTHER HONEY VARIETIES?
We add a small percentage of finely crystallized honey to a very special variety of honey to encourage it to set up like frosted cream.
IS YOUR HONEY FROM YOUR OWN BEEHIVES?
WHY ISN’T YOUR HONEY PASTEURIZED?
Pasteurization requires heating a substance to a temperature that is lethal to bacteria. Since honey’s saturated sugar quality and its osmotic effect inhibits the growth of nearly all bacterial species, pasteurization isn’t necessary. Pasteurization also destroys the amino acids and enzymes in honey. Amino acids are one of the healthful properties of honey, and enzymes rapidly break down honey’s sugars after consumption. Pasteurized honey has a weak “sugary” flavor and maintains few health benefits. For these reasons, we suggest you eat honey that hasn’t been pasteurized.
WHY SHOULD CHILDREN YOUNGER THAN 1 NOT BE GIVEN HONEY?
Botulinum endospores are found in the natural environment of dirt and dust, and the spores can contaminate honey. That is why children younger than 1 should not be given honey. The developed digestive system of older children and adults destroy the spores. Infants, however, can contract botulism from honey as well as other foods that have the spores. Infantile botulism cases rarely trace back to honey, but because the spores can be found in some honey, it is best to avoid giving it to infants.
CAN HONEY BE USED TO HEAL WOUNDS? IF SO, WHY DOES IT WORK?
Honey is antimicrobial. The sugars can kill bacteria, and there are natural peroxides that form when honey is put on the skin that also help kill bacteria. Honey is used in medical applications when conventional antibacterial treatment with antibiotics and antiseptics have failed, such as with diabetic ulcers or antibiotic-resistant infections. Numerous studies have shown these difficult-to-heal wounds respond well to honey dressings. Honey promotes rapid healing with minimal scarring. Honey also can be used as first aid treatment for burns, as it has potent anti-inflammatory activity. New research shows that bees make a protein they add to the honey called defensin-1, which could one day be used to treat burns and skin infections and to develop new drugs that could combat antibiotic-resistant infections. Scientists concluded that the vast majority of honey’s antibacterial properties come from that protein. This information also sheds light on the inner workings of honey bee immune systems, which may one day help breeders create healthier and heartier honeybees.