Essex Honey from Jan and John (Our local Bee Keepers)
General Information about our Essex Honey
We produce both set (thick) and clear (runny) honey as well as cut comb in season. All honey is from our own bees we never buy in honey from anywhere else. We are often asked what the difference is between set and clear honey. It is determined by the plants the bees have been foraging on and the make-up of the plant nectar.
Nectar and so Honey too, is made up of two types of sugar. Glucose and Fructose with various trace amounts of enzymes, acids, pigments and minerals.
- Honey will set to the largest Crystal so the smaller the crystal the clearer the honey.
- Fructose (small crystal) tends to stay liquid much longer than Glucose (large crystal) which crystallizes or granulates fairly quickly.
- Honey with a higher Glucose content like Oil Seed Rape, Blackberry, Ivy, wild flowers and some others make set honey.
- Honey with a higher Fructose content predominately Borage, Echium and Lucerne make clear honey. Even the higher Fructose content honey will go cloudy after some time as it will contain some glucose.
We hope that answers the most asked question about honey. The main and obvious difference is of course you put set honey on your toast and runny honey on your porridge.
Our Essex Honey is filtered to remove any large particles of wax and a bee product called Propolis which is a sticky substance bees collect from botanical sources to seal small gaps in the hive. It is also known to have anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties.
We do not use very fine filters so pollen in the honey remains and small dark particles of propolis may be found as well. These will cause no problems to humans and some insist they can do good.
All our honey is jarred in small batches of thirty kilograms so each batch will be slightly different.
Our Honey is only sold in 454g jars (1lb in old money) No sneaky 340g jars from us.
Clear Honey can range in colour from very pale, Borage or Lucerne, through a medium ,field bean and various wild and domestic flower, to a dark which is quite rare in Essex but can be honeydew. We sometimes get a greenish tinged honey which can be Lime or Sycamore. Pale honey often has a wonderful delicate flavour and the darker the honey usually the stronger the taste, some very dark honeys are so strong they are a very acquired taste.
Set Honey can also range in colour but not to the extent of clear. Most is and excuse the wording, honey coloured. Oil seed rape, clover and Ivy are the palest with Dandelion and Blackberry a bit darker.
Just a note about “raw” or cold pressed honey. Anything labelled “Honey” is just that by law, nothing else. There is no legal definition of raw honey.
Honey straight from the extractor which is totally unfiltered will contain larger pieces of wax, propolis and bee parts, this is illegal to sell.
The creature that knows honey best is the bee which keeps its brood nest and consequently its honey at about 35 degrees centigrade. So any honey warmed gently to below this temperature (which any beekeeper worth their salt will do) is enough to filter and jar up honey and is as bees would keep it, and so not damaged.
So “raw” honey is about temperature not colour or consistency, whether it’s clear, rock hard or soft set.
Above all buy from a Beekeeper for good honey – Like our local honey in The Natural Way 🙂
Hope this all helps. Enjoy your Honey.
Thanks for this guest article from our local bee keeper – Johnnybee.