What is Honey? Honey is composed primarily of the sugars glucose and fructose; its third greatest component is water. If honey has over 18% water in it it will ferment. Check with the vendor on how they process it. Honey also contains acids, proteins and minerals. There are over 300 types of honey. This is based on what flowers the bees are gathering the nectar from. Also, flavor can change from location to location depending on mineral content in the soil as well as rain fall. For more detailed information concerning honey please check out the National Honey Board's web site.
If your honey has crystallized don't throw it away, this does not mean that your honey has gone bad. Archeologists have found honey in the Egyptian tombs and tested it for viability. It was as edible as if it was today’s honey. To get your honey flowing again, bring a pan of water to a boil, turn off the heat, put your container in the hot water. This way your honey does not have direct heat. It will take about 10 minutes to liquefy. Repeat the process if there are still crystals as the crystals will act as catalysts that help your honey crystallize faster. You can also put it in the sun on a window sill. This will liquefy the honey again without destroying the enzymes and keep the raw property of the honey as long as it doesn't get too hot. Honey can reach up to the temperature of 120° and still be considered raw. Please do not microwave your honey if you want raw honey as this does destroy the enzymes and changes some of the properties of the honey.
We only pull frames of honey that are sealed at least 50%. More is better as this ensures that the honey won't have too much water in it. Sealed honey is completely cured honey. Our honey is taken out of the comb by an extractor that spins the honey out and then drains into a 5-gallon bucket through a strainer. This provides a honey that looks clean yet still has some pollen and small bits of wax with no heat applied. This will give you the best quality of honey maintaining its natural flavor and color. We do not add anything to it for flavoring. Because our honey is raw, it will crystallize sooner or later. The crystallization time depends on the sugar and pollen content. The only time we will heat our honey is to liquefy it in our 5 gallon storage buckets. It is heated in a controlled container set to turn off at 105° and can take up to 36 hours. Honey starts to liquefy at around 95°. We liquefy our honey this way to maintain it's raw quality.
When we first start extracting, we will put everything into 12 oz Baby Bears. Once we have some inventory built up of baby bears, we will start filling 24 oz Mama Bears and then Glass Quart Jars (about 3 pounds of honey). If we have a good harvest, we will store honey in one gallon, three gallon, and 5 gallon buckets. We will have some of these for sale as long as production continues. Honey weighs approximately 12 pounds per gallon verses the 8 pounds per gallon that water weighs. This makes a 5 gallon bucket weigh about 60 pounds. Typically our buckets weigh between 55 to 57 pounds. A 5 gallon bucket that is full to the very top and weighs 60 pounds gets very messy and sticky when putting on the lid.
Pollen in the honey has a reputation of helping with allergies. The more local the honey, the better it seems to help, so ask where your honey is from. That is why I put the location of my apiaries (where the bees are at) for the honey that I sell.