Bee FAQ

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General questions about Bees and Honey

Honey naturally transforms into a solid state known as crystallized honey. Honey crystallizes because it is not stable in liquid form. The glucose molecules in the honey shed water and the strength of the new molecules' polarity causes them to align into crystals. Tiny particles of water remain trapped between the crystals.

The speed of transformation depends on the flower blossom from which the nectar is taken, how much pollen, wax particles, propolis, and air bubbles are in the honey, and how the honey is handled. Generally the crystallization can take from two weeks to several months.

Crystallization doesn't change the characteristics of honey except for the degree of solidity. The taste and health benefits are the same, it is just difficult to get it out of the container and spread it.

Many people prefer honey that has been crystallized under controlled processes. By inducing and controlling the process a softer, spreadable form of honey is created called creamed honey. It is still 100% honey; the only thing manipulated is the rate of transformation and size of the crystals.

To slow down crystallization, keep honey at room temperature. To re-liquefy honey the best way is to gently heat it in a double boiler. Be careful not to heat it more than 40¬?C. The honey degrades, the taste is altered and the antimicrobial properties and health benefits are significantly reduced. A microwave works as well but it is easier to burn the honey. As you heat the honey, stirring speeds up the process and reduces the chance of burning.

Honey differs in colour and flavour depending on what blossoms the honey bees visit in search of nectar. Honey colour ranges from almost colourless to dark amber brown and its flavour varies from delectably mild to richly bold. As a general rule, light-coloured honey is milder in taste and dark-coloured honey is stronger.

Honey comes in a variety of forms including liquid, creamed, comb, and chunk. Free of any crystals or wax, liquid honey is extracted from the comb in the hive by centrifugal force. Creamed honey is finely crystallized so that it remains creamy and spreadable. Comb honey is honey that comes as the bees store it, right in the beeswax honeycomb. Chunk honey is liquid honey with a chunk of honeycomb floating in it.