On Honey

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On Honey

Post by longtime coming on March 24th 2016, 8:37 pm

Well, I did my first stint at the farmer's market as relief for my wife. She had to be late, so I went and set up and sold some before she got there. Yay for me. The helper done good.

We sell raw honey. Just the way the bees made it. It is extracted from the comb, run through a coarse sieve and into a clarifying tank where the remaining wax rises to the top and the honey occupies the bottom. This can take a couple of days. Then we bottle it off of the bottom of the tank. The honey is never heated or run through a fine filter. Raw. Just the way the bees made it. There is usually a fine layer of wax on top of the honey in the container and there may be a drones left nut or a worker's evil glaring eye suspended in the jar. Occasionally. We try to avoid specks as much as possible. This honey starts off as a liquid and then slowly but surely crystallizes into a solid. All honeys are different in this respect. Some crystallize slower, some faster. Some make big crystals, some make small crystals. Almost all honey crystallizes. The chances that your liquid honey hasn't been heated if it is still liquid 6 months later is pretty slim to none.

Most honeys in the grocery stores have been ruined by overheating and over filtration. Overheating starts at a mere 115F or so. This is the temperature where the sugars start to change and some of the enzymes are destroyed. If it is still liquid after many months, it is 99.9% sure to have been overheated. Heating changes honey into something else. Not-the-honey. Filtered honey (which includes the vast majority of commercial honeys) is missing pollen and other coarse goodies which provide some of the health benefits of honey.

Just because honey is called "raw" does not mean it hasn't been overheated. It could be raw liquid honey, for example. Still not-the-honey, as far as I am concerned. Honey in extracting season for your area may be liquid at that time, and for some time after, but eventually it will crystallize. Once you have a handle on this heated honey thing you can easily smell it. It has a distinctive smell and doesn't even smell anything like honey to a honey guy. It doesn't taste like honey either.

Also, not only is almost all honey in the store overheated and overfiltered, it has been produced out of hives that have been subjected to various chemical treatments to control or erradicate various bee colony health issues.

"Honey in the store" may include honey bought at health food stores too.

Buy your honey from a local beekeeper who doesn't heat, filter, or use chemicals. If you want good quality honey, that is.
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Re: On Honey

Post by creigh on March 24th 2016, 11:12 pm

Must check this out. We use honey instead of refined sugar.

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Re: On Honey

Post by longtime coming on March 25th 2016, 8:13 am

Here's another tidbit;

The peace country in Alberta has been known for many years to produce some of the best honey in the world. There are many large commercial operations throughout the area. Before canola took over the country there were many crops of alfalfa and clover, as well as many areas of bush from which the bees could take pollen.

Farmers are now running very large equipment in the fields. Every little patch of bush and every slough is being taken out/filled to allow for this equipment to be unhindered.

Every farmer wants to grow canola every year because that is the money crop. Up here, there is a short growing season so the canola crops all go in within a couple of weeks of each other, max. So all of the canola blooms in about a 3 week window. Since many beekeepers have no option any more for early season pollen from forests and field flowers, they are forced to feed sugar water in the spring until the canola blooms. So early season honey from many producers is sugar water "honey". Then a short burst of canola bloom and the season is largely over. Back to the sugar water they go.

Some producers ship their bees all over the country for pollination purposes and then the bees arrive back in the peace country in time for the canola bloom. For those who don't do this, they are forced into making sugar water honey at times.

Anyway, the short story is that the landscape of the northern prairies has changed considerably in the last 15-20 years and the honey is not what it used to be.

I am fortunate to have a lot of bush and my own alfalfa fields to feed my bees...and produce real honey. Real honey from real flowers.

We feed our bees honey, not sugar water to take them through the long winters. General practice is to extract all the honey and feed the bees sugar water for them to make their winter stores.

There are always different philosophies of what is right and wrong and what "proper" food production is.

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Re: On Honey

Post by zilla on March 25th 2016, 9:02 am

Very inerestin.. I had some honey that crystalized, I just heated it back up and used it..As far as i know no one here harvests honey. I love honey so I buy it at the store.. I will start looking for those roadside stands advertising honey..

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Re: On Honey

Post by longtime coming on March 25th 2016, 9:38 am

Honey is supposed to crystallize. Good honey crystallizes. There is nothing wrong with crystallized honey; in fact it is right.

Best way to make it easier to work with is just to set your container in a pot of hot TAP water.

Do not microwave. It will be ruined.

Do not overheat. It will be ruined.

There's a lot of rubbish on the net about honey. It seems (and I could be off base) that Americans think liquid honey is good honey??? This is pretty much WRONG.

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Re: On Honey

Post by KTMSwade on March 25th 2016, 11:48 am

We buy local, use it in place of sugar. Your local honey will also aid in alleviating the affects of allergies in the springtime. I take a tbs of honey each day. When ours crystallizes, we set in in the sunlight on the patio table or a pot of hot tap water as you suggested

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Re: On Honey

Post by KungFuFighter on March 25th 2016, 7:53 pm

zilla wrote:Very inerestin..  I had some honey that crystalized, I just heated it back up and used it..As far as i know no one here harvests honey.  I love honey so I buy it at the store..   I will start looking for those roadside stands advertising honey..  
You could always try this. Safeway and King Soopers over here carry it, not sure about the availability elsewhere.

http://riceshoney.com/pages/our-story

"L.R. Rice founded Rice’s Lucky Clover Honey LLC, headquartered in Greeley, Colorado, in 1924. This women-owned, family operated company, now in its 5th generation, remains a leading producer of authentic, high quality, raw, and unfiltered honey. The company’s honey is 100% pure, local United States, raw and unfiltered honey.

When the company first began in 1924, the family worked bee yards, extracted honey, filled and labeled glass jars, then sold products door to door in Northern Colorado. Since that time, Rice’s Lucky Clover Honey has established and nurtured long-standing relationships with beekeeper families throughout the United States. This allows for quality U.S. honey to be packed in every bottle of Rice’s Lucky Clover Honey. Our customized filling process and system ensures the natural pollen and enzymes of the raw honey remain in every bottle.

Rice’s Lucky Clover Honey has generated significant brand equity through its commitment to producing high quality, premium, raw, and unfiltered honey at affordable prices."

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Re: On Honey

Post by KTMSwade on March 26th 2016, 5:28 am

KFF, to get the health benefits, you really need to buy from a local producer. Those pollens in your region that your local bees collect are what lessen your allergic reactions when pollen season hits.

Longtime, this is a great thread. Thanks for posting. Fwiw, my wife who is always looking out for us, she started us on the honey regiment several.years ago

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Re: On Honey

Post by longtime coming on March 26th 2016, 8:53 am

it's wonderful how those gals do that
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Re: On Honey

Post by SWOrange on March 29th 2016, 8:14 am

There is an apiary down the road that we buy our honey from. A small dab goes in my tea every morning.

They do a farm tour thing in the summer, very popular the last few years.

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Re: On Honey

Post by Lonewolf on March 29th 2016, 11:24 pm

Amazing

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Re: On Honey

Post by Kermit on March 30th 2016, 8:47 am

The better 3/4's is trying to talk me into keeping bees....just another fucking thing to take of. cyclops
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Re: On Honey

Post by KTMSwade on March 30th 2016, 10:07 am

Kermit wrote:The better 3/4's is trying to talk me into keeping bees....just another fucking thing to take of. cyclops

I'd be like, um no, well actually more like "aw fuck that". She doesn't even help keep the dog shit picked up. I take that back, she will do an obligatory poop scoop about once a month so I can't say she doesn't help. She wants a pig too, I tell her I cannot pet soemthing that I plan on smoking on the Egg in good conscience.

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Re: On Honey

Post by Kermit on March 30th 2016, 10:29 am

KTMSwade wrote:
Kermit wrote:The better 3/4's is trying to talk me into keeping bees....just another fucking thing to take of. cyclops

I'd be like, um no, well actually more like "aw fuck that".  She doesn't even help keep the dog shit picked up. I take that back, she will do an obligatory poop scoop about once a month so I can't say she doesn't help.  She wants a pig too, I tell her I cannot pet soemthing that I plan on smoking on the Egg in good conscience.

She is trying to talk me into getting chickens again...guess who will have to take care of them. Very Happy

We are doubling the size of the garden...hell, last year...felt like it was endless processing...this year is gonna suck...
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Re: On Honey

Post by longtime coming on March 30th 2016, 10:47 am

Not including pets: Let's see...we have had chickens and guinea fowl and ducks and geese and turkeys and rabbits and goats and sheep and cattle and horses and honeybees and...maybe a couple of other critters around here over the years.

Honey bees are the most interesting and the most difficult to take care of out of them all. If you want to have bees, do some research and I might be able to help some too. There's lots of BS in amongst the "facts".

I was hooked on bees the first time we extracted and I saw the liquid gold rolling out of the extractor. Gold as in good food, not as in money.

I love the sound of hens clucking about. Alas, we haven't had any for several years. I will get more some day.
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Re: On Honey

Post by longtime coming on March 30th 2016, 10:49 am

KTMSwade wrote:
Kermit wrote:The better 3/4's is trying to talk me into keeping bees....just another fucking thing to take of. cyclops

I'd be like, um no, well actually more like "aw fuck that".  She doesn't even help keep the dog shit picked up. I take that back, she will do an obligatory poop scoop about once a month so I can't say she doesn't help.  She wants a pig too, I tell her I cannot pet soemthing that I plan on smoking on the Egg in good conscience.

I have a harder and harder time sending animals to slaughter. Sissy wimp.
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Re: On Honey

Post by KTMSwade on March 30th 2016, 11:09 am

I'm just skeered of bees, that is the main thing, well not like running like a fool with hair on fire skeered, but enough so I really wouldnt want to deal with them. I see people with bees crawling all over them, gives me the total heebie jeebies. So with that in mind, yeah i might end up running like a girl with a june bug down her shirt

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Re: On Honey

Post by KTMSwade on March 30th 2016, 11:10 am

longtime coming wrote:
KTMSwade wrote:
Kermit wrote:The better 3/4's is trying to talk me into keeping bees....just another fucking thing to take of. cyclops

I'd be like, um no, well actually more like "aw fuck that".  She doesn't even help keep the dog shit picked up. I take that back, she will do an obligatory poop scoop about once a month so I can't say she doesn't help.  She wants a pig too, I tell her I cannot pet soemthing that I plan on smoking on the Egg in good conscience.

I have a harder and harder time sending animals to slaughter. Sissy wimp.

hey, bacon is bacon. Pretty simple in my book. Like Homer Simpson said, if God didnt want us to eat meat, why would he have made them in such tasty shapes, or something like that

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Re: On Honey

Post by longtime coming on March 30th 2016, 12:02 pm

after sending hundreds and hundreds of animals to slaughter. And having to put many out of their misery, And watch them born and watch their mother's love them and watch their mother's pain when their baby dies and on and on...

sometimes it hurts.

Animals have far more "gonig on" than most people give them credit for

But bacon is good yes! yummy! Kill the pig! I'll kill yours if you kill mine.

Bees, while "only" insects have a connection to the universe that is simply unfathomable by us.

I don't like getting stung, especially on the hands.

I canna' write, nor spell today.

Oh ya! and pigs; we've had pigs too. And Elephants and Giraffes.








No, not Elephants or giraffes. They are too big to fit in the house with everybody else......
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Re: On Honey

Post by KTMSwade on March 30th 2016, 2:07 pm

Great, now I have to go and strain the ground sirloin and italian sausage out of the marina sauce I have cooking right now.

I'm just kidding but I get it, it would be a tough job to always be seeing animals sent to slaughter. In an odd way some of the mass slaughter documentaries, not to mention the unclean state of meat in terms of hormones and antibiotics, is what led us to start taking one steer per year, slaughter only what we need and quit buying from the store. We are going fishing this weekend, sure it will be fun, but the goal of this trip is to load up the freezer with a 3 person limit of fish, hoping to net around 60-70lbs of fish (we keep the 10lb and under fish, throw the larger back), seal it and keep it for meals.

I am curious with the topic of the honeybees and it sounds as if you are in the know: has the word honeybee population started to come back? I have seen where certain countries are taking very drastic steps to eliminate pesticides that affect their numbers. I don't think people realize how deeply dependent the world's food supply is on simple animals like the honey bee.

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Re: On Honey

Post by longtime coming on March 31st 2016, 5:21 am

I don't know.

I do know that the bees are under stress from pests and possibly (probably) pesticides too. Some beekeepers in temperate regions lose 1/2 of their hives or more over the winter. This phenomenon is fairly recent (last 10 years or so). We are gonna lose more than usual. We haven't unwrapped the hives yet to see for sure. We had 'hoppers last summer and the entire region went out of their minds with pesticide spraying (several applications worth). We think that may have something to do with our more than normal losses. We will have a stronger opinion once we check out our hives.

It's the wild bees and other pollinators that are in the most jeopardy. It is severe, and no-one is looking after them. This problem extends far up the food chain too.
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