How is honey made?
Honey starts as flower nectar collected by bees. It gets broken down into simple sugars by enzymes in the bee's honey stomach, and is then stored inside the honeycomb. The design of the honeycomb and constant fanning of the bees' wings causes evaporation, creating sweet liquid honey. Honey's colour and flavour varies based on the nectar collected by the bees. For example, honey made from clover blossom nectar might be light in colour, whereas honey from wildflowers might have a dark amber colour.
Why does honey crystallize?
It may seem intuitive to assume that crystallized honey is spoiled or poor quality, but this isn’t the case at all. Crystallization happens naturally over time to pure, raw honey and actually helps preserve the nutrients and quality. The “why” behind the crystallization of honey is simple chemistry. Usually, honey contains at least 70% carbohydrates and less than 20% water. This is more sugar than can naturally remain dissolved and, over time, crystals begin to form. Some honey crystals are fine and smooth, while others are large and gritty. This is largely due to the proportion of the two main types of sugars found in honey, fructose and glucose. While fructose tends to remain dissolved, glucose has a much lower solubility. The higher proportion of glucose honey contains, the more quickly it will crystallize. As each nectar source contains a slightly different proportion of these natural sugars, different honey crystallizes over different amounts of time.
How do I re-liquefy it without damaging the nutritional integrity?
You can easily de-crystallize honey on a stovetop using the following steps:
Do you pasteurize your honey?
Never have, Never will.
What is the difference between pasteurized and unpasteurized?
Honey is naturally unpasteurized.
The process of pasteurization destroys enzymes, amino acids, minerals and vitamins in the honey and this decreases the nutritional value of honey.
A lot of honey found in the supermarket is not raw honey but “commercial” regular honey, some of which has been pasteurized (heated at 70 degrees Celsius or more, followed by rapid cooling) for easy filtering and bottling and so that it looks cleaner and smoother, more appealing on the shelf, and is easier to handle and package.
Pasteurization also damages and degrades the beneficial nutrients and enzymes that are naturally occurring in honey. Even the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are damaged by the heat, reducing their value considerably, as well.
Where do we keep our hives?
The Petersfield area, north of Selkirk, but we do move them to other properties depending on what is being planted (avoiding GMO crops and Canola).
We package the yield of over 450 colonies!
What determines the nectar source?
We can direct bees onto one nectar source by taking advantage of how they are naturally efficient in collecting nectar. They will fly to the closest and richest source available. Placing bees on the blooms just as they open and then harvesting the surplus right after the blooms are finished ensures the majority of the honey will have come from the one plant.
Do we put any artificial colours or flavours in the honey?
Never have, Never will.
How do we flavour the honey?
Real fruit (local when possible), fair trade and child-labour-free cocoa and spices, organic lemon or cinnamon oil.
How do we ensure the quality of the honey?
We are very selective on where our hives are placed, and have longstanding relationships with all of the landowners of our yards. In the case of our family and friends who we obtain honey from, we are active partners in extracting and our high standards are strictly adhered to. Methods of sustainable and environmentally friendly beekeeping is our watchword.
Will my honey go bad?
It should never spoil due to the natural preservative qualities of honey.
How do I keep it from going bad?
Keeping the lid tightly sealed is important as honey will draw moisture from the air to the point where it can start to ferment.
What is bee pollen?
Bee pollen is a mixture of flower pollens that is gathered along with nectar when bees forage for the colony.
How is it collected?
Pollen sticks to the fine hairs on the bee via static electricity when the bees are collecting nectar from the flower. They “comb” the pollen off their bodies and pack it into indents, or “baskets” on their hind legs.
What do the bees use it for?
Bees feed the young larvae in the hive a mixture of pollen and honey known as bee bread before the larvae cocoon and develop into adult bees.
Is there any nutritional value or other benefits?
Bee pollen boasts an impressively broad-spectrum nutritional profile. It contains over 250 biologically active substances. This wide range of nutrients includes polyphenols, enzymes, beneficial fatty acids, free amino acids, lipids, vitamin complexes, chelated minerals and trace elements, as well as a large array of phytonutrients that have yet to be identified. This nutritional diversity makes bee pollen an ideal dietary supplement as a complement and boost to a well-rounded diet.
What is beeswax?Beeswax is produced by bees in thin sheets that are 7 to 12 days old.
How do the bees make it?
There are wax glands on their abdomens.
How does it get processed?
Bees will shape and form the sheets into hexagonal cells to expand the hive or to cap cells full of ripened honey. When honey is extracted by the beekeeper, wax caps are removed. These are saved for melting and filtering for crafts and candles.
Are there any health benefits?
The human body does not digest wax, but beeswax does absorb some toxins as it passes through your digestive tract.