Honey

Discussion in 'Conversations Forum' started by greenboy, Jan 21, 2009.

  1. greenboy

    greenboy Active Member

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    I was told when you get honey from bees feeding from a tupelo tree this honey can not get cristalized, How about that? Do you guys know anything about it? or you know why?
     
  2. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    It's not unique to that one tree. Down here, I've noticed that Acacia honey is thicker than, say, Eucalyptus honey or even Tropical Wildflower honey. It has to do with the specific sugar content (glucose vs. fructose) of the nectar vs. the volatile oils in the nectar; I'm not sure of the exact process that it goes through in the combs after the bees have harvested it, but the upshot is the following:

    More glucose sugars + less fructose sugars + fewer volatile oils = thick honey that will eventually crystallize. Types include Clover, Acacia, and Temperate Wildflower honey.
    Less glucose sugars + more fructose sugars + more volatile oils = thinner, fragrant honey that is slow to crystallize or does not crystallize at all. Types include Tupelo, Eucalyptus, and Orchid honey (for those types of orchids pollinated by honey-producing bees.)

    It would follow, then, that flowers with a "sweet" smell would produce thicker honey, more prone to crystallization, while flowers with a "strong" or distinctive smell would produce thinner honey that is less likely to crystallize. What is actually preventing crystallization is a higher concentration of Sucrose in the final honey, which has to do both with the nectar composition and the effect of the dehydration that honey undergoes in the combs.
     
  3. Chungii V

    Chungii V Active Member

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    Interesting: so they don't just taste different. This may sound stupid but they sell different types of honey but I've often wondered how do they know the bees stayed strictly to the plant specified? Is it based on the majority of plants that are in that area or (don't laugh) do they have farms with plantations and then bees are positioned into those plantations?
     
  4. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    It can be either. In developed countries, the hives are normally positioned to take advantage of large plantations of the desired flowers; often growers of the flowers (especially clover and fruit trees) have agreements with beekeepers to position hives close to their fields.

    In developing countries, it's a bit more random. Keepers place their bees in wild areas with a high concentration of the desired plants, and hope for the best; for example, honey here sold as "Eucalyptus" is assumed to be primarily from Eucalyptus trees with a certain percentage of other flowers.
     
  5. Chungii V

    Chungii V Active Member

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    Not as stupid as I thought :}
    Thanks Lorax.
     
  6. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Here they can be fairly specific because as I understand it hives are trucked to areas where specific blooms are. I try and get mine through health store outlets and the flavoures are really lovely. I think supermarket stuff is a mixed lot.

    Liz

    Some of the varieties

    Yellow Box
    Harvested from the Yellow Box tree, this is a very soft, mellow and light honey. Most people associate this flavour as an everyday honey.

    Ironbark (Narrowleaf)
    Harvested from nectar collected from the Ironbark (Narrowleaf) Tree. This is a beautifully, soft and mellow honey, with a similar flavour to Yellow Box but with a slight toffee flavour. Generally lighter in colour, it is extremely versatile and especially enjoyed by kids. When Ironbark is unavailable, Mixed Gum (Blue Gum / Wildflower) is the perfect replacement as it is also quite a light, mellow honey.

    Salvation Jane also knownas Patterson's curse {depends where it grows :))
    Harvested from Salvation Jane flowers. This honey is a very mild, sweet, soft and light honey. It has a lovely texture and taste and is great for those who particularly love Yellow Box or Ironbark.

    Bloodwood
    Harvested from nectar collected from the Bloodwood Tree. This is a very flavoursome, medium to rich honey variety. Generally medium to darker colour honey.

    Stringy Bark
    Harvested from the Stringy Bark tree, this is a medium to rich honey variety. Generally medium to darker colour honey, it is very pleasant tasting and enjoyed by all those who try it. Ideal for adding to tea, water or any drink. Great on toast.

    Mixed Gum
    Our Mixed Gum can change regularly as it usually reflects the change over of flora seasons ie. when two trees are flowering at once in the same area. Generally these honeys are medium tasting and medium to dark in colour, depending on what is harvested.

    Mixed Gum (Apple Blossom)
    Leaning more towards the medium flavour, this honey is also light to medium in colour and very flavoursome.

    Mixed Gum (Blue Gum / Wildflower)
    The perfect replacement for those people who love the soft, mellow flavour of Ironbark. This is quite light in colour and has a wonderful mellow, gentle flavour.

    Spotted Gum
    Harvested from the Spotted Gum Tree, a very unique and different honey variety. A mild to medium flavour with a light to medium colour. Spotted Gum only flowers every 4 years so this honey is only periodically available.

    Blackbutt
    Harvested from the Blackbutt Tree, a similar flavour to Bloodwood. Still uniquely different in its own right and very nice. Not quite as rich as Bloodwood but still a great medium flavour.

    Leatherwood (not available)
    Harvested in Tasmania from the Leatherwood tree, this is a very strong honey. This has a very overpowering flavour and in most cases is one of the strongest honey varieties available.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2009
  7. Chungii V

    Chungii V Active Member

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    Thanks Liz I've definitely seen (and tried) a couple of those. I am a bit suspicious of the bigger brand names and reckon you're right about them being blended. We can get a few nice ones at the local markets here from a couple of reliable sellers.
     
  8. JenRi

    JenRi Active Member

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    Hehe you seem to be something of a Honey connoisseur Liz....I have to admit I am most un-refined in my honey eating habits:).
     
  9. TimA

    TimA Active Member

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    Chungii, apparently air pollution is beginning to cause a problem for honey bees (in the wild?). I suppose if pollination is affected then honey production might be also.
     
  10. Chungii V

    Chungii V Active Member

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    Interesting read, I am glad to report a healthy amount of bees making their way through my garden on a regular basis.
     
  11. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    See, and down here we have only five or six distinct types of honey.

    Eucalyptus - derived from what are called "White Eucalyptus" trees. A strong-flavoured, medium-amber honey with a low viscosity and appealing sweet eucalypt scent.

    Acacia - may be derived from A. horridus (an endemic also known as Fiqui) or from Black Gum. An incredibly thick, light golden honey with an appealing floral nose. This is one of the sweetest and most mellow of the Ecuadorian honeys, and the standard honey available in supermarkets. Pure, unpasteurised Acacia honey from the dry steppes of Guayllabamba is so thick that one can stand a spoon in it.

    Tropical Wildflower - found in the jungles (and not the big cities) this honey is thin, very sweet, and varies in colour from deep amber to pale gold depending on the region. The most sought-after of the tropical wildflower honeys is Orchid Honey, made by a specific species of pollinator bees, and generally wild harvested. This is thin, with a light straw colour and an intense vanilla flavour, and fetches up to $20 for 1L when it is available.

    Highland - a variety of honey produced by the bees that are placed near the giant rose plantations of the northern highlands, this is technically Tea Rose and Wildflower honey. Sweet and pale pink-gold, with a strong nose of roses. Central highland honey is a heavy gold, derived mainly from citrus and pears, and southern highland honey is a deep amber variety derived mainly from coffee.

    Tropical Fruit - a mixed-flower honey produced on the coastal floodplanes. This is the result of the pollinator bees used by the larger fruit produciton plantations; a typical blend is papaya, banana, pineapple, and cacao, with hints of citrus and passionflower.

    My personal favourite is Orchid honey, but for general use I normally make a blend of Eucalyptus and Acacia, which dulls the strong taste of the former and thins the latter to a useful viscosity.
     
  12. greenboy

    greenboy Active Member

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    wow wonderful. Thank you guys this was an education.
     
  13. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Ditto re bees plenty this year probably because we had some reasonable rain.

    There is nothing like home grown type honey compared to the supermarket stuff. Probably put glucose in it. I have a hony comb sitting in the fridge that I very occasionaly break a bit off. I have it for wound healing for my animals but it is yummy.

    Liz
     

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