Beekeeping and Honey!

Why does honey candy? April 18 2016, 0 Comments

It is coming to that time of year again, the cooler weather is finally upon us. And with it, comes a time when the honey will start to harden, known as crystallization, granulation or candying.

I often get asked why it candies; it is a quite a misunderstood phenomenon. Some people question whether this process means that it is an inferior product, poor quality or storage, or that it has been processed in some way. It is not. It is not off, it hasn't gone bad, so please do not chuck it out!!

Raw honey will candy over time. Some on-comb inside the hive (such as a clover or canola) and others take many, many years (such as Jarrah). Honey is dehydrated nectar which is ~80% water. The bees dehydrate it to between ~14-18% water, the rest of the honey being combination of fructose and glucose. The granulation of honey occurs when the saturation of glucose within the remaining water of the honey has occurred and there is an overabundance of glucose molecules in the honey that form crystals.

Because of the slightly different chemical compositions of different nectar, each honey is slightly different in the resulting balance of fructose and glucose. Those with a slightly higher glucose amount will candy faster. Raw honeys generally have a GI index of 35-40, whereas a homogenized/pasteurized (heated) honey will be about 60-65.

The quality of candied honey does not change, only the texture. Some people actually prefer the grainy, thicker texture of a candied honey. Interestingly, honey can also slowly change colour (generally darker) and taste over time as well, similar to how wine can change over time.

Candied honey can be much easier for things like cups of tea (non-drippy) and cooking (easier to measure for small quantities), however, if you prefer the liquid gold pop it in a pot of hot water or out in the sunshine on a warm day (with the lid well sealed). The ambient temperature over the day, at about 25 degrees or more, should bring it back to liquid by the time you get home from work! Do not put it in the microwave - it will be too hot, and if you don't gentle warm it, the candy process will be faster the second time around.






Health Kick Honey April 15 2013, 1 Comment

Honey has naturally occurring anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties that can be measured on what is called the 'Total Activity' (TA) scale. This is the measure of the chemical reaction that creates naturally occurring hydrogen peroxide which promotes healing and can reduce infections.

Picture From:

Jarrah Honey

Location: Western Australia only. Jarrah flowers in the spring and early summer, every 2-3 years. It can live up to 1000 years.

Interesting Stuff:  Jarrah wood was exported to the UK for the use of roads! The Jarrah tree is under pressure from logging and a fungal disease called Die-back that causes root-rot, similar to the disease that caused the Potato Famines in Ireland.

Honey Makeup: Jarrah is high in fructose, low in glucose, which means it will not candy for a LOOOONG time and makes it a low-GI food. It also makes it suitable for people with Diabetes to have it in small quantities (of course, please consult your doctor before adding to your diet).

Jarrah honey's TA can change depending on the season, but pure Jarrah honey has a TA of between 20 to 30+. The Total Activity Rating of Active Honey denotes the strength of the antibacterial potency of the honey, measured by the standard (phenol) bacteria-killing scale, as developed by Dr. Nolan at the Waikato Honey Research Unit, located at the University of Waikato.

It has high antibacterial and antimicrobial activity and due to its high hydrogen peroxide level, it has been shown to be effective against super bugs such as  Golden Staph Bacteria and MRSA. Studies have also shown that it is effective in the treatment of ulcers, burns, colds, stomach bugs and lots more!

Jarrah honey has been recognized as having higher TA than Manuka honey and is very high in the list of foods containing antioxidants.

Uses: Jarrah has been dubbed the 'healing honey' and as such, it is more of a medicine cupboard honey, rather than a pantry one. Using it as a wash 50:50 with filtered water for eye infections, surgical wounds, cuts, ulcers etc. Making it into a tonic with some other 'supers' such as apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, quince, ginger, lemon, clove for colds, coughs, sore throats, stomach bugs etc. I know one fella who mixed quince, jarrah and vodka together and kept it for 10 years... having a nip one afternoon was definitely a treat, and of course, healthy as ;-)