- Where do our bees get their nectar?
- What is "RAW" honey?
- What is Creamed, White, Crystallized Honey?
- Why is our honey Kosher?
- Honey shelf life
- Pesticide residue
- Why is WHF honey darker and thicker than grocery store honey?
- What does Windmill Hill Farm honey taste like?
- Is manuka honey better than wildflower honey
Where do our bees get their nectar?
Bees get nectar (carbohydrates) and pollen (protein) from flowers and trees. The times of the year when various plants bloom is "phenology". Dr. Roger Hoopingarner studied and published the phenology of southeast Michigan in the mid 50s.
POLLEN/NECTAR SOURCE & DATES
Soft maples 3/5 - 3/25
Willows 3/20 - 4/15
Dandelion 4/70 - 4/30
Hard maples 4/15 - 4/25
Sweet Cherry 4/15 - 5/5
Tart Cherry 4/15 - 5/10
Peach 4/18 - 5/5
Pear 4/19 - 5/4
Apple 4/23 - 5/25
Plum 4/23 - 5/7
Yellow Rocket 4/28 - 5/23
Blueberry 5/3 - 6-20
Bird's-foot Trefoil 5/23 - 6/25
Black Locust 5/23 - 6/5
Alfalfa 5/24 - 6/15
Alsike Clover 5/24 - 6/30
White Dutch Clover 5/24 - 6/20
Red Clover 5/24 - 6/20
Yellow Sweet Clover 5/26 - 6/20
Blackberry 6/2 - 6/18
Raspberry 6/3 - 6/20
White Sweet Clover 6/10 - 7/15
Milkweed 6/10 - 7/15
Basswood 6/20 - 7/5
Star Thistle 6/25 -7/31
Anise Hyssop 7/1 - 9/15
Catnip 7/1- 8/30
Buckwheat 7/5 - 8/10
Peppermint 7/15 - 8/30
Purple Loosestrife 7/15 - 8/31
Japanese Knotweed 7/25 - 8/29
Sunflower 8/1 - 8/30
Mountain Mint 8/1 - 9/30
Blue Globe Thistle 8/1 - 8/30
Alfalfa (2nd cut) 8/5 - 8/25
Goldenrods 8/25 - 9/30
Asters 9/10 - 10/30
This work was originally done by Roger Hoopingarner, PhD, in about 1957 and republished by Roger Sutherland in SEMBA News, 4/2010.
What is "RAW" honey?
Raw honey is honey that has not been heated or filtered. Processed honey is heated to around 140-180 degrees Fahrenheit and filtered with a filter that will remove particles smaller than 50 microns. This is done in order to make a pleasing clear product that won't crystallize on the grocer's shelf. The natural consequence of this heating and filtration is a change in the crystalline structure, and the removal of most of the pollen and enzymes that are felt to be nutritious and healthful. In the course of the season Windmill Hill Farm honey will crystallize. The honey is gently warmed to 120 degrees in order to change it from crystallized honey to liquid. It is then strained through a 200 micron bag allowing all of the pollen to pass (the maximum size of pollen grains is about 50 microns). The honey is then warmed to 120 degrees and bottled. The following background information on heating of honey is taken from a New Zeland company Airborne, http://www.airborne.co.nz/enzymes.shtml
The following background information on honey filtration is excerpted from the United States Department of Agriculture:
§52.1393 Styles. (a) Filtered. Filtered honey is honey of any type defined in these standards filtered to the extent that all or most of the fine particles, pollen grains, air bubbles, or other materials normally found in suspension, have been removed. (b) Strained. Strained honey is honey of any type defined in these standards that has been strained to the extent that most of the particles, including comb, propolis, or other defects normally found in honey, have been removed. Grains of pollen, small air bubbles, and very fine particles would not normally be removed. Reference: United States Standards for Grades of Extracted Honey, Effective date May 23, 1985, http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELDEV3011895
What is Creamed, White, Crystallized Honey?
Creamed honey goes by many names including white, crystallized, spun, whipped, natural and raw. It is simply honey that has been forced to crystallize in a fast and controlled manner. Most but not all creamed honey is raw; liquid honey can be just as raw as creamed honey. The objective of "creaming the honey is to make the finished product smooth to the taste. This is done by adding seed (some already finely crystallized honey) to the larger batch of liquid honey. Then the honey is homogenized and cooled at about 55 degrees Fahrenheit which is the optimum temperature for crystallization. Creamed honey is the most common state of honey in most of the world (not the US).
Honey shelf life?
Honey will last for centuries without turning bad. However, our honey is raw honey (natural) and will crystalize in a few months. You can extednd this time by keeping the honey in a warm place; ideally at about 80 degrees. Don't refridgerate. If you want to turn crystalized honey back into liquid warm it gently. The clear plastic bottles will melt if put into boiling water. We recommend our honey warmer.
Why is our honey Kosher?
We pride ourselves in having the cleanest honey house in the state. In addition to being licensed by the State, we felt one more certification of cleanliness couldn't hurt. We're inspected periodically by Rabi Jason Miller of Kosher Michigan, inc to insure that we maintain the highest possible standards in our honey production.
The news is filled with reports of pesticide residue in honey (especially honey from China). We had our honey tested by the USDA in 2008 and found no detectable (ND) pesticide residue from over 100 chemicals tested. There was measureable coumaphos which we used to treat for mites; we immediately stopped using that medication.
Why is WHF honey darker and thicker than grocery store honey?
The color of honey is mostly a function of what the bees forage on. This varies with the season and the region of the country. Our honey is a mixture of many flowers from SE Michigan and will be darker than grocery store honey. The viscocity (thickness) of honey is primarily a function of the water content; our honey tends to be around 17.5% moisture. That's very good compared to many honeys that are closer to 20% moisture. Honey that has been diluted with high fructose corn syrup will be lighter and more liquid than our WHF honey. The table below is from the American Honey Tasting Society https://www.americanhoneytastingsociety.com. Depending on the season, our honey is generally light amber.
What does Windmill Hill Farm honey taste like?
Like wine, honey connoissurs have a complex tasting wheel to categorize honey flavors. The best place to learn about honey tasting is the American Honey Tasting Society https://www.americanhoneytastingsociety.com. We think our honey is Floral but the best way to judge is to taste some yourself.
Is manuka honey better than wildflower honey
There is some evidence that manuka honey has superior wound healing. However, as a food all raw honey is nutritionally the similar. An excellent review in the Huffington Post provides a very fulsome and ballanced report.