Please see below for our most frequently asked questions!
Do you have a question about Bee Maid or our honey?
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Bees and the resulting honey production are affected by weather, just like the crops and flowers they forage. In the Canadian Prairies, the incredibly hot and dry summer of 2021 resulted in honey with a lower moisture content. Lower moisture honey doesn’t affect the taste or quality of our Canadian honey, but it does mean that our creamed honey is a bit harder than usual and may take some time to soften.
You also may not know that the freshest creamed honey is actually hard! This is because of the process for achieving the creamed texture. To produce creamed honey, one first takes a small amount of already creamed honey, called “seed honey”. This seed honey is mixed with liquid honey, churned, and cooled on our packing line. The honey is then packed in containers and stored in a cool area for a few days. This process creates a very smooth, even granulation effect throughout the honey, giving it a more solid, or a “creamed” texture. This process means that when it ships, the honey is very hard.
If you would like to help this process of softening up the honey, you can place the tub above your stove or in a warmer area of your house. It may take a couple of weeks for the product to soften up, giving you the creamy consistency you know and love!
Another trick to get that creamy texture you love is to insert a knife up and down throughout the container several times (not stirring) as this process helps separate the honey and allows for easier spreading. See our video below!
We know that it’s not ideal that you can’t use the honey the moment you get it home from the store. The current texture of our creamed honey is simply an outcome of working with pure, natural honey and is not a food safety or quality issue. We are proud of the 100% pure Western Canadian honey that we pack on behalf of our beekeeper owners. We hope that the lovely taste of our Creamed Honey is worth the wait!
Honey can be stored pretty much anywhere, at any temperature. It’s one of the few products in the world that never goes bad, due to its unique chemical composition. Honey has a very low water content (normally less than 18%), and a fairly high acidic level: this makes for very unfavorable conditions for bacteria to grow. If bacteria cannot grow in honey, then it cannot spoil. This basically gives it an indefinite shelf life.
Liquid honey however should be stored in your cupboard at room temperature as if it is kept in the refrigerator; the cooler temperature will promote and speed up the crystallization of liquid honey. Creamed honey may be kept in the refrigerator if you prefer the texture to be firm or at room temperature if you would like your honey to be soft and easy to spread.
Just to give you an idea of honey’s durability, archeologists have discovered jars of honey entombed with Egyptian mummies, and the honey is still edible, even after thousands of years! Don’t worry, though: the honey that Bee Maid regularly sells is somewhat fresher.
Our bottles do not contain BPA. BPA is not in the resins used in the manufacturing of our PET and LDPE bottles.
Over time, many types of honey will granulate, or crystallize. This is a natural process that can occur. The honey looks cloudy, and results in a separation with a liquid part on the top and a more solid, crystallized part on the bottom. Depending upon the original nectar source, this granulation or crystallization rate might differ from honey type to honey type, but it’s a normal occurrence, and not harmful in the least.
Granulated (or crystallized) honey is just as safe to eat as non-granulated honey, but it can be easily restored to its natural state. Just warm up the container with the granulated honey in hot water. The crystals will melt and the honey will re-liquefy easily, although each time it’s re-heated, the honey will granulate slightly quicker than before.
We put "best before" dates on our honey as a guideline to the retailers that are selling it, to help them track the product, and to keep the honey on the shelves as fresh as possible. While honey doesn’t spoil, liquid honey will granulate over a period of time. This does not affect the quality of the honey at all, although it changes its appearance. Most retailers will rotate their honey stock on the shelf but if you happen to have honey that is past the Best Before date, feel free to eat it; it’s absolutely safe to consume!
For pasteurized honey, we use a "flash heating" method, to minimize the amount of time that the honey is exposed to the heat and to reduce the risk of damaging or burning it. The honey is heated very quickly to about 160°F and then rapidly cooled, which will kill the yeast cells without damaging the product. This process is done on our production line during the packing procedure.
With unpasteurized honey, we warm it just enough to allow for easy bottling and straining. All of our honey is bottled warm, for maximum freshness and quality, filtered for cleanliness, and ready-to-eat!
Pasteurizing honey is a very different thing than pasteurizing milk or other dairy products, and it’s done for very different reasons. Because of its low moisture content and high acidity, bacteria and other harmful organisms cannot live or reproduce in honey, so pasteurization is not done for that purpose. One of the few things that can live in honey is yeast, although if the moisture content is below 18% (as it normally is), the yeast cells cannot reproduce. All nectar (the source for all honey) contains osmophilic yeasts, which can reproduce in higher-moisture content honey and cause fermentation. While fermented honey does not necessarily pose any health risk, we try to discourage it, so Bee Maid pasteurizes its honey to kill any latent yeast cells that might be present and to remove any chance of fermentation.
Another side benefit of pasteurizing honey is that it will slow down the granulation process. Pasteurized honey will last longer in its liquid state than unpasteurized honey, which makes for a more appealing-looking product for both retailers and consumers.
Liquid honey is basically honey’s natural form: when produced by the bees and stored in the comb in the hive, honey is in a liquid state. Aside from being filtered and pasteurized, Bee Maid’s liquid honey you can buy on the shelves is the same honey that you find in the hives. Nothing is added to it, nor is it necessary to add anything to it.
Nothing is added to creamed honey either; the only difference is in the packing technique. To produce creamed honey, one first takes a small amount of already creamed honey, called “seed honey”. This seed honey is mixed with liquid honey, churned, and cooled on our packing line. The honey is then packed in containers and stored in a cool area for a few days. This process creates a very smooth, even granulation effect throughout the honey, giving it a more solid, or a “creamed” texture (NOTE: there is no cream in creamed honey).
Liquid honey is great for baking, cooking, or mixing with teas, coffees, or any other beverage. Creamed honey is wonderful on toasts and breads. Both are good for you, although everybody seems to have their personal preference.