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Friday, 21 March 2014

Spring Honey

As an avid and enthusiastic if not successful beekeeper I am so excited to have my new shipment of bees. This year as in previous years I got my bees from a local beekeeper.

  According to the locals the Spring Honey flow is one of the largest in Victoria (if there are enough sunny warm days for gathering of course). I've been impatient so I went to Babes Honey and got a big container of their creamed gold and started experimenting with adding my Speculaas spice mixes to the honeys.

Babes Honey has some amazing flavored honeys right now so if you are local get down to Galley's Farm Store before it's gone. I fell in love with the Pumpkin Spiced, Eggnog and Chocolate. BTW I just can't stay out of the Pumpkin Spiced honey---I bought the last jar and I really hope they make more (yum!).

Here is Babes Facebook link... Facebook Babes Honey Farm and their website Babes Honey Website

 For you beekeepers out there, here might be a place to start thinking about how you like your honey flavored for the new year and your Summer harvest if you still have any. My fresh from the hive combed honey (yes, I managed to have one frame of comb honey left over after the wasp attacks) is the best. I like eating it comb and all on toast and by the spoonful. Hopefully this year we'll have enough to play with natural flavorings and of course different cosmetic applications. See my bee post for recipes here.

We also carry Honey Bee Friendly Essential oils for you beekeepers out there. Right now I'm stocking steam distilled Peppermint...
Peppermint is used by beekeepers to mask the queen scent in a location that has swarmed. This Spring you may have swarms and even if you collect your queen bees will be drawn to the location she was last seen and make your neighbors nervous with the clusters of bees. It's also handy to stop recurrent swarm spots in ungainly or undesirable locations.

We also carry Wintergreen, Tea Tree and Lemongrass that are used for many different beekeeper applications including swarm lure and brood building...
I've also been requested by Beekeepers to stock Lavender and Red Thyme to boost health in bees. It's added in minute quantities to the syrup we feed our bees. I'd suggest diluting a few drops in a cup of syrup and then adding this mixture to your bee feed by the teaspoon to quart jars of syrup. Be careful with essential oils, they may be natural but can be toxic in too high concentrations, especially to tiny organisms like bees.

I also enjoy floral honeys and will add a few drops of lavender essential oil to a cup of nice creamed honey.

Making creamed honey is super easy. Just 'seed' your liquid honey with your favorite creamed honey and it will crystallize to the same tiny size as your original honey in a few weeks. I use 1/2 c. per quart of liquid honey. It keeps nice indefinitely for table use, unlike liquid honey which can granulate to large unpalatable sizes. Just melt it down again if this happens to your stored honey but don't heat it up too high or you'll destroy all the valuable natural nutrients that raw honey imparts.