ABOUT HONEY - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
WHAT IS THE SHELF-LIFE OF HONEY?
It has been known in our current history that honey has the potential to remain stable for thousands of years. Jars of honey were discovered in the tombs of ancient Egypt which were totally safe to consume even after thousands of years. This is due in part to its high sugar, low moisture content. Honey is acidic and contains anti-microbial enzymes produced by the bee. All these conditions are conducive to the stability and freshness of honey. Bees understand when the moisture content of honey is correct and cap the cells with wax when it falls below 18% moisture content. We harvest our honey with a minimum of 80-90% cappings and also test with a refractometer to ensure proper moisture content prior to bottling so you, the consumer, can feel confident in your purchase.
WHAT DOES HONEY TASTE LIKE?
This is a question as old as man himself. The only way to properly describe the taste is to taste honey for yourself. Honey can acquire various flavor profiles and color based on the flowers the bees are harvesting nectar from. Different species of plants can flower at many different times throughout the seasons, therefore, the flavor can vary tremendously from hive to hive. Here at Windy Gap Apiary our bees have a small orchard with peach, apple, plum, blueberry, blackberry, strawberry, and grapes to harvest along with thousands of acres of hardwood ridges that totally surround our small apiary. Additionally, we have a large vegetable garden that the bees enjoy pollinating and gathering nectar. Recent customer feedback suggests our honey has a prolific peachy flavor.
WHAT IS RAW HONEY?
Raw honey is totally unheated, unpasteurized, and unprocessed which is more nutritious and contains more antioxidants. Most commercial honey utilizes very fine filters and pasteurization that removes many of the beneficial components and enzymes.
Here at Windy Gap Apiary our honey goes from the extractor to the strainer to the bottle, therefore, maintaining all the beneficial pollen and enzymes. The average pollen size is 25 microns and the largest is approximately 100 microns. The finest hobbyist filter is 200 microns, therefore, all the beneficial pollen is retained. If unstrained honey is desired, please contact us and we will accommodate your needs based on availability.
SHOULD I BUY LOCAL HONEY?
While there is much debate on the benefits of honey and allergies among society and the scientific community alike, there is actually little research done on the matter. We personally have witnessed numerous customers totally eliminate their allergy medications after regularly consuming raw honey. There is also much debate on purchasing local honey within a specific radius of your residence. While the thought seems plausible, I am not exactly certain if there is a definitive answer on the matter. Being that said with the many beneficial medicinal properties honey contains, we feel you would benefit no matter your location. We feel the flavor and quality of our honey speaks for itself. For your consumer confidence in purchasing from Windy Gap Apiary, we go the extra mile in sanitizing all glassware prior to bottling. All products are sealed and/or shrink-wrapped to ensure the highest consumer confidence.
DOES HONEY REALLY HAVE MEDICINAL PROPERTIES?
While Windy Gap Apairy cannot claim that our honey has medicinal benefits, history dictates that honey has been quite the elixir over time. The historic Greek physician and pharmacologist, Dioscorides, was one of the leading sources in botanical terminology and pharmacological text for 16 centuries. He traveled as a surgeon with the armies of Rome allowing the studies of many plants and minerals. The medicinal dietetic value of honey has been illustrated in his second book of a 5 volume collection of work known as De Materia Medica. Below is a link to artwork from the text which depicts the mixing of a honey elixir as a medicine: https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/57.51.21/
According to the website NCBI, "Honey is a by-product of flower nectar and the upper aerodigestive tract of the honey bee, which is concentrated through a dehydration process inside the beehive. Honey has a very complex chemical composition that varies depending on the botanical source. It has been used both as food and medicine since ancient times. Human use of honey is traced to some 8000 years ago as depicted by Stone Age paintings. In addition to the important role of natural honey in the traditional medicine, during the past few decades, it was subjected to laboratory and clinical investigations by several research groups and it has found a place in modern medicine."
HEY, MY HONEY HAS CRYSTALS AND WON'T POUR. WHAT'S THE DEAL?
The crystallization of honey is a natural process that takes place at different times based upon the nectar source. If your honey is crystalized do not be alarmed. Some folks actually prefer their honey in a crystallized state which is perfectly safe to eat. It is known that goldenrod, aster, and sunflower typically crystalize faster than other species, such as the false Acacia also better known as the Black Locust and other hardwood species. Also, raw honey crystalizes quicker than processed honey and it is certain to assume that if honey never crystalizes more than likely it has been adulterated.
It is best not to heat honey beyond 98.6 degrees as this can cause loss of nearly 200 compounds partly which are anti-bacterial. We also recommend never to microwave honey as it will destroy the beneficial enzymes contained within.
To remove crystallization, place honey into a bowl of hot tap water and let sit. Repeat until honey reaches desired consistency.