The kind I was most familiar with was the kind I grew up squeezing out of a plastic honey bear bottle. You know, the kind with the tiny black lid that is forever sticky to the touch. That is honey in its liquid form. But why would it sometimes crystallize and need to be microwaved (eek- plastic in the microwave!) to make it runny again?
Well, there are two sugars that make up honey- glucose and fructose. Depending on the type of flowers the nectar comes from, the ratio between the two sugars are different. Some ratios allow the honey to remain liquid, a different ratio causes it to later crystallize (becoming grainy and sometimes hard) and yet another makes it creamy and spreadable almost like peanut butter.
Of the honey we're harvested so far on our short beekeeping journey, we've mostly seen our honey turn creamy but some has stayed liquid and we love both forms. The liquid kind is perfect for drizzling over cereal, yogurt or into coffee. The creamier spreads beautifully on warm rolls (and doesn't run off the side). We don't do anything to our honey to make it either or- it's the sugars that dictate its form.
The one thing I was lamenting about was the best way to store the liquid honey so it would be easy to use. I didn't want a plastic bottle. Even a glass honey bear would require some sort of cap that would inevitably get sticky and attract all sorts of ants (which are already in my kitchen, grrr). So I went online and found this honey dispenser:
It can be used for honey or maple syrup, works beautifully and is inexpensive). To fill, we take off the (fake) silver lid which is attached to a plunger that stops up a hole in the bottom. Setting the top bowl on a plate (to stop up the hole now that the plunger is out) and using a funnel, we fill it with liquid honey. Then we screw the top back on, engaging the plunger and set it in it's glass stand. When we're ready to use it, we simply hold it over our food or drink, squeeze the handle and honey runs smoothly out the bottom. When we release the handle, the plunger reengages and stops the flow. It usually drips once and then we put it back in its stand. It makes a nice tight seal so no curious ants can find any sticky sweet excuse to raid my kitchen which makes me one happy woman.
comb in liquid honey on left, creamy on right
We store creamy honey in pint jars in the fridge. It maintains its creaminess there and is out of reach of ants since that lid does get a bit sticky.
Another form of honey which I've mentioned before, is comb honey. It's actual sections of honeycomb. It's often stored in liquid honey but sometimes it's sold in trays. It's best eaten (in our opinion) spread on warm toast or a bagel so that the wax comb melts into the bread and can be eaten right along with the bread and honey.
Some people heat and whip their honey to break down the crystals and make it creamy. We have bought this kind in the past and loved it. When some of our honey took on this form on its own, we were thrilled.
What's your favorite kind/type of honey?
P.S. Our bees seem to like their new homes and are busy pollinating our pears, peaches and strawberries! Pin It