Honey taste and Flavors.
I wonder what the Flow hive honey taste like? Got samples??? Can’t eat the honeycomb…hope it doesn’t taste “plastic”…
Have you seen the video’s - http://www.honeyflow.com/faqs/p/22
It apparently taste’s like raw unfiltered honey, better than processed honey. Because the honey isn’t tampered with, heat treated, etc.
The plastic is high quality, food-grade, BPA-free plastic - http://www.honeyflow.com/faqs/p/22
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Awesome - Totally awesome - is how it tastes.
Taste very similar to fresh comb honey. Now we do not know why but feel it maybe to do with the lack of oxygenation of the honey.
Like spices and fresh ground coffee… and most other things - exposure to oxygen breaks down the aromatics and subtle flavours of a product. Honey is the same.
This is just an idea we have had - it may be wrong. Flow honey may also have different taste as it is easy to have single frame honey - so is a lot less of a mix of all nectar gathered in all frames - as may be the case with multiple frame extractions.
Lots and lots of thing use plastic and don’t have a plastic taste. Here in Australia there is a huge market in plastic water tanks for home drinking water etc.
In a more general way; we live in an area surrounded by Meyer lemon trees. They bloom twice a year. With the ability to extract the individual frames I am looking forward to perhaps having honey that is mostly “lemon” honey.
At other times of the year we have a ton of blooming Victorian box, which is very fragrant. I will be watching to see if we get much action with the bees on the trees. And if that fantastic fragrance translates in to scented honey.
My Father has a large mint bush right next to one of his hives. Every year we get a batch of honey with a strong mint flavour, which I love.
Having bees in the city will be interesting. I expect a great deal of variety most of the time since we do not have large plantings as might be found in large suburban yards or rural areas.
We have used wax and plastic frames and not noticed any difference in the flavour of the honey. I expect the flow frames will be neutral as well.
And to add to Jed’s comment, a majority of honey sold is already packaged in plastic on the grocery store shelf. Think about the squeezable honey bear that has been a popular container for honey for years.
Plus to add to this, in the “hive to table process” there is lots of plastic containers used in commercial honey production, and a lot of honey stays in plastic containers for an extended amount of time.
Many commercial honey frames in some regions are plastic frames already. As a note on this subject: Plastic frames are NOT typically used in the brood box where the bees are reared, as those frames are drawn comb made by the bees to the exact specific requirements of the bees. Different types of bees draw comb at different sizes ranging from 4.6mm to 6.6mm for Drone cells. Michael Bush has lots of research on this topic
Plastic frames would only be used in honey supers
extraction is done typically in stainless steel drums or machines, but the honey after extraction is stored in plastic “honey buckets”
5 Gallon with honey gate
5 gallon stored
20 Gallon stored
then if the quantities are great, they are stored in 1000 Litre IBCs
Of course this is not always the case, but typically if the honey is sold in glass containers, it is not until the final step of the process that the honey is actually placed into a glass container.
You handle nonsense so well, Flow team!
I love how you describe the effects of our surroundings have on honey. I can absolutely visualize your hives surrounded by the bright yellow meyer lemons! The smell of lemon and hum of happy bees must be intoxicating. I’d love to see you post a pic when the lemons are in bloom!
Becky, I am still dreaming of my own meyer lemon honey, but in the mean time, we were at one of those ridiculously expensive grocery stores and they were sampling
and it was incredible. Now I am even more excited for bees and flowering lemon trees!
Oooo, this looks so yummy! I’m going to have to look for this lemon honey. I bet Williams and Sonoma has it, no doubt, it will be pricey. I was at a little mom and pop specialty grocery store this weekend too and saw these flavored honey sticks. They had lemon, strawberry, cinnamon, rosemary, etc. to dip into your tea or coffee. The sticks varied in color, so I wonder if they added flavoring or if it was natural. I also wondered how they packaged those small sticks. Good grief, I feel another project coming on, lol.
Hi Jed, I agree with everything you say about plastic, so much of our food comes in food grade plastic, take a look at milk for example. However, I’m confused by the Flow Teams use of the terms oxygenation or oxidization of honey. I’ve never heard of this before. I googled it & found no information on oxidization of honey. Has the Flow Team invented a new term for honey. If it takes 2 hours to fill a jar of honey from a flow frame. Doesn’t that tiny flow of honey make contact with air? Don’ the bees use air flow (which contains oxygen) to actually de-water the honey from start to finish right through the process of ripening the honey? I await your reply, cheers
PS Jed, the only thing that will happen to honey when it is exposed to air is it will absorb moisture from the atmosphere. Honey is hygroscopic. Ripe honey is less hygroscopic than unripe honey, so it’s very important that we don’t take honey from our hives until it is fully ripe. We need to get honey out of our hives, extracted & into airtight containers as quickly as possible.
PS again, Jed, some honeys taste absolutely beautiful, some honeys taste downright awful, if it is untreated ripe, raw honey, that’s the best we can get, it beats pasteurized honey every day. Awful tasting ripe, raw honey would have to beat nice tasting pasteurized honey also. To say that honey coming out of a flow hive tastes totally awesome might be true on one occasion. That same honey would probably taste just as totally awesome coming out of a conventional hive. On a different occasion the honey coming out of a flow hive might taste absolutely awful, just the same as that same honey would taste absolutely awful coming out of a conventional hive. It is all relative to the actual flavor of the honey. Not a difference between flow vs conventional.
For starters, it is just an idea I have had - Not a ‘Flow team’ new term style idea - sorry, I did put ‘we’ but that was just me and Stuart were mulling this idea over.
Now as a bit of a coffee and spice nut myself - I know that both coffee and spices are highly effected by exposure to the air (or oxygen) as the aromatics and other compounds rapidly oxidise - and lose flavour.
The pasteurisation will have an effect - I believe if your interested in flavours there is a process called ‘Non-enzymatic browning’ that effects certain flavours.
There has possibly not been a whole lot of research into this area, so it is all speculation really - I feel oxygen exposure could effect taste, from a brief glance one place stated
"The aromatic substances (more than 300) are esters of aliphatic and aromatic acids, aldehydes, ketones and alcohols; β-damascenone and phenylacetal are especially relevant." - http://www.centerchem.com/Products/DownloadFile.aspx?FileID=6755
Yes, I totally agree that there is a myriad of flavours that can be acquired from a beehive - we are hoping that some of the universities that have purchased Flow products are going to do some extensive testing on all things Flow and honey.
Flow honey does have a slightly different flavour - but you are right in saying it is not going to change what was a weird tasting honey to awesome or change the worlds opinion of the flavour of honey. The main driver of the flavour may just be the single frame extraction. As currently most frames are being extracted into 1 jar per frame rather than 1 bucket per hive.
For me, I feel the extraction process could effect the flavour of the honey - this is not the hive type I am referring to but just extraction method - and other hives DO produce awesome honey.
Hope my idea flows… just doing too many things at one time this morning.
Thanks Jed, I’ve seen it mentioned before on this website “oxidization of honey”. The absolute best way to get honey, (apart from honey built in natural comb) is to make sure the frames are fully capped, de-cap & extract it as quickly as possible, strain it & get it into airtight containers as soon as possible. A few things will alter the honeys natural flavor. #1 taking it too soon, before it is completely ripened. #2 the addition of dead bees or brood into the honey. A lot of experienced beekeepers are saying that the frames must be examined before extraction to make sure the honey is ripe (fully capped) & there is no presence of brood on the frames. I’m inclined to agree with them. If you have any experience working with bees you’ll know that bees don’t work on one frame at a time. They work on all the frames from the top down. Sometimes you’ll see where one small honey flow started & stopped & so on right down the frame. This is evident by the different color wax. Single honey frames could hold several honey flavors. Don’t be tricked into believing that bees will only put a single flavor in a frame. About the extraction method: I really cannot see any difference between honey that has been properly extracted then honey that trickles out of a flow frame for a couple of hours. As long as the honey from the flow frame is fully capped & contains no dead bees or brood.
I don’t want to argue this point, you don’t see there can be a difference and that is OK.
1 - Flow honey to me tastes close to natural comb honey (but this is no scientific result, no double blind tests or large data groups).
2 - Of course I am under no belief that bees add 1 flavour per frame. We have noticed with the Flow frames and honey extracted from them, that it can be quite different in colour and flavour (yes this depends on the type of flow at the time) - If they were to fill every frame equally from top to bottom, one would think that all frames would be fairly uniform in colour and flavour when extracted. But really the bees are free to fill the frames however they wish.
3 - In the end, it is horse for courses - My kids are really picky when it comes to honey, and will not eat plenty of different flavours of honey - regardless of extraction process and hive type. Just enjoy keeping bees and the honey produced. Hopefully a person choses a hive type and extraction process makes them happy and they produce honey they like the taste of.
Thanks Jed, no worries mate, I’m just stating a few facts, hopefully you wont kick me off the sight. cheers
I wont kick anybody off - love to have discussions on these kinds of things, and to get a good discussion you need different views.
Honestly with my science background, I am really interested in the results of more detailed research on this subject. Not necessarily taste (as it is too subjective) but just complete analysis breakdown of different honeys.
In my opinion, I am happy for you to question and discuss all aspects of bee keeping and how Flow fits in it (if done respectfully (as I feel you have done)).
I am also too busy to get too deep into this one, and until more people have got Flow hives and are extracting honey and can contribute, I would be concerned that my single opinion is not completely unaffected by personal bias, as I do really like our product.
Thank you Jed, I really appreciate that, people have told me over the years that I should have been a scientist, but science covers many fields. As a scientist yourself, you’d probably realize that what I’m saying is all correct. It’s probably not a good idea for you blokes to tell newbees that the traditional extraction method causes honey oxidization, anyway I’ll leave it there, take care, bye