21 January 2011
More on honey
Commercial honey quality is judged by these four factors:
1. mild flavor
2. clean aroma
3. absence of defects (bits of honeycomb, critter body parts, etc.)
4. light to clear color
Honey ranges in color from almost clear, to nearly white, to nearly black. Honey can have tints of yellow, amber, orange, green, and even blue. Honey is considered more valuable when its color is lighter and costs even more when it's almost colorless. The light-colored honey usually has a more delicate flavor and aroma. In fact, honey grading, and therefore its pricing structure, is based on its appearance relative to color and clarity.
For best storage capability, store pure, unprocessed honey. It does not normal support growth of bacteria and requires no refrigeration to prevent yeast and mold populations. Store all honey in containers with tight-fitting lids. And remember to rotate if you are storing large amounts. Date each container.
As long as honey is kept sealed in a cool, dry, and dark place, it has virtually no storage limitations, as proven by the ancients. Avoid storing honey in plastic buckets or pails near petroleum products, chemicals, or any other fume or odor producing product.
Pure, unprocessed comb honey: keeps best in covered containers in a cool, dark, and dry place. It is the purest form of honey and requires no preservatives. Pure honey usually becomes crystallized as it ages or if stored at cold temps. Creamed honey: may be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Freezing or refrigeration will not harm creamed honey, but may speed its crystallization. This crystallization can be cured by warming. Diluted honey: when diluted with water or any other liquid, honey should be kept tightly covered in the refrigerator. As with other syrups, diluted honey may ferment or mold quickly if not kept cold. Usually the label on the honey container will indicate the best means of storage.
Honey is a natural food and is much better for you than sugar. Baked products stay fresher longer when honey is used. Honey absorbs and retains moisture, thus retarding the drying out and staleness associated with home-baked items.
Making the Best of Basics