Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

When I opened my latest jar of honey from my usual supplier - a bulk goods place - the honey, which was a dark colour reminiscent of golden syrup, smelt like honey, but tasted more like golden syrup. I have no objection to the dark colour - after all, melaleuca honeys are often quite dark- but I would expect melaleuca honey also to have that characteristic 'wild' taste. Am I right in assuming that the honey I bought might be adulterated? I would like to be sure before confronting the retailer. Some advice from an expert would be welcome, or even from someone who knows more than me.

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I am not a honey expert, Barbara, but we purchased a jar of honey from an egg place at Zillmere and it was dark and tasted a bit like golden syrup and a bit of a caramel taste to it.   My sister is a bee keeper, and I will ask her to taste and see what she thinks next time I see her.

Thanks, Christa

I used to keep bees,  but I am far from an expert and the darkest honey was from the paper barks. It was also quite a thick honey and was very prone to going solid. They used to flower coming out of winter and so the honey from these trees would be available at about now. The honey that you get from a stationary hive will nearly always be a mixture of flower types. The honey that is the purest to a single flower type is usually where the bee keeper moves his bees around to take advantage of one tree species that is profusely flowering at a given time e.g. Ironbark, or where they have been contracted by an orchardist for pollination purposes. I don't know if this helps.

I'm a new beekeeper and am astounded at the colour and taste variations I've seen in other people's honey also the viscosity and in its varying readiness to thicken (crystallise).

The colour and taste may vary enormously over the seasons depending on what is in flower local to the hive.

You probably already know to pop your 'thickened' honey out in the sun to naturally turn it back to runny.

Your bulk seller should welcome you asking what the bees were feeding on to give this batch its distinctive colour and flavour, I would ask them so they can enquire of the beekeeper.

Presently my Brighton honey is light yet some I've seen from Deagon is dark.

Another local backyard beekeeper recently had for sale some thick winter honey and runny spring honey.

So you can expect all sorts of variations in locally 'grown' honey.

Hard for anyone not tasting or looking at the product to tell.

Does the label say "pure honey"? Even then the bee keeper could have used sugar water to feed his bees.

Best way to find something out is to go to the source and ask.


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