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All About Creamed Honey

Updated: May 3, 2021

What is Creamed Honey? Just honey with cream mixed in?

Despite the name, there’s no dairy in creamed honey.


So what is it?


Creamed honey was first developed in the early 1900’s as a way to transport honey from Canada to England without the honey turning sour. The original process was developed by Elton Dyce who was working with the Ontario Agricultural College. He learned that by controlling the crystallization process of honey, he could create a smooth, longer-lasting form of honey with no additives or preservatives.


Today, creamed honey is available in a range of different qualities. The difference relates to the size of the crystals that are formed, and therefore how smooth the honey is. Left to crystallize on its own, large, jagged crystals will form, leaving your honey rough and crunchy.


You may have seen this if you’ve had raw honey in your pantry for a while, as it tends to crystalize over time. If you’ve had honey that doesn’t crystallize, that is usually a sign that the honey has been processed to prevent crystallization. This means that the honey (like most honey available in grocery stores) has been pasteurized and often filtered to remove all the fine particles. This of course removes most of the benefits of honey, which is why we do neither of these things to our honey (you can read about how our honey goes from the hive to your home here).


To make creamed honey that is smooth and silky, we need to control the crystallization process so the crystals are very small and round in shape. To do this, we have created what is called a starter (think sourdough starter, but for creamed honey instead of bread!). This is a batch of crystalized honey with crystals in the shape that we want. We add this to raw honey, and once we mix the two together the raw honey will start to crystalize. The new crystals then take the size and shape of the starter; if you remember high school chemistry, we’re basically dictating the shape of the crystal lattice for the honey, instead of letting it pick the shape on its own. Over a period of a few weeks, the entire volume of honey will have crystalized, leaving a very thick, smooth jar of honey. May people will also say that the flavors are more concentrated as well. Same flavors, but packing a punch!


You also do not need to worry about the honey changing over time since it has already totally crystalized. You can store it in your refrigerator, or on your kitchen counter. Just don’t let it get too warm or it may start to turn more liquid—just like the raw honey we started with. If this starts to happen, just put it back in your refrigerator. In short: warm to soften, cool to harden.


So, if you’ve never had creamed honey, try a jar. We don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

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Dave, I read your piece on overwintering nucs in a double 4 frame configuration. I have tried this also and have had mixed success. I feel i have too small colonies going into winter for this config and also late reared queens. I was interested in your comments on insulation and the benefits the next spring in build up and bees. I am toying with trying poly nucs and wondered if you have much experience with them? I live in South Western Ontario, so prob a similar climate to you. Would love to explore this topic further if you are interested?

Thanks,

Kevin Dolan

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Hello Kevin, thanks for reaching out. There are so many factors that can affect the outcome and I'm not sure I can really comment based on the above info. I'd be happy to discuss what has worked for me and what I'm doing if you'd like to talk. Could you send an email to rexapiary@gmail.com with some times your available to talk. Dave

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