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Honey


mikeycook
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I have been doing a lot of cooking with honey recently, particularly candymaking, and have tried several varieties. Last night I was talking to my wife about some nougat that I had tried several batches of and she told me that she actually prefers the grocery store brand honey (ShopRite honey) to the orange blossom honey I had purchased from Dutch Gold in the nougat because it is more straightforwardly sweet.

I had purchased a few other varieties from Dutch Gold (Clover, Tupelo, Raspberry, Blueberry) but before I try them in the recipe, I wanted to find out what kind of honey is the "generic" kind. Is there a particular variety of honey that is packaged commercially as just "honey" instead of stating a particular variety? I may be looking to purchase this kind of honey in bulk and would prefer not to buys cases of the shoprite honey (unless that really turns out to be the best approach) but would like to buy 60lb. buckets instead.

Any guidance would be grealy appreciated.

"If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony."

~ Fernand Point

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I have been doing a lot of cooking with honey recently, particularly candymaking, and have tried several varieties.  Last night I was talking to my wife about some nougat that I had tried several batches of and she told me that she actually prefers the grocery store brand honey (ShopRite honey) to the orange blossom honey I had purchased from Dutch Gold in the nougat because it is more straightforwardly sweet.

I had purchased a few other varieties from Dutch Gold (Clover, Tupelo, Raspberry, Blueberry) but before I try them in the recipe, I wanted to find out what kind of honey is the "generic" kind.  Is there a particular variety of honey that is packaged commercially as just "honey" instead of stating a particular variety?  I may be looking to purchase this kind of honey in bulk and would prefer not to buys cases of the shoprite honey (unless that really turns out to be the best approach) but would like to buy 60lb. buckets instead.

Any guidance would be grealy appreciated.

You may find the Dutch Gold website helpful. It includes a description of the different varieties of honey that they offer, including origin, color, flavor and sweetness level. Also, if you click on the online store and then on the link to 1-lb. honey jars, you will see all the varieties with descriptions and recommended uses.

According to the web site, the orange blossom variety has a medium flavor profile with a subtle hint of citrus. Clove and alfalfa are both mild honeys and they are sometimes blended to produce a generic "honey." Dutch Gold's "premium" honey jar is made of this blend. I bet the ShopRite honey is some sort of mild blend. Dutch Gold also sells a 60 lb. pail of honey called "Baker's Special Pure Honey" that is not mentioned on the web site (I can get it thru one of my suppliers). But they do offer 60 lb. pails of the other varieties and maybe even the blend if you contact them.

A few other random comments: In my shop I sell locally produced clover, wildflower and buckwheat honey and orange blossom that is packed locally but produced in the south. I find the clover and wildflower to be the mildest and I have used both for baking.

It's worth pointing out that none of the above varieties are flavored; the honey is from nectar gathered by bees from the specific plants identified on the label. I say this because sometimes you see blueberry or raspberry honey in a store, but it is actually a generic honey blend that is flavored with a natural (or artificial) flavor. The ingredient label should be checked to make sure it just says "honey."

I guess my only other thought is to try the varieties that you purchased; maybe you'll discover an interesting new flavor profile for your candymaking.

Ilene

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I have been doing a lot of cooking with honey recently, particularly candymaking, and have tried several varieties.  Last night I was talking to my wife about some nougat that I had tried several batches of and she told me that she actually prefers the grocery store brand honey (ShopRite honey) to the orange blossom honey I had purchased from Dutch Gold in the nougat because it is more straightforwardly sweet.

I had purchased a few other varieties from Dutch Gold (Clover, Tupelo, Raspberry, Blueberry) but before I try them in the recipe, I wanted to find out what kind of honey is the "generic" kind.  Is there a particular variety of honey that is packaged commercially as just "honey" instead of stating a particular variety?  I may be looking to purchase this kind of honey in bulk and would prefer not to buys cases of the shoprite honey (unless that really turns out to be the best approach) but would like to buy 60lb. buckets instead.

Any guidance would be grealy appreciated.

You may find the Dutch Gold website helpful. It includes a description of the different varieties of honey that they offer, including origin, color, flavor and sweetness level. Also, if you click on the online store and then on the link to 1-lb. honey jars, you will see all the varieties with descriptions and recommended uses.

According to the web site, the orange blossom variety has a medium flavor profile with a subtle hint of citrus. Clove and alfalfa are both mild honeys and they are sometimes blended to produce a generic "honey." Dutch Gold's "premium" honey jar is made of this blend. I bet the ShopRite honey is some sort of mild blend. Dutch Gold also sells a 60 lb. pail of honey called "Baker's Special Pure Honey" that is not mentioned on the web site (I can get it thru one of my suppliers). But they do offer 60 lb. pails of the other varieties and maybe even the blend if you contact them.

A few other random comments: In my shop I sell locally produced clover, wildflower and buckwheat honey and orange blossom that is packed locally but produced in the south. I find the clover and wildflower to be the mildest and I have used both for baking.

It's worth pointing out that none of the above varieties are flavored; the honey is from nectar gathered by bees from the specific plants identified on the label. I say this because sometimes you see blueberry or raspberry honey in a store, but it is actually a generic honey blend that is flavored with a natural (or artificial) flavor. The ingredient label should be checked to make sure it just says "honey."

I guess my only other thought is to try the varieties that you purchased; maybe you'll discover an interesting new flavor profile for your candymaking.

Thanks for the note. I had bought a pail of the orange blossom from dutch gold and definitely found it was too strong for nougat. I was planning to try the clover next, so thanks for the tip. I will also ask about the baker's honey.

So, I guess I'll have to make a tanker truck full of tea to use up the rest of my orange blossom. :biggrin:

"If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony."

~ Fernand Point

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Most readily available generic honeys are blends.

Are you interested in quality? It's recommended that you use raw honey. You can get a blended raw honey at the Farmer's Market in Union Square.

You might try your recipe with buckwheat honey, which has a darker, heavier and sweeter taste.

I like to bake nice things. And then I eat them. Then I can bake some more.

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Most readily available generic honeys are blends. 

Are you interested in quality?  It's recommended that you use raw honey.  You can get a blended raw honey at the Farmer's Market in Union Square.

You might try your recipe with buckwheat honey, which has a darker, heavier and sweeter taste.

Do you know if the Farmer's Market brings bulk sizes? I will definitely check that out.

"If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony."

~ Fernand Point

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I thought most "plain" honey was Clover honey, because that's what I see the most of in stores.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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I used to have to buy honey in 55 gallon drums and it was definitely a blend. They invariably were marked product of Argentina, China, and the United States. You want to read a good book about honey get "Robbing the Bees."

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In my student days I worked for a honey producer every summer. In southwestern Ontario. We kept the best clover honey for local customers, because it was light, sweet, and had great taste and scent, nothing excessive. The darker 'weed honey' from late summer and fall, was packed in 70 lb cans and sent to a large honey marketer, "BillyBee" in Toronto. The owner bought honey from all over, mainly Ontario, Alberta (Peace River is the best), the Carribean, and South America. He mixed white honey with darker grades and achieved, just barely, a "White # 1" grade on the the Billy Bee label. When I see large bottles of Billy Bee in Costco today, it looks very dark compared to real clover honey. It is a commercial blend, and hard to reccomend if you can get clover honey from a small producer.

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That explains why the commercial honey in supermarkets never tastes as good (to me) as local honey. I never knew about the different grades ("weed honey") or blending until today. This is so interesting. Thanks for the info.

Ilene

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That explains why the commercial honey in supermarkets never tastes as good (to me) as local honey. I never knew about the different grades ("weed honey")  or blending until today. This is so interesting. Thanks for the info.

The big producers will also pasteurize their blends. This removes flavour and darkens slightly.

Non pasteurized (or raw, as mentioned in another post) will harden into a crystallized mass when stored for a month or two, but a gentle hot water bath will revive it without altering the flavour or colour.

Clover honey should be available locally, and very fresh, from May to July, as you go south to north in the U.S. and Canada.

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That explains why the commercial honey in supermarkets never tastes as good (to me) as local honey. I never knew about the different grades ("weed honey")  or blending until today. This is so interesting. Thanks for the info.

The big producers will also pasteurize their blends. This removes flavour and darkens slightly.

Non pasteurized (or raw, as mentioned in another post) will harden into a crystallized mass when stored for a month or two, but a gentle hot water bath will revive it without altering the flavour or colour.

Clover honey should be available locally, and very fresh, from May to July, as you go south to north in the U.S. and Canada.

Are there any difference in cooking with raw vs. pasteurized honey? Anything I should look out for when heating it?

"If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony."

~ Fernand Point

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Are there any difference in cooking with raw vs. pasteurized honey? Anything I should look out for when heating it?

No. If you cook with it, mixing in with other ingredients, and heating it, it would be hard to tell the difference. A strong flavoured honey, such as orange blossom, or buckwheat, would stand out whther pasteurized or not. But clover honey is more delicate, and might be appreciated fresh and drizzled, as compared to pasteurized.

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I would stay away from honey from China. It was a pretty big issue a few years back about honey either being not really honey, but a kinda sugar + chemicals thingy, or the honey being produced by bees with so much 'productivity' hormones and chemicals in them that the honey had dangerous levels of antibiotics and other nasty stuff.

I cannot quote accurately a source of this information, for its from a trade report prepared by import agencies that I get from all over the place due to my involvement in vanilla beans then.

Anyway, when the chinese stuff was temporarily banned, Taiwan, then Singapore suddenly became the biggest "producer" of honey! Everything was being imported into Singapore, relabeled and sent out again.

In Australia, a very big supermarket brand was found by the authorities to be deceiving customers and selling chemicaled honey instead of real honey and were punished heavily. Chances are if you live in SE Asia, you'd have purchased this brand before just like me.

Not sure how safe or real chinese honey is now, but just a few months back, they've had another controversy regarding the levels of chemicals, antibiotics and other bad stuff that they put in the water to rear eating fish. Basically, they were selling carcinogen laden fish.

Friends in China working for commodities houses report that many farmers grow GM rice there for sale mostly to 3rd world governments whose citizens can't get enough stuff like riboflavins or beta carotenes from their other daily foods. The farmers don't even eat their own produce coz they suspect its nasty.

So..........just hope to share the info that was passed on regarding such dodgy produce. China may be cheap, but their quality standards are far from perfect. Veges coming from certain economic zones may contain high levels of carcinogens or pollutants. During a 12 hour train ride from Shanghai to Wenzhou, there are lots of farms blanketed by thick smog overhead. It may be cheap to buy now.......but maybe health cost in the future would be higher? Sounds like a bad return!

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I would stay away from honey from China.  It was a pretty big issue a few years back about honey either being not really honey, but a kinda sugar + chemicals thingy, or the honey being produced by bees with so much 'productivity' hormones and chemicals in them that the honey had dangerous levels of antibiotics and other nasty stuff.

I cannot quote accurately a source of this information, for its from a trade report prepared by import agencies that I get from all over the place due to my involvement in vanilla beans then.

Anyway, when the chinese stuff was temporarily banned, Taiwan, then Singapore suddenly became the biggest "producer" of honey! Everything was being imported into Singapore, relabeled and sent out again.     

In Australia, a very big supermarket brand was found by the authorities to be deceiving customers and selling chemicaled honey instead of real honey and were punished heavily.    Chances are if you live in SE Asia, you'd have purchased this brand before just like me.

Not sure how safe or real chinese honey is now, but just a few months back, they've had another controversy regarding the levels of chemicals, antibiotics and other bad stuff that they put in the water to rear eating fish.  Basically, they were selling carcinogen laden fish.

Friends in China working for commodities houses report that many farmers grow GM rice there for sale mostly to 3rd world governments whose citizens can't get enough stuff like riboflavins or beta carotenes from their other daily foods.    The farmers don't even eat their own produce coz they suspect its nasty.

So..........just hope to share the info that was passed on regarding such dodgy produce.    China may be cheap, but their quality standards are far from perfect.  Veges coming from certain economic zones may contain high levels of carcinogens or pollutants.    During a 12 hour train ride from Shanghai to Wenzhou, there are lots of farms blanketed by thick smog overhead.    It may be cheap to buy now.......but maybe health cost in the future would be higher?  Sounds like a bad return!

GM rice to avoid rickets in third world markets is quite common now, and hard to argue against.

There is a lot of scary stuff in your post but undocumented.

Getting fresh honey from a local producer should be quite easy for anyone living in an area with fresh markets.

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Well, on the Chinese honey issue -- in 2002, honey from China was found to contain trace amounts of the antibiotic chloramphenicol, but I don't think I would characterize the amounts detected as "dangerous levels". This antibiotic is banned in Canada and the EU for use in food producing animals because of an extremely rare side effect that occurs at much higher doses. The levels that were detected in honey were 0.3 to 34.0 parts per billion, which means that the dose of chloramphenicol in 2tsp contaminated honey is less than 1/10,000,000 the daily therapeutic dose used to treat typhoid in humans. In other words, you'd have to eat 20 million teaspoons of the contaminated honey in order to get the dose of chloramphenicol that is normally used to treat infections in humans. This doesn't really matter though -- if the trade agreements specify that you can't use this chemical in food-producing animals, than exporters have to abide by them.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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Also, I'm 99% sure that GM rice is not being produced commercially in any country yet. China has adopted several GM crops, in particular GM cotton, but I think GM rice is still in field trials in China at this point. Golden rice --rice engineered to produce the vitamin A precursor beta-carotene-- is, for a variety of reasons, not yet being produced in large quantitites in any country to my knowledge.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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GM rice is probably still in field trials in a public sense, but to that I leave to the scientists. A major Japanese car company has dwelved into biotech and currently does lots of research and experimenting in Thailand with a University. As their standards are really really strict, none of these are released for public consumption, only testing purposes. My mate's family has a JV with em up north where they are trying to cultivate short grain rice like hoshihikari to be adaptable to a non-Japanese climate, but taste like it does in Japan. Once you taste hoshihikari in Niigata and the ones grown elsewhere....you can taste and feel the difference. They believe in karma, so are very strict on permanently disposing of rice that has been carded for destruction.

However, we do know of lots of backdoor deals in China that go thru to the golden triangle. One of our associates currently grow their own rice in India for pressing oil with but resorted to that only because the cheapest ones they could get their hands on were backdoor ones that were meant to be destroyed. In Asia, most of this info is available only on the ground through networks and getting ones hands dirty. A few bucks here and there goes a long way.

Fortunately in Thailand, they grow amazing rice and it is strictly regulated due to great governance by his Majesty the King. One day, I hope to visit the royal farm, if ever the opportunity arises. Most rice grown is either consumed locally or exported to richer countries.

What I'm trying to say is that lots of things go on behind the scenes that are not reported or widely known. In these countries, people are so poor and hungry that they won't throw away the rice or destroy it as told. Thats why you still have people in villages eating birds that die of H5N1. You can't really blame them for they are not as fortunate as we are. Seen some pretty disturbing stuff at the producer of chickies for the lyke me fingees people. Can't really compare it to the standards in the west. All those 'undercover' reports exposed in newspapers don't come close to reality.

And my apologies if I do not name names as there may be legal issues here for myself and the forum, and that will not lend credibility to my words. Unfortunately, these businesses have the financial means to shut peoples' mouths. If the moderators should feel this is pushing the line a little, I will stop this completely, but I just hope to share more about what I've seen and heard from the ground. Don't mean to scare or offend anyone, but I love food and hate it when unscrupulous businesspeople destroy what is so sacred and dear to us, and give business a bad name.

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