Frequently Asked Questions
DO BLUE HILLS HONEYS HAVE ANY ADDITIVES?
Our honey is 100% pure and natural with no additives. All good honey naturally contains very small traces of bee pollen, which is highly sort after for its nutritional value.
HOW MANY BEES ARE IN A HIVE?
A beehive typically contains around 60,000 to 80,000 bees. Other than the queen bee, who is the mother of all the other bees, and a small number of drones (male bees) the colony consist mainly of female worker bees. As their name suggests, the worker bees do all of the work, from collecting nectar and pollen, to rearing the young and keeping the hive clean.
WHAT IF MY HONEY CRYSTALLISES?
We extract our honey using a traditional, cold extraction technique. This ensures that our honey retains all of its delicate flavours, aromas and natural properties. Because our honey hasn’t been heated or fine filtered, it eventually granulates (i.e. crystallises, or “candies”). All pure, wild honey should granulate over time but never spoils. Granulated honey can be gently restored to a liquid state by placing the glass jar in a pot of hot but not boiling, water or lukewarm oven under 45 degrees Celsius.
DOES HONEY HAVE AN EXPIRY DATE?
While some countries require imported honey to display a date marking of some form, this is not the case in Australia. While honey may lose some flavour and aroma over time, it does not spoil and will remain in good condition if stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Honey is best stored below 20 degrees Celsius. Apparently, honey that was thousands of years old was discovered in the tombs of the pharaohs and was still edible.
IS HONEY BETTER FOR YOU THAN SUGAR?
Honey contains trace elements and other nutrients that are not found in sugar. Although honey contains more calories than sugar, it is sweeter than sugar and therefore, people often replace the sugar in a recipe with a smaller amount of honey and consume fewer calories.
HOW DO WE REALLY KNOW THE HONEY TYPE?
Bees fly up to 5km. Each varietal of plant yields nectar at different times. So we have a clear understanding of the geography, seasonal conditions and flora within that 5km radius during the time of placement. The bees are gathered, transported, and placed into that specially chosen area where they can collect nature’s bounty from the blossums.
WHAT IS ACTIVE HONEY?
Honey has been used since the beginning of recorded history as a treatment for many types of ailments. One of the properties it has been observed to possess is the ability to stop infections. This is due to its antibacterial activity: hence the descriptor ‘active’ (see point 3 below).
Honey can stop bacterial infection in three ways:
- It has a very low water content which inhibits bacterial growth.
- Honey is sufficiently acidic to prevent the growth of many bacteria.
- It may contain antibacterial compounds such as methylglyoxal (MGO) or it can produce antibacterial substances such as hydrogen peroxide under appropriate conditions.
Most honey has the first two properties but if it also has the third property it is called active honey.
Peroxide active honey: some honeys show antibacterial activity arising from the generation of small amounts hydrogen peroxide by a naturally occurring enzyme. An example of peroxide active honey is leatherwood honey which is only produced in Tasmania.
The antibacterial activity test measures the honey’s ability to prevent the growth of the test bacterium. The antibacterial activity of a leatherwood honey measured as 20% phenol equivalent is exactly the same as a Manuka honey whose antibacterial activity is 20% phenol equivalent even though one honey has activity due to hydrogen peroxide, the other due to MGO (Methylgloxal). All our honey is independently tested.
It is important to store this honey correctly in a cool pantry to preserve this natural activity.