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Author Topic: The colors of honey  (Read 1879 times)

Offline stella

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The colors of honey
« on: July 11, 2012, 12:19:48 PM »
I have robbed honey 3 times so far this year. The first 2 batches have a green tint and a licorice kind of taste. it is not sugar syrup honey and I have not treated the bees with any chemicals . It is honey from the spring blooms of crab apple, apple and other blossoms. It is from the honey super.

The 3rd batch is a perfect golden color and tastes wonderful, not licorice-y. It is from the deep.

I noticed the green tint when I lined the jars up in the sun.

Any idea why the first honey is so different? Any plant blossom that would cause this green tint?
“The hum of bees is the voice of the garden.” — Elizabeth Lawrence

Offline Algonam

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Re: The colors of honey
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2012, 11:09:40 PM »
Stella, I've been waiting for someone to answer your question.......the best answer I can give you is what I've learned in 1 year!
Last August/September our honey looked like motor oil. We figured it was due to all of the purple loose strife our bees were on. It tasted strong, good, but strong. This Spring (early July) we extracted only 3 frames and the honey was dark and very light and smooth. Nowhere as sweet as last Falls honey. Now we are preparing for this weekend when we will be extracting over 20 frames of honey and I can let you know how that tastes once we are through with all of that fun. (We bought a 2 frame manual extractor! Whoohoo!!)
So far we have never treated our bees! The honey we are extracting is all coming from our 2 original hives from last year. Also, this year we haven't fed them any sugar/water at all so we are guessing this is what honey would taste like straight out of a naturally wild hive.

Oh Canada!

Offline Vance G

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Re: The colors of honey
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2012, 10:10:18 PM »
Do you have leafy spurge in your area?  It darkens and greens up honey.  Too much of it mixed in is pretty rank, but it could be a lot of things.  There is a licorice root that grows in wooded areas in Minneasota.  I don't know what it's bloom looks like and only barely remember the plant from my ethnobotany many moons ago.

Offline tryintolearn

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Re: The colors of honey
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2012, 03:24:49 AM »
my brother and i moved a hive to a cypress swamp to see if we cud get tupilo honey one time and we had a late frost that did away with the blooms...we still managed to get the poplar though... it was a very dark honey that smelled like syrup...the best we have had so far...I'm thinking it was poplar...any ideas?

Offline Hemlock

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Re: The colors of honey
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2012, 12:07:19 PM »
Anise hyssop can be licoricey.  Local garden perhaps? (Agastache)

Offline stella

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Re: The colors of honey
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2012, 06:44:11 PM »
Thanks Algonam, for bringing this back up. I just figured no one had an answer. Yes, the tint of motor oil is a good description.
We do have both the hyssop and the spurge! Thanks! I have quite a few master gardeners in my 'hood'. And lots of wilderness for those bees to go foraging.

Congrats on your extractor Algonam! Very cool! Let me know how it works out.

Im going to collar those girls next year so I can follow their whereabouts. They never leave a note saying where they are going.
“The hum of bees is the voice of the garden.” — Elizabeth Lawrence

Offline Algonam

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Re: The colors of honey
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2012, 07:43:19 AM »
July extraction is complete.
In June we extracted 3 deep frames of very dark light tasting honey, which gave us 5 litres.
Yesterday we extracted 20 deep frames of light coloured honey, like a "bud light" colour and it too tastes light...different from the other, but light.
There was a dark patch of honey in one frame. My wife tasted it before extracting it and said it was horribly bitter. I tasted it and didn't have the same reaction. Anyways, we included that in the mix as well and we will call it wildflower honey, as there are no crops in our area and a mixture of old pasture and mixed bush. We are now wondering what could have been the source of that dark patch. Maybe someting that was only in bloom for a day or 2? Who knows, we'll never know.
The 20 deep frames gave us between 7 and 8 imperial gallons. (7 imperial gallons = 8.4 US gallons).
I don't know how much more honey we will get this year with the dangerously dry conditions. These days there is a new forest fire popping up every few days it is so dry. We haven't had rain in weeks so I don't know what the bees will be bringing in, in these conditions. There are different flowers that are doing well in these conditions but I don't know if they produce enough for our bees.
As I have learned with the bees, leave them alone and time will tell.....

Oh Canada!