Sunday, February 27, 2011
Seeing and Tasting Yellow
It took a long time but finally I was able to identify the unusual flavour of our spring honey.
It was dandelions.
Now I didn't make this decision on my own. I had experts help me. In other words I took a jar of honey to the local bee meeting and said, "Help! I can't figure out why this honey tastes strange."
Let me back up to the day in July when we extracted the honey from our two hives (the nucs were new at this stage so we didn't extract from them until the fall).
After uncapping and extracting, I lifted the lid on the extractor and there was a strong smell coming from the honey. To my mind it smelled like tomatoes or like chili peppers. It was quite strong, and so was the flavour of the honey.
I wondered where my bees had gone off to. There are some greenhouses within 5 miles so I began to wonder if someone was growing tomatoes.
By the next day the smell from the honey had mellowed considerably. Now it's February and I must say the honey seems to have come into its own. At first it tasted so different that we decided that honey would be for our personal use.
People used to store bought honeys wouldn't be used to such a strong flavoured honey. Also even small beekeeping operations blend their honeys so the distinct floral source isn't so strong. But we had kept our extractions separate so we had different flavours.
The beekeepers at the meeting really liked the honey. I was encouraged. After careful tasting and a lot of though they determined the flavour is dandelions.
This honey has a nice amber colour and I have to say it's not crystallizing, whereas my fall honey crystallized within a couple weeks. I use it in my tea each morning and I've grown quite fond of it (translation: I won't be sharing it with anyone :)
I wonder if this spring's honey will be dandelions again. I can't wait.