What is honey?
Honey is composed of primarily glucose and fructose 30-40% respectively of the carbohydrate content of honey; The third greatest component is water. Honey also contains numerous other types of sugars, acids, proteins and minerals.
Crystalized (or granulated) honey is simply honey, which has spontaneously crystallized. Crystallization can occur very quickly after harvest. In some cases, in just a few days or weeks.
Crystallization can occur in reaction to cool temperatures, as well as the type of honey. Honey high in glucose crystallizes more quickly and raw honey crystallizes faster than pasteurized filtered honey that lacks tiny particles of pollen, wax or propolis that crystals start forming around.
Honey that has granulated can be returned to a liquid state by heating it. Commercial honey packers usually heat honey to 160 degrees and then rapidly cool it. This causes the death of the yeast and reduces crystallization for several years, giving the product long life on the grocery stores shelf. The resulting honey is, however, devoid of any nutritional value.
Creamed honey is honey that has undergone controlled crystallization. Usually this means using very small crystals to seed the liquid that give the creamed honey a smooth and buttery mouth feel.
Honey for the Gourmet
All honey has unique properties that make it an important ingredient for chefs. In the Chiriqui highlands, we have an outstanding gourmet range because of the enormous variation in different flavors of our honeys. Each honey has its own unique profile to add to food. These flavors are much more pronounced in live raw honey than in pasteurized, filtered versions.
Honey has six properties that make it unique and much more than just a sweetener.
1. Provides balance, complimenting and enhancing a variety of foods and flavors. It will mix with sweet, sour, bitter, salty and savory flavors to enhance taste and in the case of bitter flavors (in gluten-free flour) will mask the bitterness
2. Locks in moisture. Honey attracts and binds with water, enhancing freshness and shelf life. This works in brining meat and keeping cookies fresh and crisp. It can also give baked goods added moisture.
3. Emulsifies, binds and thickens of sauces, dressings, marinades and dips. It helps blend oil and vinegar.
4. Adds a rich golden or amber color to finished foods ideal for glazing and browning. For baked goods the oven temperature should be reduced by up to 25 degrees F to avoid over-browning
5. Sweetens food and can be substituted for sugar in sauces, marinades and salad dressings. Most honeys are highest in fructose, which is sweeter than table sugar.
6. Extends shelf life and storage of food because of its anti-microbial properties. Honey is the only food that never goes bad.
Our honey in Chiriqui is unique in the world. Because of the huge variation in micro-climates and plants in and around Volcan Baru. We think we have a larger number of mono-varietal honeys from a small area than anywhere else we know of.
This gives us special opportunities to contrast and compare our honeys for color, smell, taste and mouth feel.
We pick up a very large variety of different sugar profiles as well as plant nectar, pollen and resin characteristics in the aromatics and flavors in our range.