Frequently Asked Questions


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All About Honey

1What is varietal honey?
Varietal honey is honey produced from nectar that is collected from a single floral source.
2How do you know that a honey is produced from a specific type of flower?
Producing varietal honey comes down to being in the right place, at the right time, with the right equipment, and pulling off the finished product with the same punctuality. Beekeeping really is a form of art. Some honeys are produced from blossoms from irrigated crops. These honeys are generally more reliably produced each year, and easier for a beekeeper to target. Honeys from irrigated crops include Orange Blossom, Meadowfoam, Blackberry, Pomegranate, and Coriander. Other honeys come from wildly blooming plants that produce nectar for honey bees. These varietals are harder to produce, source, and ensure their purity. Some of these wild plants include Eucalyptus, Sage, Fireweed, and Yellow Star Thistle.
3Why has my honey crystallized/solidified?

Worry not! Crystallization is a good sign that your honey has been minimally processed, minimally heated, and is still considered raw, unprocessed, and natural honey! Crystalized honey is great for spreading on toast and more making less of a sticky mess.

Much of the honey purchased in big box supermarkets will remain liquid for a long time due to the manner in which it was processed, with high heat and microfilters. These methods remove honey's beneficial pollen, enzymes, and distinct flavor and color characteristics. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that for a product to be labeled honey, it has to contain bee pollen. A study showed that 76% of store-bought honey from large chain stores contained no pollen at all. (Food Safety News)

The rate of crystallization depends on the amount of fructose in a honey and some honeys are naturally form sugar crystals slower. It may take years for our Florida Tupelo and Black Button Sage Honey to crystallize! On the other side of the spectrum, two of our honeys are sold in a crystallized, creamy form: Hawaiian Lehua, and Creamy California Yellow Star Thistle.

4How can I liquefy my honey?
If your honey has crystallized and you prefer your honey in a liquid state, you have many options. They are listed here in order of our preferences.

1) Create a simple double boiler on your stove top and gently heat water with the entire container of honey inside of the water. Do not let your honey get above 120 degrees! Leave this contraption covered for a while until desired consistency is achieved.

2) Just baked some cookies? As your oven is cooling down, put your honey on a shelf in the oven and allow the excess heat to liquefy your honey (Glass Jars Only).

3) Live in a place like Woodland, CA? Put the honey in your car and park in a sunny spot. Your honey should be liquid in time for dinner!

4) Last resort: Microwave. The microwave can heat up your honey very quickly and easily destroy all the desirable components. To liquefy your honey using this method, set your microwave on a very low power level and only heat it for 15-30 seconds periods of time Take it out, stir, and repeat if necessary.

5What is creamed honey?
Creamed honey is crystallized honey that has undergone a controlled crystallization process - it is still 100% honey, but with finer crystals. Creamed honey has been seeded with a small amount of crystallized honey to promote smoother, more even crystallization.
6Is your honey Raw? Natural?
The short answer: Yes. We take our time to ensure a gentle warming and straining process, that leaves as much of the product exactly as it was when it was waiting inside the honeycomb.

Technically, there is no 'official' definition for these terms: pure, raw, natural, unfiltered, unprocessed, unpasteurized; these terms are unregulated by the government. That means that the companies who obliterate their honey with extreme heat and ultra filtration, removing all traces of origin, enzymes & pollen, are welcome to call their honey 'raw & natural'.

We are proud to offer our slow food version of honey. Our production process may take up to a week to transfer honey from a drum to a jar, and you will taste, smell and see the difference.

7Does honey expire?
Honey will never go bad if stored properly. High heat can burn honey, and excess water and moisture can cause honey to ferment. Honey has been found in Egyptian tombs that is still considered edible after 2,000+ years! Your honey may crystallize over time, but that doesn't mean you should toss it out! See above for tips on liquefying honey.

Shipping

1When do you ship orders?
We ship orders Monday through Friday within 1-2 business days.
2Can I pick up my order locally?
Yes! We are located 1221 Harter Ave, Woodland CA 95817. Arrange your pick up by phone at (530) 668-0660 or choose "local pickup" online during checkout.
3Do you use plastic in your shipments?
Nope! Our shipments are 100% biodegradable. All our interior and exterior packaging is made of cardboard and custom-designed to keep glass safe. The shipping tape is made of compostable cornstarch adhesive.

Products

1Are your products certified kosher?
Yes, all of our products are certified Kosher [except for Royal Jelly (an inherently unkosher honeybee secretion) and our Propolis collection. We are proud to introduce our kosher supervisor, Rabbi Ben-tzion Welton of Sunrise Kosher, Va'ad Hakashrus of Northern California.
2Are your products certified organic?
We are certified as organic handlers and are therefore licensed to package organic products that can bear the certification on their label.

Our fresh royal jelly and green propolis are certified organic.

There is very little to no certified organic honey produced in the US. So any honey that boasts a "Certified Organic" tag is imported and certified by other countries, such as Brazil, Canada, and Argentina. (Read here). In the US, beekeepers are not allowed to move bees, and a 5 mile radius of area needs to be certified organic. Climate change and ongoing challenges to honeybee health is a prime culprit in declining domestic honey. All plants must be free of pesticides and not be genetically modified, making organic nearly impossible for any US beekeeper.
3What is the shelf life of your products?

Honey: Will NEVER go bad! Honey has been found in Egyptian tombs that is still considered edible after 2,000+ years! Your honey may crystallize over time, but that doesn't mean you should toss it out! See above for tips on liquefying honey.

Honey Fruit Spreads: We have brought together two things that will never go bad; dried fruit and honey! This product may darken over time with oxidization, but will last indefinitely.

Nut Butters & Chocolate Nut Spreads: Refrigerated they will keep for many years! Without refrigeration, we can safely offer a one year shelf life from your date of purchase.

Bee Pollen: When frozen, Fresh Bee Pollen will stay fresh indefinitely! The bags that we package our pollen in are specially designed so that they can be frozen & unfrozen multiple times without any moisture entering or leaving the package. This protects your pollen both in the freezer and in the fridge. Bee Pollen should always be kept refrigerated and will last for one year shelf life from your date of purchase.

Royal Jelly: When frozen, Fresh Royal Jelly will stay fresh indefinitely! If refrigerated, we offer a one year shelf life from your date of purchase.

4Do you wholesale?
Yes! Contact us at tasty@zspecialtyfood.com to get set up.