Honey, Raw Honey, Comb
of the USA
The Mohawk Valley Trading Company specializes in
raw varietal honey which is made primarily from the nectar of a
particular type of blossom or flower. To capture the unique character and flavor
of the blossom or flower, beekeepers must study botanical bloom and flowering
patterns when planning hive placement.
unheated, unpasteurized, unfiltered, unprocessed, unblended and
all of the pollen, enzymes, propolis, vitamins,
minerals, amino acids, antioxidants and aromatics are
the same condition as they were in the hive.
No pesticides or herbicides are used in our apiaries and although we do not call it organic, our honey is about as organic as you
can get from The United States: Read
1lb Glass Jar...$10.00
If you are buying honey for its health-benefits,
it must be raw honey. Heating honey (pasteurization) destroys the all of the
pollen, enzymes, propolis, vitamins, amino acids, antioxidants and aromatics.
Honey that has been heated and filtered is
called commercial, regular or liquid honey.
Although we specialize in raw honey, we also
offer liquid honey.
"But if raw honey is so good for you, and heating it kills all the good stuff,
why heat it?"
The reason some honey is heated is that the majority of Americans prefer the
convenience of being able to spoon, pour or squeeze honey from a bottle onto
their cereal or into their tea.
In addition, commercial honey is clearer, easier to measure or spread than raw
honey and many people think that honey that has crystallized is spoiled so they
discard it. Honey that has been heated and filtered will not crystallize as fast
as raw honey.
Therefore we also offer regular honey for those
who prefer it.
Our honey is Kosher
since it is 100% pure honey with no additives or dilutions.
If you have any questions regarding the
purity of our honey, here is a link provided by the National Honey Board to a
Analytical Laboratories that Test Honey which will test honey for purity or
economic adulteration. This list does not constitute an endorsement,
recommendation or guarantee, nor is it all-inclusive.
The Mohawk Valley Trading Company warehouse is located in the city of Utica and is neither a walk-in retail
store nor open to the public; we sell on line only and honey is NOT returnable.
Our Honey Origins
Buckwheat Honey - From about July through
thru October, we place hives in buckwheat fields on both slopes and the
surrounding area of the Central Mohawk Valley and Finger Lakes region of New
Orange Blossom Honey - From about
the last week of October (after we harvest the Autumn
and Buckwheat Honey) thru
April, some of our bees are trucked to Florida (the orange blossom is the state
flower) where we set up apiaries in orange groves. Our Orange Blossom Honey is
derived mainly from the nectar of Ambersweet, Hamlin, Navel, Red Navel, Parson
Brown, Pineapple, Temple and Valencia orange blossoms. It is this wide variety
of orange blossoms that gives our Orange Blossom Honey its unique and
Tulip Poplar-Black Locust
Honey - From about the last week of October
(after we harvest the Autumn Wildflower
and Buckwheat Honey) thru April some of our hives are trucked to The Delmarva Peninsula
to winter over in a milder climate and to get an earlier start in the spring
than they would in Upstate NY. Tulip Poplar and Black Locust trees bloom about
the same time and this honey is derived form the nectar of their blossoms. Its
dark color is due to the high mineral content.
Apple Blossom Honey
- From about the beginning of April thru May, we set up apiaries in apple
orchards on both slopes and the surrounding area of the Southern Kuyahoora (West
Canada) Valley & Central Mohawk Valley regions of Upstate New York. One of them
in particular is a little known boutique apple orchard where the owner, in
addition to growing a wide variety of officially recognized apples, has
developed a few species of apples that exist nowhere else, except in his
Our Apple Blossom Honey is derived primarily from the nectar of Fuji, Wolf
River, Crispen, Sweet Sixteen, Pound Sweet, Granny Smith, Winesap, Fortune,
Cortland, Empire, Ginger Gold, Macoun, Spigold, Honeycrisp, Jonagold, Golden
Delicious, Acey Mac, and other apple blossoms. It is this wide variety of apple
blossoms that gives our Apple Blossom Honey its unique and extraordinary flavor.
Blueberry Blossom Honey - From
about the beginning of May thru June, some of our hives are trucked to Maine to
pollinate wild blueberries which are one of the few fruit-bearing plants native
to North America and Maine is the largest producer of blueberries on the
Wildflower Honey - Also known as
polyfloral honey, it is derived from the nectar of numerous species of flowers
or blossoms. The taste, aroma and flavor will vary from season to season,
depending on which flowers are dominant at the time the nectar is collected.
Summer Wildflower Honey Ė From April thru mid-late August, hives are on both
slopes and the surrounding area of the Southern Kuyahoora Valley & Central
Mohawk Valley regions of Upstate New York.
Autumn Wildflower Honey - From late August thru October, hives are on both
slopes and the surrounding area of the Southern Kuyahoora Valley & Central
Mohawk Valley regions of Upstate New York.
Goldenrod Honey- From mid-late August through
October, hives are on both slopes and the surrounding area of the Southern
Kuyahoora Valley & Central Mohawk Valley regions of Upstate New York.
Adirondack Summer and Autumn
Wildflower Honey - From April thru September-October, we place hives within the Blue Line of the Adirondack Park, New York.
1lb Glass Jar...$10.00
What is Honey?
Honey is a viscid, edible and sweet substance made from
flower nectar that has been collected by bees. It is produced by a wide
variety of bees and insects, though each has distinctly different
properties. The type consumed by humans is that which is made by honey bees
(the genus Apis - hence the terms apiary, apiarist, apiculture, etc.).
Honey bees create honey by collecting nectar from flowers and regurgitating
it to store in wax honeycombs inside their hive. Honeyís sweetness is
remarkably comparable to that of granulated sugar and is thus used as a
substitution for sugar by many people. Honey gets its sweetness from
monosaccharides, fructose, and glucose.
People have delighted in the discovery of honey due to itís characteristic
flavor and ideal chemical properties suitable for baking and in many cases
is more preferable than sugar. Most people use honey in cooking, baking, as
a topping on various foods, as a sweetener to beverages, and itís the main
ingredient in mead.
How Bees Make Honey
Inside the hive, the hierarchy is broken down into three classes; one queen
bee, a varying number of male drones, and approximately 20,000-40,000 female
worker bees. Each has a specific role in the hive: The queen is meant to
reproduce, the drones are meant to fertilize the queens, and the worker bees
collect nectar, raise larvae, and make honey.
As a group, honeybees make honey through repeatedly regurgitating nectar
until it is partially digested. They work together until the honey reaches a
desired state and then store the solution in the honeycomb. This process
adds enzymes to the solution and changes itís chemical composition which
helps prevent fermentation. However, fermentation is still possible in this
stage due to the high moisture content. To significantly reduce the amount
of water in the honey, the bees leave the honey unsealed in the honeycomb
and the excess water is evaporated by the fanning of the beesí wings inside
Bees make honey as a food source for during cold weather, and when food
sources are scarce. People have been able to semi-domesticate honey bees by
persuading the insects to nest in manmade hives. Once honey ripens, it is
removed by the beekeeper and lasts a long time without fermenting.
Beekeeping and Collecting Honey
There are two types of bee hives that honey is collected from by humans;
Wild bee colonies and domesticated beehives. In wild colonies, some times the bees are
located using a honeyguide bird. Honeyguide birds are a fascinating species
that will interact with humans by intentionally leading them to colonies of
bees so that they can feed on the wax and bee larvae left behind after
humans harvest honey from the hive. This collaboration has been developed
over many centuries and was more essential in ancient times before bees were
able to be domesticated.
Domesticated beehives function much differently and have a variety of uses
aside from simply producing honey. They are used to collect beeswax,
propolis, pollen, royal jelly, to pollinate crops, and to produce more bees
to sell to other beekeepers. Beekeepers encourage overproduction of honey so
that there is plenty to be harvested for humans as well as for the beesí
consumption. Activists believe the bees are being used like slaves and that
they are being killed by overworking them, which makes domesticated beehives
that promote overproduction of honey a controversial method. They also argue
that bees kept to fertilize a specific floral variety lack adequate
nutritional diversity which may also be causing the mass diminution of bee
The collection of honey in domesticated hives is typically done using smoke
to simulate a forest fire which causes the bees to become more docile as
they attempt to save the honey. When harvesting the honey it makes
economical sense to not damage the honeycombs due to the fact that bees need
to eat over 8 lbs of honey just to secrete 1 lb. of wax. The honeycombsí
purpose is to store honey, pollen, eggs, and larvae. Protecting the
structural integrity of the honeycomb, the development and use of honey
extractors - often in the form of a centrifuge of sorts - removes the honey
while leaving the honeycomb mostly intact. After the honey is collected, it
is then filtered and in some cases processed.
Types of Honey
Honey can be classified by itís floral source, the way itís packaged, and
the processing used. Starting with the floral source, honey bees collect
honey from flowers and if youíve ever smelled any two types of flowers you
know they have different scents. It makes sense that their nectars would
have different flavors, right? The types of flowers the honeybees collect
the nectar from has a huge impact on the honeyís flavor. Some beekeepers
will set the hives up near fields of specific flowers in order to get the
bees to collect only that nectar thus creating a specific flavor. For
example, they might set them in an orange grove to get orange blossom honey.
Many locations donít have plant life that is constantly blooming so it is
common practice for beekeepers to keep their bees, for example, in the
to collect wildflower and blueberry blossom honey in the spring and summer
months, then ship them down to Florida to collect orange blossom honey
during the winter. This is beneficial not only for humans because we get our
uniquely specific honey flavors, but the bees gain nutritional value from
being able to consume a variety of nectars.
There are many different types of honey, though blended honey is the most
common type of honey available. Itís simply a blend of honey taken from
Wildflower honey is honey that is made from the nectar of a variety of
flowers. This type of honey may vary in flavor from year to year due to the
fluctuation in the available flowers in bloom.
Monofloral honey has a primary nectar source in the form of a specific
flower such as apple blossoms. Itís impossible to know where the bees are at
all times so there will be trace amounts of other nectars, but the
overwhelming amount of the principal nectar source dictates the flavor and
Honeydew honey is locally popular in places like Germany, Bulgaria, Serbia
and Northern California, but on the wider view compared to the more popular
varieties of honey, it is hard to sell due to itís robust flavor that most
people arenít used to. It is derived from the sweet secretions of
sap-sucking insects such as aphids. The production of this type of honey
adds a necessary step for beekeepers to take in order to preserve the health
of the colony - the bees need to be fed protein supplements due to the lack
of sufficient quantities of protein that they would normally get from
Packaged Varieties of Honey
Honey is packaged in various states from the most familiar liquid form to
the less common comb variety. There is crystallized honey (often the liquid
honey you buy becomes crystallized and simply needs to be reheated to return
it to itís liquid state), pasteurized honey (which kills yeast, bacteria,
affects color, flavor and delays crystallization), raw honey (is as it is
when it is first extracted from the hive - minimal to no processing, and all
the original pollen, wax particles, propolis, and live enzymes are intact),
strained honey (is passed through mesh to remove particulates, leaving
minerals, enzymes and pollen), filtered honey (in addition to removing
everything strained honey does, this process also removes pollen, and other
suspended particles usually while heating the honey), ultra-sonicated honey
(a non-thermal method for processing), creamed honey (is processed to create
a spreadable honey containing a large quantity of small crystals which
hampers the shaping of large crystals), dried honey (has had itís moisture
content removed to create honey granules), comb honey (honey still contained
within the honeycomb and packaged in cut chunks), and chunk honey (similar
to comb honey, though the cut chunks are immersed in liquid honey).
Physical Properties of Honey
Honey varieties have differing physical traits depending on factors such as
water content, temperature, the percentages of particular sugars, and which
types of flowers the bees collected nectar from. Honey has the ability to
absorb moisture out of the air which is why itís best kept sealed in a
low-humidity environment to prevent fermentation.
Unprocessed honey contains more sugar than the amount of water it contains
can typically dissolve at normal temperatures, making it a supersaturated
liquid. Honey will crystallize when left at room temperature: the glucose in
honey precipitates into solid fragments at room temperature because honey is
a super cooled liquid at room temperature. Crystallized honey has not ďgone
badĒ it simply needs to be reheated to bring it to a more liquid consistency
(crystallized honey will melt at 104-122įF).
As honey is cooled, rather than freezing solid it becomes more and more
viscous. Honey is a super cooled liquid and with decreasing temperatures it
will become thick, appear to be solid, and will keep flowing, though at very
plodding rates. Temperatures dipping to between -44įF and -60įF causes honey
to enter into a glassy state, becoming a non-crystalline solid (amorphous). A
few types - such as honey from heather or manuka - liquefy when stirred, but
takes on a gel-like state when left motionless. The other factor that
greatly affects the viscosity of honey is water content. The higher the
water content, the lower the viscosity and the lower the quality of honey.
Crystallization of Honey: What Does it Mean?
Crystallization of honey is possible and very common, but does not effect
the quality or edibility. Honeyís content ratio of sugars, fructose to
glucose, and dextrin are the main factors that affect the crystallization of
honey. While at room temperature (or any temperature below itís melting
point, but not below 41įF since at that point the honey is frozen and itís
original texture is preserved), honey will crystallize either spontaneously
or if a seed crystal is added.
When melting crystallized honey it is very important not too apply too much
heat too fast because it can result in localized caramelization. Also, many
of the substances in honey can be negatively affected by heating such as a
change in flavor, aroma, and destruction of enzymes. It is best to heat
honey at low temperatures for a short period. Leaving it in warm water and
changing out the water periodically is a trusted method.
Honey will caramelize as it is heated, darkening in color, and if heated for
too long it is subject to burning. Since honey contains fructose and acids,
the temperature needed to caramelize honey is lowered and it will caramelize
easier, and quicker. The exact temperature needed to caramelize honey varies
depending on itís composition, but itís somewhere in the range of 158įF and
230įF. Inversely, lower temperatures can cause crystallization.
Testing the Quality of Honey
Honey actually demonstrates varying levels of electrical conductivity due to
the presence of acids and minerals - the types of electrolytes contained in
honey. One way honey is tested for quality and type is by measuring itís
electrical conductivity to determine ash content. Another way it is tested
is through the effects honey has on light. You can use this test to
determine the water content of honey because it alters itís refractive
index. Determining the water content is important because a high water
content can mean honey is more likely to ferment.
The floral source of honey can be tested by studying the pollens and spores
in raw honey. The floral source has a large impact on the flavor and aroma
of honey. Bees carry an electrostatic charge and can attract more than just
pollen and spores - they can attract radioactive particles, dust or
particulate pollution which can be useful in environmental studies.
There are three primary indicators to determine how good of quality your
honey is. Firstly, it should be rather viscous and pour in a steady stream
without dripping. The runnier the honey (less viscous) the higher the water
content meaning it will have a short shelf life and will likely have a weak
The second indication of a ripe, fresh honey is itís sweet scent that often
hints of their floral source. Last, but not least, the taste is the most
important indicator and really comes down to a matter of oneís own opinion.
Raw honeys tend to have a much stronger flavor that many prefer, but it can
be too sweet for some. Itís not surprising that people prefer the
pasteurized, liquid, golden colored honey in those plastic, bear-shaped,
squeeze bottles since itís the most familiar and common, not to mention itís
ease in pouring.
How Honey Loses itís Quality
Honey has a very low water content which gives it a long shelf life if kept
away from humidity and moisture. If honey does happen to be exposed to a lot
of moisture, it will eventually dilute enough to begin fermenting.
Aside from moisture, other factors that affect the preservation of honey is
temperature and oxidation. Itís important to store honey in plastic, or
glass. Metal jars will oxidize from the acids found in honey and wooden
vessels are not good either because the honey tends to absorb the natural oils
found in the wood thus becoming discolored and even taking on the flavor of
When honey crystallizes and you want to re-liquefy it, it is important to not
over heat the honey. Heating honey too much will likely cause it to lose
itís antibacterial elements and the more you heat it up the more enzymes are
lost and eventually the honey will caramelize.
Historic, Cultural, and Religious Significance
Humans have been consuming honey for centuries using it as a sweetener and
flavoring in various foods and beverages. It is presumed that humans have
been collecting honey for at least 8,000 years. Ancient cultures that
utilized honey in their daily lives included the Egyptians, Romans, Chinese,
and Mayans. They primarily used it as a sweetener for their foods, but many
cultures regarded it as a medicinal food to help treat for skin ailments
(burns and rashes), and to help sooth sore throats. Archaeological
discoveries of honey remains inside clay vessels in Georgia dating back to
almost 5,500 years ago are the oldest samples of honey discovered. The
ancient Egyptians not only used honey for consumption, but they also used it
as part of their embalming process.
Honey shows historic relevance in many religions as well. It is the symbol
of the new year in Jewish tradition, in Buddhism it has an important place
in Madhu Purnima, the Christian New Testament references itís consumption by
John the Baptist, and the Prophet Muhammad is said to have promoted honey
for itís health benefits.
Historically, honey was used both topically and consumed to treat ailments
such as ulcers, cuts, burns, sore throats, and coughs. Modern medical
research has explained the chemical properties of honey and deemed it
beneficial as an antiseptic and antibacterial treatment. Studies have proven
inconclusive, but many people who suffer from allergies often consume raw
honey to help reduce their symptoms and believe it helps.
Along with health benefits, there are also health hazards associated with
honey. Due to honeyís low water content, microorganisms do not grow in honey
though it sometimes contains dormant endospores of Clostridium botulinum.
The endospores have the potential to cause severe illness or even death in
infants due to their immature intestinal tract. If youíve ever wondered why
there is a warning label on every jar of honey you buy regarding the
consumption of honey by children under one year of age, and wondered what
the reason is, this is why. Botulinum endospores are naturally present in
honey and due to the underdeveloped digestive track of babies that young,
they cannot destroy the bacteria and MAY develop botulism.
Toxic honey is also a possibility depending mostly on the flowers bees
collect their pollen from. Logically speaking if there are certain plants
that we know, as humans we cannot consume, it would make sense that honey
containing their pollen could have a negative affect on us. In New Zealand,
stricter requirements have been put on beekeepers to closely monitor tutu
bush growth within 3km of their apiaries due itís poisonous properties. Most
commercially available honey has been processed extensively to remove
pollens and bacteria so illness and/or death from consuming honey is