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Old 08-22-2012, 08:15 AM   #1
Zabuza
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Default Honeydew honey is not what you think

So I just did a couple 1 gal batches of honeydew honey but used two different yeasts (White labs sweet mead and white labs champagne). The idea is to make a traditional with two different yeasts and see what impact the yeast has on flavor.

In the process of making them, I did a bit of searching and found out that honeydew honey is not honey that comes from honeydew plants. Apparently, there are certain kinds of bees that collect what is called "honeydew" from aphids - when aphids sit on a plant drinking sap all day, they secrete (read: crap) out a clear, sweet liquid. This "honeydew" is then collected by certain varieties of bees and turned into a honey.

Anyone got any experience with this stuff? It's got some of the same barnyard/manure overtones that buckwheat honey has.

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Old 08-22-2012, 09:41 AM   #2
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So I just did a couple 1 gal batches of honeydew honey but used two different yeasts (White labs sweet mead and white labs champagne). The idea is to make a traditional with two different yeasts and see what impact the yeast has on flavor.

In the process of making them, I did a bit of searching and found out that honeydew honey is not honey that comes from honeydew plants. Apparently, there are certain kinds of bees that collect what is called "honeydew" from aphids - when aphids sit on a plant drinking sap all day, they secrete (read: crap) out a clear, sweet liquid. This "honeydew" is then collected by certain varieties of bees and turned into a honey.

Anyone got any experience with this stuff? It's got some of the same barnyard/manure overtones that buckwheat honey has.
My only experience with any of these 'boutique' honeys is that it is mainly marketing and artificial flavoring. There is a guy in Albuquerque that claims to have individual varieties of orange blossom, oak, mesquite, almond, nutmeg, french whore, etc.; all sold at flea markets from the back of his white windowless Ford 'child molester special' van. I have tasted many of his varieties (purchased by my gullible friends), and highly doubt the flavors in them are straight from the comb.

My advice is that unless you are getting your honey from a neighbor or relative, you need to be wary of any claims of 'boutique' origins.
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Old 08-22-2012, 04:41 PM   #3
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I've heard of honeydew Mellon but never aphid crap being collected lol

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Old 08-22-2012, 05:46 PM   #4
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Old 08-22-2012, 10:34 PM   #5
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My only experience with any of these 'boutique' honeys is that it is mainly marketing and artificial flavoring. There is a guy in Albuquerque that claims to have individual varieties of orange blossom, oak, mesquite, almond, nutmeg, french whore, etc.; all sold at flea markets from the back of his white windowless Ford 'child molester special' van. I have tasted many of his varieties (purchased by my gullible friends), and highly doubt the flavors in them are straight from the comb.

My advice is that unless you are getting your honey from a neighbor or relative, you need to be wary of any claims of 'boutique' origins.
Fair enough, but there's a Wikipedia article on this (which cites good sources, not crappy ones), and several bee care sites that say you have to be careful with your bees collecting it (apparently aphid crap can give them dysentery). Not the strongest supporting claims, I know, but apparently there are varieties of bees that collect all and only this stuff, and no flower nectar at all. The place I bought it from claims that they have these kind of bees. Now sure, they might be blowing smoke, but the fact that they knew the name of the bee species and some of these other things I mentioned seems to be pretty significant (I went back and corroborated some of their claims with some online research). Also that these bees don't mix their aphid crap with flower nectar - that seems pretty relevant.

I too have noticed that a lot of the "monofloral" honeys in whole foods and health food stores seem pretty unpure - that is, no real big difference between them, all of them clear (despite saying they are "raw," "unfiltered," and "unheated"), all have uniform density and sugar content, etc. I think you're right in that it is a crapshoot most of the time, but at times I think you can tell your apiary did a good job clearing out the honeycomb just before the buckwheat blossomed, then cleared it out again right after the all buckwheat nectar had been harvested. I opened a jar of buckwheat honey from a little Amish apiary in Pennsylvania and MAN! It stunk like horse manure, hay, barn, and dust. If that's the result of an elaborate marketing and artificial flavoring scheme, I'd be impressed (plus I'm pretty sure the Amish people would think they were going to hell for misleading me so they wouldn't do that).

The last thing I'll say is that people talk about and compare these monofloral on message boards like this, and their is a pretty fair consensus on their color and taste. In order for that to be the case (if most of them are jerking us around), there'd have to be some sort of national conspiracy amongst apiaries to make sure all the fake monoflorals tasted and looked the same.

I think buying direct from the apiary or perhaps a farmer's market would be best (or a neighbor/relative), and anything above that should be avoided.
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Old 08-23-2012, 01:11 AM   #6
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Fair enough, but there's a Wikipedia article on this (which cites good sources, not crappy ones), and several bee care sites that say you have to be careful with your bees collecting it (apparently aphid crap can give them dysentery).

I think buying direct from the apiary or perhaps a farmer's market would be best (or a neighbor/relative), and anything above that should be avoided.
I didn't say it wasn't a real product, just that anytime someone can charge a premium, there is a much higher chance for counterfeit product. I should have added buying direct from a local bee keeper that may not be your neighbor or relative.

Have to run. Time for my 5 minute aroma addition of unicorn tears. They told me they only collect the happy kind, but they wouldn't let me see the unicorns. I may have gotten the lower quality 'sad' unicorn tears obtained by using the less labor intensive method of forcing them to watch "The Notebook".
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Old 08-23-2012, 07:22 PM   #7
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I didn't say it wasn't a real product, just that anytime someone can charge a premium, there is a much higher chance for counterfeit product. I should have added buying direct from a local bee keeper that may not be your neighbor or relative.

Have to run. Time for my 5 minute aroma addition of unicorn tears. They told me they only collect the happy kind, but they wouldn't let me see the unicorns. I may have gotten the lower quality 'sad' unicorn tears obtained by using the less labor intensive method of forcing them to watch "The Notebook".
This apiary does the same thing - forces the aphids to watch "The Notebook" and then has the bees collect sad aphid crap.

Sad aphid crap honey is the best, IMO.
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Old 08-23-2012, 07:44 PM   #8
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Sounds like that the Honeydew honey is still honey. Honey being defined as being a product of a bee collecting nectar and changing it into the honey. The source just happens to be a sweet secretion rather than the nector of a flower. Eh, Same thing. You would collect this honey from the comb.

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Old 08-23-2012, 09:44 PM   #9
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Sounds like that the Honeydew honey is still honey. Honey being defined as being a product of a bee collecting nectar and changing it into the honey. The source just happens to be a sweet secretion rather than the nector of a flower. Eh, Same thing. You would collect this honey from the comb.

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Sorta confused...this is exactly what I said in my first post. My claim was that it was not a honey made from the flowers of honeydew plants, but instead was a honey made from aphid crap.

Whatever, it has a pretty interesting aroma and taste, sort of like buckwheat but a bit smoother.
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Old 08-24-2012, 12:59 PM   #10
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Made by bees vomiting aphid crap eh? Sounds a little unsettling when said like that but I bet it'll taste great in a year.

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