The Fresser

Getting to know you, honey.

Not all honey is equal. For a special New Year, which are best for apple dipping?

September 18, 2017 17:07

For the JC's Rosh Hashanah magazine - out tomorrow - I was asked to write about the different types of honey and how bees do their thing.

A lovely lady called Emily Reed of the London Honey Company took me through the process by which the insutrious creatures create our Yom Tov treat. I finished our chat a teensy bit smitten with bees. They put a huge amount of effort into producing something that is totally unique and which we then whisk from under their proboscises.

The process by which this all takes place is magical so it's well worth a read of the article. 

I also learned that different honeys vary hugely in taste, colour and even texture; how honeycomb is formed and why raw honey is a better product. I won't be happy with mass-produced, processed honey again. 

Emily sent me a taster pack of four, UK-produced, raw honeys, from Essex, the Cotswolds, Kent and Dorset. (Note: They have since revised the pack and it features borage; Salisbury Plain; Isle of Purbeck and Heather honeys which will be similar but not the same.) Raw honey has not been pasteurised.

She also popped in a jar of their organic honey — all the way from Zambia, where honey 'hunters' gather the darkly, sticky syrup from bark hives 'tucked high into the tree canopy to escape the honey badgers'. Honey badgers! Who knew? How could you not fall in love with a story like that?!

I had a few jars of honey in my food cupboards — a Tiptree 'Pure Honey'; an Italian wildflower honey; a squeezy bottle of Rowse Acacia and another squeezy bottle of Maribel Honeydow honey from Lidl.

The little Fressers were only too happy to help me decide what the differences were between them. 

The Zambian organic honey is dark brown and treacly. It was so richly pungent that my 6 year old — who is hugely senstive to smells — refused to go near it. I loved it, but you'd only need a schmear on your toast. The notes on the jar suggest using it in a meat marinade. I think it would also be great for making honey-flavoured desserts like ice cream but not so much as a dipping honey.

The raw honeys make a very cute host gift. They varied quite a bit in colour and flavour.

The Essex honey was light in colour, but very thick, almost set and a little grainy, in texture It tasted floral, which made sense as the bees gather their pollen from farm meadows and variety of flowers. It would make for mess-free dipping, but may not stick well to the apple. The mini Fressers awarded it 3 out of 5. 

Dorset honey was a clear amber - marmalade-like in colour. The bees gather pollen from from coast and heathland, so lots of heather in here. It's light in texture - perfect for dipping apples in - but strongish in flavour. It scored another 3 out of 5.

Kent honey did bettter with the children. It's a paler orange. More typical honey-coloured. The bigger mini Fresser described it as 'awesome'. Another good dipper and awarded a 4 out of 5.  I found this one easy to eat. 

Their favourite of the raw honeys from London Honey was the Cotswold honey. This was a darker amber but not as orange as the Dorset. It was a little cloying but a good dipping texture and strong enough not to be overpowered by any apple. 

At this point they had to go to school, so it was down to me to check out the other honeys in my cupboard.

What was surprising Interestingly, after the raw honeys, the Rowse Acacia honey and Tiptree Pure Honey didn't taste of honey at all. Both had a golden syrup-like flavour. Poor imitations. By contrast, the Lidl Maribel honey (which was a dark caramel colour)  did, at least, have a honey-ish flavour.  

Treat yourself to raw honey and if you need to stick to a budget, it seems Lidl's version should do the trick. 


September 18, 2017 17:07

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive