Honey from South Cambridgeshire & North Essex
Honey from South Cambridgeshire & North Essex
Honey Taster & Gift Sets
We like to keep our beekeeping and our honey as natural as possible so we specialise in producing raw, pressed honey and cut comb honey from our beehives which we keep just south of Cambridge. Our small scale and less intensive approach to beekeeping, where we use no chemicals on our bees and minimise interference in the hives, produces the most delicious honey, but in small batches that sell out fast. Fortunately, there are other local beekeepers who we work with to bring you fantastic local English honey all year round. Visit our shop to see what we have in store right now.
All of our honey, whether from our own hives or from our beekeeping friends, is simply coarse filtered and never pasteurised to ensure it retains all of the aroma, flavour and naturally occurring pollen that honey is meant to. Our method of extracting honey by pressing it out of the comb rather than spinning it out enhances this even further by ensuring that the honey is not exposed to the air as much during processing so the delicate taste and aroma compounds have less chance of being lost before they reach the jar. It also means we cannot re-use the honey comb and so our own honey comes from fresh comb every time. This means a compromise in honey yield, but not in taste! Keep a look out for out pressed honey when it is available shortly after harvest, usually in June and September.
As well as the different extraction methods, our honeys also come from a range of different floral and geographical sources and each batch is unique and will have its own flavour, aroma and colour profile. Where possible we indicate this in our shop listings so that you can shop for honey by floral or geographical source, colour or flavour, but please remember that these may naturally vary from batch to batch so any photographs are for illustration purposes only. If there is a jar that you have particularly enjoyed please make a note of the Lot Number and we may be able to supply the same one again or suggest a similar honey.
Jar Sizes & Honey Types
We prefer to package our honey in 500g biodegradable plant-based PLA containers to help do our bit for the environment and cut down on waste, but we also supply honey in traditional British-made and fully recyclable glass jars, in both 1lb and 1/2lb sizes.
Our honey comes from a range of different geographical locations and floral sources but they will all fall into three main types: raw, runny and soft set.
Our raw honey is genuinely raw and has not been heated to keep it runny, which you can read more about below. Our own raw Cambridgeshire honey is usually only available around honey harvest time, usually in June and September, but we have other local raw honey available year round. Depending on floral source, raw honey will usually remain runny for a few months following harvest, after which it will begin to naturally granulate and set hard, a process which is described in more detail below.
Over time all honey will begin to naturally granulate and set. To ensure our runny honey reaches you runny and stays runny for several months, when necessary we will carefully warm, just enough to make it runny and not overheated or pasteurised. Just like our raw honey, our runny honey has never been filtered. Other honey sellers would still call this honey ‘raw’ as it has not been pasteurised but we think this is misleading because it has been heated above beehive temperature to make it runny, so we only label our honey as ‘raw’ if it genuinely is.
Our soft set honey is honey that has also granulated and set, but we have creamed the honey and carefully controlled the granulation process to ensure the crystals formed are as small as possible, giving the honey a lovely smooth and spreadable texture. You can find out more about the granulation process and raw honey below.
A Note on Honey Granulation
All raw, unprocessed honey will eventually granulate and set hard. This is an entirely natural process and one sign of a quality, unrefined honey that hasn’t been subjected to the heating and fine filtration used by large commercial packers. Set honey can be brought back to being fully runny again by gently warming it, either by loosening the lid and placing the jar in a bowl of hot water or by removing the lid and briefly microwaving the jar on the lowest power. Take care not to do this too quickly or at too high a temperature or you risk overheating the outside of the honey before the centre has fully liquefied.
Personally, I prefer to eat honey that is set anyway, it stays on your toast better for a start and the slow, natural granulation process produces large crystals that give the honey a chewy texture with the consistency of soft fudge. The granulation process can also be controlled by the beekeeper to produce soft set honey which is a spreadable honey with a very smooth mouth feel due to the much finer crystals that are produced when the granulation process is sped up.
All three types of honey, runny, soft set and naturally granulated are usually available in our shop so you can try them all and see which one you like the best!
A Note on Raw Honey
‘Raw honey’ is a term which has become increasingly popular recently but does not have an agreed meaning. Generally, it is used to describe honey which has not been fine-filtered or pasteurised through heating. These processes are carried out on much shop bought honey in order to keep it runny, increase its clarity and create a standardised product for mass sale. But they also have important impacts on the qualities of the honey: fine-filtration removes the naturally occurring pollen and yeasts that make raw honey the nutritious product it is and heating speeds up the degradation of enzymes and the delicate flavour and aroma compounds found in raw honey.
Unfortunately, the term ‘Raw honey’ is also used by some honey sellers to describe honey that has not been pasteurised but has been heated artificially in order to make it runny. This heating can be necessary in order to get set honey into jars and to ensure the runny honey that many people prefer stays runny for a reasonable period of time. We think that still calling this honey ‘raw’ is misleading though and for this reason we only label our honey as ‘Raw’ if it really has never been warmer than the inside of a beehive.
We hope you enjoy exploring our range of honeys and if you keep bees yourself we are always looking for new beekeepers to work with so if you have honey or other hive products for sale please get in touch or find out more about our honey purchasing service here.