If you dread the stickiness of honey, perhaps creamed honey is for you!
As beekeepers, we always like to match customers up with the honey products that suit them best.
For many people, the inconvenience of being sticky is enough to make them avoid using honey and reach for something else. Luckily, there is a less messy alternative out there.
So what is creamed honey?
Creamed honey is honey that has undergone a controlled crystallisation process.
This creamed honey is made up of mostly small crystals which give the honey a smooth and creamy texture.
These small smooth crystals prevent the forming of larger crystals that occur naturally in the crystallisation of pure honey, hence leaving the honey a spreadable consistency for its entire shelf life if stored correctly.
Honey that has been creamed will be lighter in colour than it was prior to becoming creamed honey. This is due to the glucose in the honey being white in colour as it crystallises.
Uses for creamed honey
Essentially, creamed honey can be used in the same ways as regular honey, just it comes with some bonus uses as well.
Firstly, you can hold the jar upside down and it won’t come out.
Yep, great party trick!
If that hasn’t impressed your mates, then you can show off by dipping a butter knife into your jar of creamed honey (upside down or upright, it doesn’t even matter) and digging out a heaped knife-load of honey.
Try doing that with regular honey – your mum would be off you big time and your friends would think you’re a fool!
From there you can grab a piece of bread or toast (again, it doesn’t matter, you own the moment) and lather this knife-load of nutritious bee product all over your chosen slice of powder wheat cake.
If that isn’t enough, you can take a teaspoon, dig it into your jar of creamed honey, walk across the room and dunk it into your hot tea or coffee and mix it in to sweeten. Yep, that’s right. You crossed the whole room without a single drop for the ants to collect later.
With normal honey, you’d struggle to transport a teaspoon more than 15cm without providing the benchtop thieves with the sustenance to maintain their entire colony.
Creamed honey really is just a way to enjoy all the flavours and benefits of regular honey, just without the inconvenience of spills and drips.
Is creamed honey the same as raw honey?
So long as the honey used to create the honey was raw, and the honey is not subject to any heating during the creaming process, then the creamed honey can be considered raw.
A lot of creamed honey recipes call for the pasteurisation (heating) of the liquid honey prior to being made into creamed honey.
This is done to decrease the chances of the honey fermenting while in storage.
There is nothing wrong with this and is the preferred choice of large manufacturers of creamed honey, just note that it can no longer be considered raw honey if it has undergone this treatment.
If you prefer to enjoy the full nutritional value and health benefits of raw honey then you will want to ensure that the honey used in the has not been heat-treated.
How is creamed honey made?
So who invented this sorcery?
Did beekeepers get together and figure out a way to bend physics and create this franken-honey?
Did someone make this by accident while inventing a cure for something? Is it a by-product of something made for only an elite few?
We looked into the origins of creamed honey and found that a method for producing creamed honey was established by Elton J Dyce.
He patented his process back in 1935. This has become known as the Dyce method and involved using pasteurised honey mixed with creamed honey at a ratio of one part to ten.
While sticking to this same ratio and method in general, we prefer to use non-pasteurised honey.
How we make creamed honey is by adding creamed honey (starter seed) to our raw liquid honey at a ratio of 1:10 or greater. These two portions are mixed together while being kept at between 12C and 21C.
The mixing together of the creamed honey with the liquid honey promotes the crystallisation of the liquid honey.
The honey then crystallises in the form of the creamed honey. Basically, the liquid honey copies the creamed honey’s crystal structure.
This new mix, while taking on the crystallised form and texture of the starter seed, will retain the flavour characteristics of its own honey variety.
After being frequently stirred for two to three days, the mixture is then poured into containers where it is left to further set and form into creamed honey.
The honey will take a few days up to a few weeks until it has fully set into creamed honey, at which point it is ready for sale or consumption.
How long does creamed honey last?
So long as you avoid exposing your creamed honey to heat, it will remain usable for an indefinite period.
Due to the stable nature of honey and the crystallisation process providing further preservation, creamed honey will remain edible and nutritious for a lot longer than what it will take you to finish off a jar of it, that’s for sure.
Just note though that if you heat the creamed honey above room temp it may melt the crystals and cause it to revert back to liquid honey.
There is no issue with this. It will still be perfectly fine to eat, just we feel it is prudent to warn you of this, as we have seen people buy creamed honey at a market, leave it in a hot car, and then realise upon getting home that they no longer had creamed honey!
Where to buy creamed honey and what to look for
Most beekeepers that have honey for sale to the public will also sell creamed honey.
When looking to buy creamed honey, shop for a variety with a texture that is smooth and has minimal felt granules in the honey.
Your own preference may vary, but typically when consuming the quality creamed honey, you will feel very little or no granulation in the honey at all.
It should feel very smooth and also have a nice thick texture which makes it easier to use for the variety of uses discussed above.
You may also want to ensure that the creamed honey has undergone no heat treatment during its manufacture.
This includes during the liquid honey phase or during the creaming process.
Often beekeepers will reserve their ‘cheaper’ honey (honey that normally would not fetch as great of a price in its usual form) for making creamed honey.
There is nothing at all wrong with beekeepers doing this, just it is in the consumers interest to enquire about the variety of honey that was used in the creaming process as you may prefer to consume a creamed honey from a variety of honey more to your personal preference.
By asking the beekeeper what honey they have used and how they processed it, you are able to get the flavour and health benefits you seek, or to at least know what you are paying for.
Keep in mind that great quality creamed honey does require a fair amount of extra time, effort and equipment by the beekeeper compared with selling liquid honey.
For these reasons it is only fair that creamed honey attracts a slightly higher price.
For the added convenience though, we believe it is a great product to buy and one that you will continue to come back for.
If you’ve never tried creamed honey and would like to or if it is an old favourite of yours, then get some!