CAN YOU SEND GIFTS IN PLAIN PACKAGING SO THAT I CAN HIDE IT AND KEEP THE SURPRISE UNTIL CHRISTMAS?
Of course! We’d hate to ruin the surprise for anyone, be it Christmas or their Birthday so our packaging is the equivalent of the naughty book with a brown paper cover - no one will have the faintest idea what’s inside! All our gift sets, honeys, beeswax wraps and homewares are sent wrapped in brown paper with just the address written, no branding whatsoever so no one else on the house will have a clue :)
I WANT TO GET THE HONEY CLUB AS A CHRISTMAS PRESENT, CAN I SPECIFY WHEN IT STARTS?
Yes! The Honey Clubs are a popular Christmas present so we’re well practiced at making sure it stays a surprise until Christmas! For some people we send the first honeys addressed to them (in unbranded packaging) so they can wrap them up and hand over on the Day itself, then all the other Honey Club deliveries are sent straight to the new Member. Alternatively (and especially this year with covid) you may want the first delivery to go straight to the new Member, but nearer to Christmas so it’s more festive. This is no problem at all, we already have some we’re holding on to until the first week of December to post.
And finally, don’t worry about us contacting the new Member by email before they get their first honeys as we only start emailing them from their second delivery onwards and by then all will have been revealed :)
IS YOUR HONEY COMPLETELY NATURAL?
Yes. Nothing added or done to it. You’re eating the same honey the beekeeper took off their hives.
The beekeeper slices off the wax layer (called cappings) to expose the honeycomb and then the frame is put inside an extractor that works just like a large salad spinner with the honey flying out as it spins round. The honey flies out, drips down the sides and collects at the bottom of the extractor. Once the beekeeper has got as much honey out of the frame as they can they run the honey out of a tap at the bottom of the tank and through a sieve (like the sort you have in your kitchen), straight into storage buckets. The empty (but very sticky!) frames and wax cappings go back to the bees and within a day or so they’re completely clean and dry as all the bees have taken and either eaten or stored all the leftover honey.
We collect the honey from the beekeeper keep it in its bucket (food grade!) until it’s time to jar it. Then, if it’s crystalised, we’ll warm it gently over the course of a few days to bring it back to its runny state so we can jar it. We make sure that the honey is warmed at about 35 degrees which reflects the temperature inside a beehive, so it’s never over-cooked.
We jar it, label it with the beekeeper and hives it came from, taste it (best bit!) and tick the main flavour note we think it has on the side of each jar. And then leave it. That’s it.
CAN HONEY GO OFF?
Not really, they found some in one of the Pyramids and it was still edible! We have a 2 year ‘best before’ date on our honeys just because that’s the norm, and putting on 4,500 years sounds a bit facetious! However it is true raw honey has active ingredients which mean it will change its character over time - just like a wine does. But that’s what makes ‘proper’ honey proper, and such a joy to try.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RUNNY AND SET HONEY?
When honey comes straight out of the comb it’s runny as it’s been kept air tight in a beeswax cell, and at a temperature of about 35 degrees in the hive. This is runny honey. However, as soon as honey comes out of the comb, meets the air and starts to move the glucose in it wants to join and knit together. As the glucose knits together the honey thickens and becomes crystalised. This is a normal process and a sign of the honey’s purity as the glucose in honey needs pollen grains to knit around in order to crystalise. Every honey has a different character, reflecting the nectar its been made of, and some crystalise very slowly, others very quickly - especially those like oil seed rape honey with high glucose content in their nectar. You can either leave a runny honey to its own devices and let it crystalise naturally or you can try and control it to make it set when and how you want it to. This is done by adding a little honey that has already crystalised in a way you like to the runny honey you want to set. The crystalised honey acts like a starter set for the glucose in the runny honey to knit around, stirring it a lot helps the process and encourages the honey to become smooth and creamy, this is set honey.
We don’t deliberately set our honeys, or do anything to keep them runny longer for any longer than they naturally would be. Instead we allow them to mature and change over time and to crystalise in their own way. Our aim is to keep them as close to their natural state as possible so we can all experience the variety of flavours, colours, textures and aromas of honeys straight from the beekeepers’ hives.
Embrace the changes our raw honeys go through, it’s a sign that they’re active and natural!
HOW DO I MAKE HONEY RUNNY AGAIN?
If you prefer your honey runny, rather than crystalised then all you have to do is to warm it up to about 35-40 degrees so it’s not getting any hotter than it did when it was in the hive. Please don’t throw crystalised honey away as crystalisation is a good sign as it shows there’s lots of pollen in there for the glucose to knit around and so it’s not been pressure filtered and had loads taken out. You can warm it by a radiator, on a low microwave, or a sunny window. Give it a good stir every now and then as heat doesn’t spread that well through honey so it can need help to get all of the jar up to temperature.My top tip though is to use it crystalised (unless you really need it for drizzling) as it will warm and mix in well to porridge, and in yogurt too with a good stir - and of course it will dissolve to sweeten hot drinks. It’s certainly less sticky if you can find ways to use crystalised honey rather than runny!
DO YOU DELIVER OUTSIDE OF THE UK, TO THE US, EUROPE ETC?
Yes! We’re happy to send honey to anywhere in the world, as long as their customs will allow it through (Australia aren’t keen so send a bee mug instead if you have a honey loving friend over there!). All prices include UK postage so when you enter a delivery address that’s outside the UK the additional postage cost will be added at checkout.
WHY HAS SENDING TO THE US GONE UP?
The cost of sending to the US has been affected by Covid and the lack of planes flying across the Atlantic, meaning less space for air freight. This has meant Royal Mail and others are now paying more to get the post to the US. It’s been a double whammy though, as once there the US Federal Postal service is now charging Royal Mail and other international postal services much more for delivering the parcel to it’s final destination in the US - all of which is being passed back on to us the consumer… As a result we’re using couriers instead of Royal Mail as they’re able to deliver at a better price as they avoid using the Federal Postal system.
FREE UK DELIVERY
However, the good news for all our UK, US and International customers is that you can still send Hive & Keeper honeys and gifts to family and friends in the UK at no extra cost as we include free UK postage.