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BBKA have an information page on honey


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Honey is made by bees using nectar from flowers. The flowers used have a direct bearing on the taste and consistency of the honey.

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General Honey Labelling Advice

  • The word HONEY is required
  • When packed in quantities exceeding 50g may only be packed in prescribed quantities of 57g(2oz), 113g (4oz), 227g (8oz), 340g (12oz), 454g(1lb) or multiples of 454g(1lb)
  • The weight must be on the label. The weight must be metric (and it’s optional to add the Imperial weight as well). The weight must be net, i.e. not including the glass-jar and lid
  • The minimum height of figures on the label must be as follows: <50g 2mm; 50-200g, 3mm; 200g-1kg, 4mm; >1kg, 6mm
  • You can specify the area where the honey is produced, e.g., Devonshire honey
  • You can specify the type of honey, e.g. heather, but the honey must be at least 75% of that type
  • If you are selling the honey, you must have your name and address on the label. It does not need to be complete but you should be able to be found from the information.
  • If you are selling the honey through a third party, you must have a lot number (though if your Best Before date specifies day, month and year then a lot number is not required)
  • You must have a Best Before date on the jar. 2 years from now seems to be pretty standard
  • You must have a country of origin on the jar, e.g. Produce of England. Just adding the country to the end of your address is not acceptable



The Devon Beekeepers' Association disclaims all responsibility for all consequences of any person acting on, or refraining from acting in reliance on information contained above.

For more detailed information please click on this link

What is Honey.

Many thanks to Alicia Normand for submitting this article.

A worker bee inspects the honey stores.

HONEY is a substance produced by bees from nectar or honeydew that they collect from living plants, which they transform by evaporating water and by the action of their own enzymes. These enzymes are: invertase, glucose oxidase and amylase (diastase), and come from the hypopharyngeal gland.

When the forager returns with the nectar she passes it to a house bee who also adds her enzymes and starts the first stage of changing it to honey by repeatedly unfolding and folding her proboscis thus exposing a drop of liquid to the air. She then sucks it back into her mouth. This can go on for up to 20 mins. Eventually she deposits it in a cell, already minus some of the water content. Further evaporation takes place by fanning with the wings and hanging drops of nectar up to dry in the hive.

Major constituents of honey

Water average 17%

Fructose 39%

Glucose 32%

Sucrose 2.3%

Other sugars


Also: acids, minerals, nitrogen, enzymes, aroma constituents and other substances.

Granulation (thickening) occurs as the honey is stored at temperatures lower than in the hive. It can occur very rapidly as with rape or it can take years as in some tree honeys. The rate depends largely on the relative amounts of fructose and glucose - most honeys having slightly more fructose.

Those that have about 1½ times the fructose may never granulate eg. False Acacia from many regions, Tupelo and Sourwood from North America

A few contain more sucrose and granulate very quickly eg. Rape, Dandelion and Ivy. Ivy has 70% glucose and 22% fructose & 1% sucrose.

In Tasmania the honey from Leatherwood trees granulates so firmly that it is poured into moulds then sold in blocks wrapped in paper.

Those that granulate quickly are usually of fine crystals giving a smooth honey whilst slow granulation produces large crystals giving a crunchy texture.


This is controlled by the water content and temperature of the honey. High water content gives a thinner honey while low water content makes it quite thick & sticky.

Not all honeys are liquid. Honey from the Ling heather is called thixotropic which means it is a gel. This gel can be made liquid by stirring but it will return to a gel later.

It can be identified in the jar by the dark colour and the bubbles of air it contains. It also has a distinct, strong flavour with a slightly bitter aftertaste.


Fermentation can occur if the water content of honey is too high. Honey is hygroscopic which means it will absorb moisture from the atmosphere. Stored honey is especially liable to ferment as the temperature rises in the spring if the water content is above 18% as yeasts are always present. Best to keep it below 11ºC.


Some of the substances that give honey its aroma are common to all honeys but some come from the plant source. All are volatile and evaporate at high temperatures.


Minerals are among the components that affect colour and the range is 0.02% and 1%. Very light honeys contain less and dark more.

Naturally there are exceptions and the following all contain less than 0.1% -

very light: rape, lucerne, false acacia

Light - amber: some top fruit, clover, rosemary

Dark: buckwheat

Dark with a high mineral content: Heather & Honeydew

More unusual colours:

Greyish yellow: borage

Greenish: Lime

Greenish brown: maple & tree of heaven

The Honey Association

the UK honey industry's official web site, compiled by the British Honey Importers and Packers Association (BHIPA).


Manuka Honey

All about New Zealand's active manuka honey


Roger Petterson's Honey Recipes

Recipes included for BBQ, biscuits, bread, cakes, chutneys, desserts, drinks, main meals, marinades, pickles, salads, sauces, sweets and preserves.


Sugar Free Recipes

Cooking with honey is simply a pleasure. It not only sweetens dishes and drinks but also adds its own distinctive flavour to whichever sugar free recipe you are following. Lots of information about sugar-free cooking for kids.


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