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How long does honey last on the shelf?
Johnston Honey is gently heated to pasteurize and to prevent early crystallization (honey turns cloudy). Most commercially available honey is excessively heated to preserve shelf life. This harms the flavor of the honey and the healthy enzymes in the honey. Because Johnston Honey is not heated excessively, it will crystallize after about 6 months. However, crystallization does not hurt the flavor of the honey and it can be consumed up to 3-4 years after bottling. Heating the crystallized honey is often recommended to remove the cloudy appearance, but here at Johnston Honey heating seems to have a modest effect on appearance.

What is raw honey?
Raw honey is honey that is taken right from the hive, extracted and put in a bottle. It is not heated to pasteurize and consequently, it will crystallize (turn cloudy) in about 2 months. This makes the honey less attractive to the buyer but doesn’t not harm the flavor.

What is creamed honey and how do you make it?
Creamed or whipped honey is a spreadable honey made by seeding liquid honey with honey crystals. About 5 pounds of crystallized honey is stirred into about 60 pounds of liquid honey and the resulting honey is poured into bottles. The bottles are stored for about 2 weeks in a cool (55 degrees) room to enhance the crystallization process. The color of the cream honey and the consistency differs from batch to batch depending on the type of honey and crystals used.

What is the best way to keep creamed honey?
Creamed honey does not need to be refrigerated after opening. It can be left at room temperature. Freezing changes the appearance of Johnston Honey’s creamed honey. This might occur during shipping and it results in shrinkage of the honey inside the bottle. The surface of the honey inside the bottle develops a blotchy appearance. The good news is that this does not affect the taste.

Where does Johnston Honey Perennial Garden Nectar come from?
Perennial Garden Nectar honey contains a portion of honey obtained from the large perennial gardens at the Johnston Honey farm. These flowers add a delicacy and complexity to the aroma and flavor of the honey.

Where does Johnston Honey Prairie Wildflower honey come from?
Johnston Honey Prairie Wildflower comes from several “districts” around Rochester, Minnesota. These districts are chosen for the types of wildflowers found within a 1-2 mile radius of the hives. Some of the wildflowers that are attractive to honey bees once grew in the prairies that covered Minnesota before the European farmers arrived. These flowers now grow in roadside ditches and in fields left fallow by farmers.

Are the beeswax candles 100% beeswax?
Yes, all Johnston Honey candles contain only beeswax. Some commercially available candles are labeled “beeswax” but only contain 50% beeswax and the rest is paraffin.

What are the candle wicks made of?
Johnston Honey candle wicks are cotton. There is NO lead in the wicks.

How big are the candles?
The large pillar candles measure 4.25 inches tall and 3 inches in diameter. They weigh 1 pound.
The small candles measure 3″ inches tall and 2.5″ inches in diameter. They weigh 1/2 pound.
The tall, tapered candles measure 1 inch in diameter at the base and 12 inches tall.

My candle doesn’t burn properly!
The problem is nearly always because the wick is too long. You must keep the wick trimmed to ¼ inch so that the flame is close enough to the wax to melt it. If the wick is too long, either the candle will not burn or the flame will be too large and the wax will spill over the edges and burn much too fast. It will also produce soot if the wick is too long.

What do you mean by “Natural” Helping Hand Cream and Lotion?
The term “Natural” means that there is no scent added to the Helping Hand Cream and Lotion. The word natural is also consistent with the formulation of the product. Johnston Honey has added as few additives as possible to the hand cream and lotion. This makes it more natural and less likely to cause an allergic reaction.

What happened to Johnston Honey’s Revitalizing Lotion?
Johnston Honey’s Revitalizing Lotion has been repackaged to better represent its formulation. It is now Johnston Honey’s Helping Hand Cream Lotion. It comes in a scented (raspberry) version and a natural (beeswax) version.

Why do you have a year of harvest on the honey bottles?
Dating the time of harvest of honey is like taking a page from the wine maker’s book. It assures the customer that the honey is fresh and is not blended with other honey. It also enhances and preserves year to year differences in aroma and flavor.

Where does the honey in commercial varieties come from?
A lot of honey sold in the US is imported from a variety of countries, including China, Mexico and Argentina. The origins of this honey and what is in it is not always clearly defined. A few years ago honey from China was temporarily barred from entry into the US because producers in China were using Chloramphenicol in the hives to kill bacteria. This compound is an antibiotic that has been associated with the fatal disease aplastic anemia.

What does “organic” honey mean?
Johnston Honey’s organic honey is certified organic by Global Alliance, Bellefontaine, OH and the United States Department of Agriculture. This means that no chemicals are used in the hives and the hives are 2 miles from any farm or homes that uses potentially harmful chemicals. The harvest and packaging of organic honey is carefully documented and tracked to ensure nothing harmful mixes with the product. Organic honey from Johnston Honey is the purest honey you can buy. It also tastes great!

What gives honey its color and flavor?
Honey is flavored by the flower nectar that is collected by the bees. Clover (early summer flower) produces a very light colored honey that is mild in flavor. Asters (fall flower) produce a nectar that gives honey a dark amber color and is more robust in flavor. Basswood is spicy. Buckwheat produces a nearly black honey with an unpleasant flavor. On the other hand, Buckwheat honey contains a load of antioxidants which are good for your health.

Also, the type of flower determines if the honey will crystallize quickly or not at all, regardless of heating. What flowers contribute to crystallization is not well defined for the Southeast Minnesota region.

What happens to bees in the cold Minnesota winter?
Bees are amazingly resilient insects. As it gets colder, the bees huddle in a ball around a frame of honey inside the hive. The bees on the inside of the ball constantly rotate to the outside of the ball so that other bees on the outside of the ball can move inside to get warm and have something to eat. Johnston Honey bees easily tolerated temperatures as cold as -29 degrees F.
However, should the temperature remain very cold for weeks at a time, so that “cleansing” flights can’t be taken, then bees die inside the hive despite an adequate food supply. Otherwise, the biggest cause of death over the winter is starvation. Each of the 2 hive bodies that the bees live in over winter should contain more than 50 pounds of honey to get the bees through the winter.
Even with this, it is necessary to feed the bees in fall and again in early spring with a 50/50 mix of sugar and water to help with survival.

What’s this I hear about mites?
There are no wild honey bees living in the US due to the heavy toll taken on bees by mites. Mites are red, pin head sized insects that suck the juice from bees. They arrived from Europe in the 1980’s and completely devastated the honey bee population (not the bumble bees though). One of the best ways to prevent mite damage is to use queen bees that are bred to self groom the mites off their skin. The mites fall to the bottom of the hive and die. Johnston Honey uses the Minnesota Hygienic bee. This is not a complete cure and some insecticides are still used in the hive in early spring and late fall.

How long do bees live?
Bees live for 6 weeks when gathering nectar during the summer. Their wings gradually wear away from constant activity. Those that are alive in the later fall live till spring and care for the larva hatched from eggs laid in late winter. These worker bees die before the honey flow starts again in the spring. The queen bee can live for 3-4 years.

What is the nutritional value of honey?
One hundred grams (7 tablespoons) of honey contains 82 gm of carbohydrate (27% of the daily requirement), no fat and a variety of vitamins and minerals. These are nicely listed at http://www.elook.org/nutrition/sweets/6020.html. Vitamin and mineral content will vary some depending on the honey source.

How long can you store honey and still eat it?
This question is best answered by the National Honey Board and the following appears on their website. “Honey stored in sealed containers can remain stable for decades and even centuries! However, honey is susceptible to physical and chemical changes during storage; it tends to darken and lose its aroma and flavor. This is a temperature-dependent process, making the shelf life of honey difficult to define. For practical purposes, a shelf life of two years is often stated. Properly processed, packaged and stored honey retains its quality for a long time”.

What causes honey to crystallize (become cloudy)?
Honey with a glucose/water ratio < 1.7 (less glucose relative to water - average glucose content is 30%) tends to remain liquid for a long time, while one with a ratio > 2.1 usually crystallizes quickly. Higher water content encourages crystallization. Thus, preventing absorption of atmospheric moisture by tightly closing containers during storage helps prevent crystallization. Honey with a high percentage of fructose (average content is 38% so higher than that) remain liquid for a long time (this is determined by the nectar source – it is not well established which flowers are high in fructose). Crystallization of honey is most rapid at 52–59 °F. The recommended storage temperature for unprocessed honey is below 50 °F (10 °C). The ideal temperature for honey, especially unprocessed honey is below 32 °F (0 °C). Cooler temperatures best preserve the aroma, flavor and color of unprocessed honey

What is raw honey?
Raw honey is honey should closely resemble the honey taken directly from the hive. It is not processed other than to spin the frames to get the honey extracted from the comb. Raw honey is not heated excessively and is not fine filtered. The fragrancy and goodness of natural honey is preserved. Sugars (especially fructose), antioxidants, pollen and minerals are preserved. The down side is that raw honey crystallizes and turns cloudy a few weeks after extraction. Uninformed consumers think the honey is spoiled and don’t buy it.

How much honey does it take to replace a cup of sugar?
Start by substituting one half of the sugar with honey. So, add 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of honey if the recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar. Then, the next time you try the recipe, add 3/4 cup of honey and no sugar. The fructose in honey has a higher sweetening power than sugar. The replacement formula will need to be adjusted to get the best results. Also, add 1/2 tsp baking soda for each cup of honey added. Reduce oven temperature by 25 degrees to prevent over browning and reduce any other liquid used by 1/4 cup for each cup of honey used. See the following website for more details: http://www.honey.com/foodserv/usage.html