Westerham Beekeepers' Association

Local Honey

Foragers returning to the hive
Foragers returning to the hive

Honey is produced by honey bees from nectar collected from flowers within a radius of up to 2 miles from the hive. The bees add enzymes and remove excess moisture to change nectar into honey. The composition of honey is mainly glucose and fructose and includes many other substances. The relative proportions of these constituents depends on the flowers visited by the bees. This is why there is a wide variety of aroma, taste, colour and texture of honeys from different areas.

Decapping 3
Removing the wax cappings from the cells. Photo Geoff Close

Honey is taken out of the hive, removed from the honeycomb and is strained to remove particles of wax. Straining does not remove the tiny airborne grass pollens, so some is retained in the honey. It is sold without anything removed or added. Local honey produced by small scale beekeepers, at first stored as set honey, is simply warmed to liquefy it so that it can be transferred into jars. This way the honey keeps the aroma and taste of honey straight from the hive.

If the honey is kept on the shelf for more than a few weeks it may gradually change its appearance. The clear liquid honey may slowly become cloudy and some may eventually set giving the honey a patchy appearance. Crystallised or set honey sometimes develops a frosted appearance on the sides of the jar. These changes in appearance are perfectly natural processes and are a sign that the honey has not been overheated. The honey is still nutritious and good to eat. If you want to restore the clear golden appearance simply gently warm the jar of honey, keeping the temperature below 50°C.

Jars of soft set and clear honey
Soft set and clear honey

Local honey is available from the following:

Chartwell Shop
Mapleton Road, Westerham, Tel: 01732 868381
Ide Hill Country Market
Wednesdays, 11.00 -12.00 Noon.
Keston
Village Stores, Tel: 01689 853700
Limpsfield
Memorial Stores and Post Office, High Street.
Oxted Country Market
Red Cross Centre, Thursdays 10.00 -11.30 am
Westerham
L A Larratt, 17 High Street, Tel: 01959 564539
Westerham Hill
Baverstock Country Supplies, Main Road, Tel:01959 572604
The Farm Shop,346 Main Road.TN16 2HN