Honey Bee Magic – Controlling Taste, Texture, and Flavor
Keeping bees also have the added benefit of providing an abundant source of pollinators for your vegetable and flower gardens, not to mention your neighbors gardens. This is usually enough motivation to get someone to start their own beekeeping hobby.
Bees are some of the hardest working insects around. Their lifespan is only 35 days, and in that time they will fly so much and collect so much nectar that they wear out their wings. Once they are no longer able to collect nectar for the hive, they are no longer useful and they die. All that nectar collection allows the bees to produce honey, which they use as a food source for the colder months of the year. Placing your hive near your garden is an excellent way to encourage your bees tot make more honey than they need, and you benefit from all the extra production by having more honey to sell.
If you do plan to sell the honey, there are two types of things you can sell. First, you can sell the honey directly, which is easily extracted from the honey combs through the use of an extractor. The other thing you can sell if the honey comb itself, usually with the honey still inside it. This type of honey usually has a much more natural flavor than what you get from the extractor due to the taste of the comb material. In-comb honey isn’t that useful in cooking or teas, but you can eat it whole which makes a nice snack. Keep in mind that you are selling the combs that the bees are making themselves, and not the combs that you purchase from the store with your hive.
Honey can come in a lot of different colors and flavors, which surprises a lot of people. The types of flowers that are near the hive as well as the contents of the soil those flowers are growing is can have a huge impact on the taste and color of the honey your bees are producing. One example is honey that is made primarily from alfalfa nectar can be white and even clear in some cases. On the other hand, buckwheat nectar tends to produce a much darker, almost black honey. Honey can also come in green, red, and the familiar gold colors. By carefully choosing the environment in which your bees are gathering their nectar from you can tailor the color and flavor of the honey they are producing.
The last thing you need to consider when starting your beekeeping business is the laws surrounding it. Make sure you are abiding by all the rules and regulations for processing, handling, and labeling the honey products you are going to make. Take a look at how you intend to market your honey, where you will sell it, and who is going to be interested in buying it. Local farmers markets are usually a treasure trove of buyers looking for fresh local produce, which homemade honey can be considered. Don’t forget, you are starting up a business so treat it as such. Beekeeping can be profitable if you start out with the right mindset and do your homework ahead of time.
Chris Shireman is a beekeeping expert. For more information on honey bees beekeeping, visit http://www.beekeepinginfocenter.com.