Our soft set honey is a completely different product from the translucent, liquid honeys of the British summertime. This is a spring honey – our first crop of the year.
By the beginning of April, the hive populations are swelling and the reserves of last year’s honey that kept the bees going over winter may be running low. The first hatchlings to have matured will already be out foraging for early sources of nectar and, here in the northwest, it’s is the bright yellow fields of flaxen dandelions – rapeseed crops – that provide the bees with their first fresh meal of the year.
All honey will set over time, but the speed and stability of the crystallisation depends on the chemical make-up of the bees’ diet. The nectar gathered in the spring, especially from rapeseed, is higher in glucose than in fructose – a sugar that is much quicker to crystallise.
And so, when we open the hives after the rapeseed harvest, what we find is a honey like no other. Our soft set honey is the colour of vanilla fudge – in fact if you’re a sucker for fudge, we reckon this honey will be your favourite. It’s fragrant, soft and mellow, with just a whisper of grittiness. If you’re lucky, as it dissolves on your tongue, you’ll crunch on one or two tiny sugar crystals. Creamy, indulgent and outrageously moreish, a jar of our soft set honey won’t last you long - unless you hide all the teaspoons in your house.
Try it… by the spoonful, straight from the jar! Or, if you’re a little more disciplined than us, this honey has the perfect consistency for spreading and it’s sumptuous on wholemeal toast, crumpets, croissants… we could go on. So, if you have had to hide all your teaspoons, you might need to consider hiding your knives too.