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Soft Set Heather Honey

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Erichalfbee 

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Has anybody tried soft setting heather honey?
it seems the ideal solution except I might be worried about the water content?
I had 50 jars of soft set blossom honey start fermenting this spring.
 

BMH 

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We sell a lot of soft set heather honey. The texture it creates is unique and it somehow retains some micro air bubbles to create a truly golden honey.

We leave the boxes in the honey room with the dehumidifier to get the WC down to an acceptable level before extraction.

We then proceed as normal and add 10% seed to pure ling heather honey and run in the creaming machine for 7-10 days until starting to set.

We then jar and sit at 14c until thoroughly set.

It is my all time favourite honey and certainly doesnt last long each year.

I believe a fellow forum member bought some the other day. It would be great to get some honest, unbiased feedback :)
 

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Erichalfbee 

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We sell a lot of soft set heather honey. The texture it creates is unique and it somehow retains some micro air bubbles to create a truly golden honey.

We leave the boxes in the honey room with the dehumidifier to get the WC down to an acceptable level before extraction.

We then proceed as normal and add 10% seed to pure ling heather honey and run in the creaming machine for 7-10 days until starting to set.

We then jar and sit at 14c until thoroughly set.

It is my all time favourite honey and certainly doesnt last long each year.

I believe a fellow forum member bought some the other day. It would be great to get some honest, unbiased feedback :)
I think you’ve sold me a jar to try. I’d like to have a go just for myself.
 
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BMH 

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Ah - that wasn't the intention! ;)

The process works really well though.
 

masterBK 

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Ling heather honey, if pure, doesn't crystallize. However it rarely is that pure and then tends to crystallise with big chunky crystals. If seeded with 10% OSR then it will granulate with a small smooth crystal and can be turned into a flavoursome soft set. But why do it when unadulterated Heather sells for much more than soft set?

Also can you legally describe it as heather honey if you have mixed other honey in with it? If I was a trading standards officer and came across soft set honey labelled as Heather I would have it analysed and if found not to be wholly or mainly derived from Ling flowers prosecute the people responsible.
 
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BMH 

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Not sure who told you pure ling heather doesnt crystallise? That's wholly untrue. Show me a jar of 'pure' heather thats anything over a year old, and it will be set. Like you say, it crystallises with a very large crystal structure, that IMO, is highly undesirable, although a small few do like the crunch.

I much prefer soft set heather personally, but sell both. Soft set has the distinct advantage that once its set in the jars, that's it. It has a much longer shelf life than pure 'runny' ling that will set into coarse crystals over time. This means you are forever jarring smaller batches to avoid the issue.

Who mentioned anything about blending honey? Our seed is pure heather that's crystallised and then run through a mechanical creaming machine to reduce the crystal size to create the seed required to produce soft set. We wouldn't ruin our heather honey by adding OSR to it!!
 

mbc 

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Ling heather honey, if pure, doesn't crystallize. However it rarely is that pure and then tends to crystallise with big chunky crystals. If seeded with 10% OSR then it will granulate with a small smooth crystal and can be turned into a flavoursome soft set. But why do it when unadulterated Heather sells for much more than soft set?

Also can you legally describe it as heather honey if you have mixed other honey in with it? If I was a trading standards officer and came across soft set honey labelled as Heather I would have it analysed and if found not to be wholly or mainly derived from Ling flowers prosecute the people responsible.
From a trading standards point of view honey only has to be 70% from one source to be labelled mono floral, if I remember correctly .
 

Nige.Coll 

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I was given a jar of heather honey 3 or 4 years ago. It's sat in the kitchen cupboard. It hasn't crystallised or fermented.
 

Mellifera Crofter 

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Has anybody tried soft setting heather honey?
Last year was my first year on the heather. To my surprise, after a week or so in the tub, I found it smelled like heather honey, but did not look like heather honey. It turned out that the bees had access to Himalayan balsam - so, the bees blended it themselves, and it was soft-set without me having to do a thing to it. It's delicious, and still soft-set with no crystals.

I sell it as a 'heather blend' - but, I suppose, with the 70% rule, I could have labelled it as heather honey. This year's harvest needs pressing out. I hope it's a repeat of last year's.
 

Erichalfbee 

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Well I’ve bought a jar of Lawrence’s honey just to see what he means.
 

masterBK 

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I have a bucket of heather honey from over ten years ago (tucked away in a cupboard & I forgot about it) and it still hasn't granulated. Until last winter I also had several jars of heather honey that had won prizes at several shows back in the 90's and they still hadn't granulated. Last march I fed the contents to a few colonies that were a little light in stores. A sample from one of these was analysed a long time ago by Dinah Sweet at Cardiff Uni and she said it was the purest sample of ling she had come across (although it did have some pollen in from thistle as well as Ling).
 

Erichalfbee 

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I have a bucket of heather honey from over ten years ago (tucked away in a cupboard & I forgot about it) and it still hasn't granulated. Until last winter I also had several jars of heather honey that had won prizes at several shows back in the 90's and they still hadn't granulated. Last march I fed the contents to a few colonies that were a little light in stores. A sample from one of these was analysed a long time ago by Dinah Sweet at Cardiff Uni and she said it was the purest sample of ling she had come across (although it did have some pollen in from thistle as well as Ling).
Do you know what the water percentage is by any chance?
 

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