Dad’s honey

Dad’s honey

Bee Keeping

My dad is trendy. Wow, I never thought I’d say that, but it’s true. My dad’s hobbies of growing his own food (fruits and vegetables) and bee keeping are “in” and my family benefits.  At Christmas, Dad gave my family six 1 pound jars of honey from his bees. Yum! My youngest daughter and myself love real honey on our toast.

The bee keeping trend began a few years ago and has blossomed into a country-wide hobby. Perhaps this trend was driven by our distrust of honey imports. The United States has no legal standard for honey at a national level. It leaves our nation wide open to fraudulent honey imports (colored high fructose corn syrup) that are sold at a premium price.

Grocery store shelf, honey products

Flavor of Honey

Honey is not just sweet and syrupy. Good honey can have floral notes, green character, sour/fermented notes, sweet brown caramelized notes, malty character, fruity character and animalic bottom notes. Honey comes from honeybees which collect nectar from flowers, digest it and deposit it in honeycombs. Analytical studies on honey have revealed over 500 different aromatic compounds identified as coming from the stems of plants to animal origin. Because of the nature of honeycombs, many aromatic aldehydes that are in honey when first deposited, quickly oxidize to their respective acids. An example is 3-Methyl butanal oxidizing to 3-Methyl butyric acid ( sour and fermented).

In 2007, I had the pleasure of viewing a presentation on a study of honey. Following is a link to the paper:

Aromatics for Honey Flavor

Flavor Scientists study the flavor components of honey, so honey can be replaced in market products at a lower cost.  Items include honey flavored candies, cookies, sauces and beverages. Flavor scientists do not intend to fraud the public with honey flavored high fructose corn syrup sold as honey.

Some flavor aromatics naturally found in honey which I would use in a flavor include:

Floral notes:  Phenylacetaldehyde, Phenylethyl alcohol, Phenyl acetic acid and Linalool

Fermented notes: beta Damascenone, 3-Methyl butyric acid,

Malty notes: 2,3 Butadienone, 3-Methyl butanal

Sweet brown notes: Vanillin, Maltol, and Sotolone

I’ve made some delicious honey flavors in my career, but I’m in awe of the honeybee’s creation. I am also thankful for my dad’s authentic honey.



  1. Joseph Kinyon says:

    Hey! Great post on honey.
    I’m building my bee boxes from scratch, trying to get to know each part of the process a little bit better.
    I hope to have hives up an running in 2013.
    After taking apart my first hive in 1991, I’ve been disconnected from it for 2 decades and now have a place of my own to set up shop.
    My last office had bee hives in the walls, so thick that the wax and honey weeped through the lapped boards, I so hope to have a hive that productive.

    • Susie Bautista says:

      Hi Joe: I love it that you are going to raise honeybees! and hope the intentionally built hives do as well as the honeybee takeover hives in your office wall.

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