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 I’m benefiting. 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. http://oneblockdiet.sunset.com/2009/07/fashionable-bees.html. 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.
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. For example, 3-Methyl butanal oxidizes 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: http://www.untiredwithloving.org/honey_bee_linden.pdf
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 and thankful for my dad’s authentic honey.