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WikdWaze
08-30-2004, 04:07 PM
Uses of Buckwheat
Most of the buckwheat grown in the United States is milled into flour which is used largely in pancakes. For pancakes the flour is usually blended with that from other grains. Whole buckwheat grain may be used in poultry scratch feed mixtures. The middlings from milling make good livestock feed as they are high in protein. The straw is higher in protein but lower in digestable carbohydrates than grass grain straw.

The buckwheat plant is an excellent honey source as the blossoms are rich in nectar, and blooming continues into the fall months. Some beekeepers plant buckwheat primarily for such use.
Here's the site I clipped that from in case anybody is interested in learning about the tastiest plant on the planet.
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/Crops/Buckwheat.html

ScottS
08-30-2004, 06:47 PM
I planted some buckwheat as green manure last fall. I never got around to tilling it in. This year, my bees went absolutely bonkers over it. Good thing I've got plenty of clover and alfalfa around, I don't really want 100% buckwheat honey.

WikdWaze
08-31-2004, 02:21 AM
Would you be wiiling to part with a gallon or so of that honey? Even if it's not 100% buckwheat, it still sounds like it should be plenty strong.

Norskersword
08-31-2004, 03:28 AM
I'd like some to if you can spare enough for 2. ;D

WikdWaze
08-31-2004, 03:34 AM
I'd like some to if you can spare enough for 2. ;D
Copycat ;D

Norskersword
08-31-2004, 03:38 AM
I just wanted to fit in...

(Not really! I'd like some honey!)

ScottS
08-31-2004, 06:44 PM
The first bit I harvested looks to be a clover/alfalfa mix. GREAT stuff. ;D I haven't pulled the frames from later in the season when the buckwheat was blooming yet. Probably next week.

Do you guys really want me to be shipping you honey? The shipping will probably drive the cost WAY up. 12 lbs per gallon, remember.

Also, I can't promise that I have 2 gallons to spare. This is a joint venture with my mother, and I'm not sure exactly how much she wants to sell and how much she wants to keep. I myself am only being allowed to use a quart for meadmaking, but that is because my wife wants to save all that we have for eating. ;D

Norskersword
09-01-2004, 12:07 AM
Sounds like you have to ask for it too! All well. Let us know how your mead turns out!

ScottS
09-01-2004, 12:12 AM
I'll have more next year. The hives I've got should be stronger, and I'm going to be getting a couple more. My wife has decided that if she needs to help in order to have lots of that honey around, she will. Works for me. :)

WikdWaze
09-01-2004, 02:03 AM
I'll have more next year. The hives I've got should be stronger, and I'm going to be getting a couple more. My wife has decided that if she needs to help in order to have lots of that honey around, she will. Works for me. :)
:-/ What do I have to do to get my wife interested in my hobbies? I got to watch that "Stepford Wives" and see if I can pick up any clues.

You're right about the shipping. I tried to order 5# from one source and the $8 shipping put it out of my budget for the week. Seems it's actually better to order more than you really need, that way the shipping is a smaller portion of the cost. You can always store the rest.

ScottS
09-01-2004, 02:50 AM
I looked into getting 5 gallons (60 lbs) shipped, that ran about $20-25. So yes, the shipping per lb drops dramatically at higher quantities.

If you do order a large amount, make sure you freeze the excess. I buy 5 gallons at a time, and it starts to crystallize after about 3 months.

WikdWaze
09-01-2004, 03:07 AM
I looked into getting 5 gallons (60 lbs) shipped, that ran about $20-25. So yes, the shipping per lb drops dramatically at higher quantities.

If you do order a large amount, make sure you freeze the excess. I buy 5 gallons at a time, and it starts to crystallize after about 3 months.
I've read elsewhere that freezing honey is the best way to store it. Apparently it stops the enzymes in the honey that convert certain sugars into other sugars, thereby altering the flavor of the honey.

Jmattioli
09-01-2004, 06:08 AM
(snip)If you do order a large amount, make sure you freeze the excess. I buy 5 gallons at a time, and it starts to crystallize after about 3 months.
I believe if you research you will find it okay to let honey crystalize. My 60lb buckets always do and my understanding is that it is preserved better that way. I use unprocessed which has not been heated and filtered to a great degree and it is more prone to crystalize. It would be nice for some honey expert with experience in this area to comment on this subject as I am only relating my experience and limited research of MLD so I could be misinformed.
Joe

WikdWaze
09-01-2004, 04:36 PM
I believe if you research you will find it okay to let honey crystalize. My 60lb buckets always do and my understanding is that it is preserved better that way. I use unprocessed which has not been heated and filtered to a great degree and it is more prone to crystalize. It would be nice for some honey expert with experience in this area to comment on this subject as I am only relating my experience and limited research of MLD so I could be misinformed.
Joe
You're 100% correct. Crystalization is completely harmless to the honey, and it's easy to liquify it again with a little heat. The only problem is that crystalization does not stop those enzymes from doing their thing. They steadily convert sugars into different sugars, altering the flavor of the honey over time. I'll have to locate exactly which site I got this from, it's not my theory by any means.

ScottS
09-01-2004, 06:36 PM
I didn't mean to imply that crystallization is bad for the honey, I think it is just fine. It just makes it a lot harder to work with.

The 60 lb containers I get are plastic with a relatively small spigot. I have been asked by the beekeeper to not put water in them, as that will cause mold. Thus, I have no easy way to heat the honey up to reverse crystalization. So I try my best to either use it or freeze it.

Jmattioli
09-01-2004, 10:58 PM
Hi Scott,
I take off the lid and spoon it out or if hard enough, cut it and weigh it then dissolve only what I need. I guess a spigot would be useless in that case.
Joe

P.S. Here is some interesting info about raw honey and crystalization.
http://www.zianet.com/sunmountain/rawhny.htm

Oskaar
09-02-2004, 07:42 PM
I had a nice sit down with one of my buddies who is an amateur bee keeper in Yucaipa, CA.

In the Yucaipa area buckwheat honey is considered a medium body, medium dark honey. According to him alfalfa is much darker and heavier, and avocado is the darkest and heaviest honey in his area. He has been supplying Miller's Honey with his Orange Bossom Honey in 55 gallon drums on and off for about a year now.

He recommended both clover and sage from his area as well. He also mentioned that when in season, the California Golden Poppy (a wildflower and the State Flower of California) honey is unique

Another thing that I was unaware of is that Miller's along with MANY other honey suppliers receive certain types of honey from Mexico. I was aware that at least Miller's uses Mexican Clover Honey, but what I was unaware of is that the honey is shipped in those large tanker cars you see on trains.

I was surprised when he told me about this. Evidently the honey is heated to just below the pasteurization point and pumped through filters into the tanker car, and then heated and filtered again into distribution containers when it arrives. He told me that it kills the aroma and distinct characteristic varietal flavors in the honey itself. That's before you even get it to your brewpot!

So for those of you in California, if you are looking for unprocessed honey, you'll need to be very diligent when researching the honey vendor you'll be using.

Cheers,

Oskaar

ScottS
09-02-2004, 08:15 PM
In the Yucaipa area buckwheat honey is considered a medium body, medium dark honey. According to him alfalfa is much darker and heavier, and avocado is the darkest and heaviest honey in his area.
That's odd, I wonder if they are different species of alfalfa and buckwheat as are found in the midwest. Around here, those two are just about at the light and dark extremes of the honey spectrum.

Oskaar
09-02-2004, 11:44 PM
It is interesting to say the least. Even in Ken Schramm's book there is a note to the effect that western buckwheat honey is lighter in color and flavor than their eastern counterparts.

It's what I posted about orange blossom honey as well. In California the Orange Blossom honey is not a really light and perfumey kind of honey, it's pretty in your face stuff.

Just as a varietal of grape is different in different surroundings, so is a flower. Depending on soil, cultivation, nutrients, watering, etc there are a number of factors that determine the aromatic and flavor characteristics of the nectar, and ultimately the honey.

Oskaar

Norskersword
09-02-2004, 11:52 PM
I was surprised when he told me about this. Evidently the honey is heated to just below the pasteurization point and pumped through filters into the tanker car, and then heated and filtered again into distribution containers when it arrives. He told me that it kills the aroma and distinct characteristic varietal flavors in the honey itself. That's before you even get it to your brewpot!

So for those of you in California, if you are looking for unprocessed honey, you'll need to be very diligent when researching the honey vendor you'll be using.
Oskaar, your orange blossom honey came from Miller's correct? And you still feel that this is good honey? I take it this particular honey hasn't gone through this process? Do you still recommend Orange Blossom from Miller's?

Oskaar
09-03-2004, 12:28 AM
I'm very happy with the honey I got from Miller's. The Orange Blossom is harvested right there in Colton, CA. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if some of my buddy's honey is in there too.

I've used mostly mesquite for my basic sweet mead, but I'm already way more impressed with the Orange Blossom honey from Miller's.

Oskaar