- Ryan's Honey -
Our run and soft set honey are multi-floral coming in the main from nectar gathered from late spring through to early autumn. It includes nectar from lime, hawthorn, clover, bramble and phaecella to name but a few. It has a beautiful mellow flavour and is predominantly golden in colour. It has an even balance of glucose and fructose. It carries all the nutritional properties and pollens of many flowers and plants foraged by the bees during this period.
The Heather & Ivy honey is particular to specific floral sources of heather and ivy.
All honey made by honeybees starts off as clear or 'runny' honey. Some honey types, set rather quickly, and are best enjoyed as a natural set honey. But as with all honey types it will crystalise over time and if it doesn't it's not honey.
Ideal as a sweetener, adding to yoghurt or porridge as well as being delicious on fresh crusty bread.
Soft Set Honey
Creamed, using honey with fine crystals e.g. clover, with honey having strong crystals e.g. dandelion, to achieve the soft set result.
In soft set honey the granulation has been controlled, by continuously stirring in a creamer specifically designed for the purpose.
Afterwards the honey sets into a soft pliable mixture which makes it easier for you to spread.
Deliciously creamy and ideal for spreading on soft crusty bread or warm toast.
Heather & Ivy Honey
Irish heather honey has now been described as the new “superfood” and is overflowing with health-boosting compounds.
This honey is from the ling heather plant from the bog in Littleton. Every year, we take our bees to the bog so that we might try to harvest some of this very special thixotropic (jelly like) honey as its colour, aroma and taste are distinctive to the boundless bog heather when it is in flower and yielding. It is extracted by pressing it out in a heather press that imprisons air globules giving the honey it’s pleasing appearance by reflecting light.
Ivy honey has been shown to be most effective when it comes to chesty coughs and bronchitis, according to a research study by Limerick scientist and beekeeper Conan McDonnell.
Ryan's heather/ivy honey is a blend of both floral sources.
- The New "Superfood" -
Honey has been used for millennia not only as a rich source of natural sugars but also as a powerful healer. Honey has wide and proven health benefits, from antiseptic properties to antioxidant-boosting power. Before trying over-the-counter mixtures or resorting to antibiotics, try the World Health Organisation-approved remedy - a teaspoon of honey three times a day.
Irish heather honey has now been described as the new “superfood” and is overflowing with health-boosting compounds. A joint team of researchers from Trinity and Dublin City University found that Irish heather honey has a similar overall presence of powerful antioxidants called phenolic compounds as there is in Manuka honey. These antioxidant compounds help to prevent damage occurring in the cells of the body and are important for health and well-being.
Antibacterial Properties of Honey
No free water: - Just like us, bacteria need water available to them to grow and function normally. The high concentration of sugar in honey traps all the water, leaving no free water available for anything else to use. In fact honey is hygroscopic; it can pull and trap moisture from the air. Honey has a long shelf life, typically 2 years. Excessive moisture can cause osmophilic yeasts to ferment honey. Keep honey stored in a dry place with the lid firmly in place.
pH: - Honey's acidity (low pH) makes it a hostile environment for microorganisms to grow in.
Peroxidase enzymes: - when bees ripen honey they add enzymes in the process. Peroxidase enzymes can become active when honey is diluted and their products (peroxides) are very effective at inhibiting the growth of microorganisms. See info on manuka below for more on "peroxidase and non-peroxidase activity"
Benefits of Ivy Honey
The Plant - Hedera helix or common ivy is found in its native habitat throughout western Europe and as far east as Turkey. It has naturalised as a garden escape in Australia and the USA. The small green flowers open from September to November until the first hard frost. The flowers produce an abundance of nectar and pollen which is a critically important late food source for many species of insects.
Historical Uses - Early medicinal texts have highlight Ivy's importance as a healer since the 10th Century. It found particular use in the reduction in swelling of the lungs, kidneys, spleen and liver as an anti-inflammatory. More recently, sheep and cattle farmers would feed ivy to "sick" animals. In fact sick animals would often choose to only eat ivy leaves. Nowadays, ivy is sold all over the world as a natural, safe and effective remedy for persistent cough.
Research - There have been many scientific studies into the healing and curative benefits of ivy. These have mostly centred around the use of ivy as either an anti-inflammatory or to treat respiratory diseases. The latter has gained the most acceptance in modern medicine. The positive response from users of ivy products is due to compounds naturally present in the plant.
Saponins - The plant saponins "Hederacoside-C" and "alpha-hederin" are believed responsible for this cough relieving efficacy. Importantly, new research into ivy honey has shown that the unique compound "Hederacoside C" is present in pure ivy honey from Ireland and the unique benefits of ivy honey are attributed to this.
Research by Conan McDonnell BSc, Limerick Institute of Technology .
Why does honey crystalise?True natural honey will crystalise in the jar. False honey won’t. Crystalisation will not affect its quality or nutritive properties. Honey will crystallise in your jar if you have a cold cupboard. Finding a warmer spot to store your honey will slow crystallisation. It can be used in this form or if you prefer it runny simply place the jar in how water for a spell and it will return to its liquified state.
How should honey stored at home?Keep your honey on the shelf in your kitchen or pantry in moderate temperatures to keep it runny. Kept in the refrigerator, honey will become more viscous (thick). Keep your honey in a capped or covered container.
Why honey doesn’t run out of the comb?One of the most amazing things about honeycomb is the angle of the cells. At first the cell walls appear to be perpendicular to the foundation, but they are not. From the base of the cell, each cell lifts between 9 and 14 degrees toward the open end. That is, there is a 9-14 degree rise from the point of attachment at the base to the open end of the cell. This angle is why the nectar or honey doesn’t run out of the cells. If you were to cut a comb in half so you could see both sides at once, you would see the cells come together in a V shape. The angle is very subtle, so if you just glance at a comb quickly, you might miss this important structural feature. When nectar is first placed in the comb it is about the consistency of water. Without sloping cells, the nectar would run out before the bees had a chance to dry it down.
How many honeybees live in a hive?A group of honeybees that live together is called a "colony", and the hive is their home. A colony can have a few thousand honeybees in the winter and up to 60-80,000 honeybees in the summer
How do honey varieties get their taste?Each variety of honey gets its unique taste from the nectar of the flowers that the honeybees visit from innumerable floral sources. That's why they say "the flavour is in the flower!"