Monday, November 9, 2009

What is Creamed Honey?

Over the last few days I’ve enjoyed Byrd Mill Lemon-Blueberry Scones with Monastery Creamed Lemon Honey and Byrd Mill Raspberry Pancakes with Monastery Creamed Almond Honey.

What is creamed honey? Creamed honey is not whipped honey. There shouldn’t be any air in your creamed honey. Creamed honey is controlled granulation of honey, which results in extremely small sugar crystals. The smaller the crystals the better the creamed honey. A good creamed honey should be smooth, not grainy, like velvet on the tongue. Also known as whipped honey, honey butter, or spun honey, it is simply finely crystallized honey that spreads like butter at ordinary room temperature, and unlike liquid honey, it doesn’t drip. All honey will eventually crystallize, especially if refrigerated. The crystals are typically coarse resulting in a gritty texture that is not especially pleasing to the palette and is also not easily spread. Many people are alarmed when they see liquid honey on their shelf do this and assume that the honey has “gone bad”. Gently warming the honey will restore its liquid state… Just think of the three states of water (ice, liquid, and steam...all different forms of water). And so it is with crystallized honey… it’s still honey. Fortunately, it is possible to control the crystallization of honey so as to produce a creamy texture that is easily spreadable and incredibly delicious. This process involves the introduction of finely grained honey “starter crystals” and control of the temperature. There are many nuances to the process that are closely guarded secrets; however, in the end, creamed honey is merely a very finely crystallized pure honey that spreads like creamy butter. That's the science behind creamed honey that you will immediately forget about when you taste some on a hot, buttered biscuit!

We get the creamed honey we sell from Holy Cross Abbey in Berryville, VA is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains along the Shenandoah River. Established in 1950, the Abbey is home to Trappist Monks. Members of the monastery live separated from day to day society in order to spend their days focusing on meditation, prayer and service. Contrary to popular belief, the monks do not take a vow of silence. They do, however, make a vow of personal poverty and live with limited possessions in a dormitory like setting. Though they live separately, they are not totally isolated from the community as guests are welcomed to visit the monastery for quiet reflection in the chapel any time from 3:15AM to 8:00PM or to attend any of the services. Trappist monks believe strongly in “living from the work of their hands”. Monks at the Holy Cross Abbey support themselves through the sale of creamed honey, fruitcake made from an old fashioned recipe, as well as fraters (fruit cake slices dipped in dark chocolate).

We offer six flavors of creamed honey, natural, cinnamon, brandy, almond, raspberry, and lemon, in assortments, gift boxes, gable boxes with just creamed honey or with mixtures of preserves, apple butter and creamed honey. We have gift baskets with just creamed honey, ones with a mixture of preserves and with are other fine Virginia products. Substitute Monastery Creamed Honey in any recipe calling for honey and you’ll wonder if it’s what might be served in "The Land of Milk and Honey".