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Chunk Honey

Comb and liquid honey in a jar

Chunk honey is simply a piece of comb in a jar that is filled with liquid honey. It is probably the least popular form of honey, although when well presented I think it is one of the most attractive. There is little point in beekeepers producing it for themselves, because they are likely to have both comb and liquid honey anyway.

Chunk honey is sold fairly widely, though the turnover is probably quite low. I think I probably see more imported chunk honey for sale than home produced. Demand for other forms of home produced honey are such there is probably no need for beekeepers to try to produce something that is difficult.

So what is difficult then? Mainly that you need to prevent the honey from granulating. This will mean you can't see the comb. You can't warm it up to liquefy it, otherwise the wax may melt. Honey packers heat honey to retard granulation, which is something that amateur beekeepers are reluctant to do for fear of damaging the honey.

The larger honey shows have chunk honey classes and half a dozen or more entries look good, but I wonder how many exhibitors produce it on a regular basis.

Having told you some of the problems, now let me tell you a way of doing it. You need to cut up the comb and place it in the jar. Don't be mean with the comb, because I find the bigger the chunk, the easier it packs and the better it looks. You will have far more problems if you cut the comb too small. You can either use comb that has been produced on the same way as for cut comb honey or you can use the offcuts. It doesn't matter, but it needs to be capped. You will probably need to kill off any wax moth eggs, so place the comb or the finished jars in the freezer. It is very easy to damage the cappings and you may think it doesn't matter because you are going to fill the jar with honey anyway, but damage is likely to show. All you need do is cut the comb vertically. When handling hold by the cut sides, not the capped sides.

Comb, even when full of honey will float, so you either need to wedge it under the neck of the jar or cut it so the lid will hold it down. Another way is to warm the jars, then place the comb in, but I haven't told you that!

The customer or show judge would like to see the comb in the jar. It looks better if the comb is darker than the liquid honey. Fill the jar slowly with lighter liquid honey from the bottling tank that has been allowed to stand in a warm room for a couple of days to allow air bubbles to rise to the top. Avoid air bubbles when bottling.

Roger Patterson.