Bottling Your First Jar of Honey
Honey is the sweet liquid bees make after gathering nectar from flowers. Honey is based upon the nectar that is brought into the hive. The nectar from each flower will have its own unique flavor and color and, unless you are in an ideal setting with one flower, you will get a great blend of all the flowers in the same blooming season. Now that you have harvested and extracted your honey, you can begin to bottle the sweet liquid.
It is somewhat impossible to extract honey without having some type of debris extract with it. If you are able to extract into a bottling pail, you will be able to filter the honey as it flows from the extractor. Place a sieve between the honey gate and your pail. As the honey flows out and into the pail, the sieve will filter out the debris. This initial seive will filter out the larger debris but a finer seive will be needed to filter out smaller particles that contaminate your honey. During extraction and filtering the honey, air bubbles will become trapped inside the honey. Let the honey settle for 24 to 48 hours to let the trapped bubbles flow up and out of the honey before bottling.
Honey is a great commodity that can be given out as parting gifts, treats for friends or family, or stored for personal use. This sweet liquid can be used to sweeten drink, in recipes, or enjoyed by itself. It is something you will enjoy and so will the people you give or sell it to. If your intent is to sell your honey, presentation and labeling will help it fly off the shelfs. Selling your honey really depends on the market you are selling to but here are some things to consider:
What size should you sell? This is truley based upon your customers and may require trial and error. Some customers may only want samples in which case the Mini Bear Jars will work fantastic, whereas, other customers will want larger quantities and look for the 2 lb. Classic Jars. If this is your first year in selling honey, it is better to start with smaller jars to give your customers a sample. If they like it, they will be back to purchase more.
What type of jar will work best? Jars will either be plastic or glass and can include bears, classic, embossed, hexagonal, muth or mason jars. The jar you display is dependent upon where you intend to sell your honey. If you are placing your honey inside a convient store with a lot of foot traffic, it would be better to use plastic jars in case of an accident. If you offering your honey in an upscale restaurant, using a glass jar will provide an ellegant display.
What should you include on the label? This is your selling point when you are not there. Customers will be looking at the label and it needs to stand out against your competitors. Seems like common sense but the word 'honey' must be visible on the label. If you know the main source of flower used, you can include that information. Include your contact information! How can the customer request more if they have no idea who they got it from? Each state will have their own packaging requirements which will request that you include the net weight in pounds/ounces and in grams. Honey weight is different than liquid weight! 8 fl. oz. of water (1 cup) would be 12 oz. of honey. Check your state for other packaging requirements.
Honey is a substance that is non perishable but it may crystalize over time. If you are dealing with honey that has crystalize in your bottling pail, place a pail heater around the pail to de-crystalize the honey. If your honey has crystalized in the jar, use your stove top to create a double boiler with the jar. Do not heat the honey above 120 degrees F.