Editorial: Freeze-dried Honey’s Potential
We love receiving packages in our household. Many things bring joy to a three-year-old, but the anticipation of tearing into a package must be near to the top of the heap.
So, when a box arrived all the way from the Chatham Island’s last month, we were very soon into it. The resulting honey got a positive reaction from me and – somewhat surprisingly being that we are swimming in the stuff at our house – was also gladly accepted by the toddler. Perhaps that was because this was freeze-dried honey and something a little different. It was of course a gift from the team at Go Wild Apiaries, who we profiled in Beekeeping and Business Balance on the Chathams last month.
While I am no way qualified to be a food critic, after experimenting and sampling with the powder-form honey for the past few weeks, I feel sufficiently motivated to offer some small commentary on the practical nature of this alternate-form honey.
Naturally, the first thing to be done when receiving a delivery of a powdery-white substance was to poke a finger into the packet to sample its goodness. The crunchy granules had a reserved sweetness and was very appealing (I’m sure food critics use better adjectives than that…).
Unlike Go Wild Freeze-dried Honey’s creator Kaai Silbery, I am no chef and so I anticipated coming up with creative uses for the product would be difficult. However, I’ve found it easy enough to incorporate into the daily routine – sprinkled on the cereal or weetbix at breakfast time (for those few days where I don’t gorge on heavily loaded honey toast of course) or over the ice-cream at dessert.
Honey as an alternative sweetener to sugar is regularly touted as a step towards a healthier lifestyle, but liquid honey has its limitations in this regard. Consumers are long used to applying granular sugar, so perhaps the texture of freeze-dried honey will make it a more welcome sugar substitute for some consumers and thus one that more producers could be exploring.
While the sweetness of the powdery honey is not as strong as a similar sprinkling of white or brown sugar, this consumer has felt a whole lot better about diving into that bowl of porridge with a healthy sprinkling of honey on top as opposed to sugar.
At ApiNZ’s national conference, during an open discussion, honey marketers were asked about innovation in the honey industry and it was stated “we have been putting the same honey in the same jars for years” and that innovation is low.
At that same conference Go Wild’s freeze-dried creation won a gold award in the honey-based commercial food category of the national honey awards. Perhaps that innovation can open up the use of honey to more consumers because, if I can find a tasty and healthy use for it within my severely-limited repertoire in the kitchen, then surely others can too.
I’m not looking forward to running out our packet … not only is it making my breakfast and dessert more appealing, but it also works as a healthy “treat” for rewarding toddlers with. Perhaps there is some marketability in that too!