Posted 12-18-2002 at 03:55:44
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There are a couple of possibilities to consider.
When honey is extracted from the comb, air gets mixed in, in the form of very tiny bubbles. If it is then bottled too quickly, the air rises to the top and causes foam, and most times it is pretty ugly. Big bubbles rise first, but the little tiny ones make the honey look cloudy and sometimes take a few weeks to all rise. So my first guess is that who ever you got the honey from bottled too soon after extracting. There's no harm from the foam, it is just very ugly looking. You can skim it off the top with a spoon if it bothers you.
Fully cured honey won't grow mold (or bacteria, either). Problem is that some beekeepers and companies will harvest and pack honey before it is ready--the moisture content is too high. Even then, the typical reaction is for the honey to start fermenting. This will also produce a bunch of tiny foamy bubbles on top. Tastes bad, but won't hurt you. That's the second most-likely problem. If it is only slightly fermented, you can warm it to no more than 140 degrees fahrenheit for about an hour or so, which will eliminate the alcohol and the excess water without altering the taste too much (nope, still not as good as 'in the comb'!).
The taste of honey varies greatly based on what flowers were blooming at the time the bees collected the nectar. I can get 2 or 3 different 'flavors' here if I'm careful just by harvesting at the right time of season. Sometimes the bees will get nectar from flowers that produce unusual or 'off' flavors; most of us won't bottle that but will feed it back to the bees for their own use. Still, some folks might, or might have done it accidently...guess not everybody samples their own wares.
If you bought it from a local beekeeper, go back and let him know you're not happy with it. He may replace it, he may buy it back (to feed back for winter stores for the bees, and for the good will it generates). If you bought that imported Chinese or Argentinian stuff from the grocery store, well...maybe next time you should try some local honey.