Honey Show Hints and Tips

County honey shows are one step up from local associations’ honey shows, and are normally held before the National Honey Show where the best in the country can be found.

A Schedule describes the classes (categories) to be judged. The descriptions in the schedule are detailed so that those who enter the honey show know exactly what the judge will expect to see.

Honey judges are very experienced. Their comments help us to improve the way that we handle and present our bees’ honey and wax. The judges disqualify entries that do not conform to the description in the schedule, so that they are comparing like-for-like. This is a summary of helpful comments made by the judges at our 2022 honey show.

Aroma
Honey and beeswax have a distinctive and natural aroma that is volatile. Keep your honey jars tightly lidded and your wax exhibits in a clean, clear polythene bag for at least a week before the Show so that the judge can appreciate the aroma when the jar or bag is opened.

Light, medium and dark liquid (runny) honey
Hint: a judge will shine a strong torch upwards through the bottom of the jar to look for particles and granulation.

  • Dust particles or air bubbles on surface
  • Colour too light or too dark for the Class
  • Sediment or granulation in the bottom
  • The 2 jars must be the same honey – judge checks colour and viscosity
  • Jars under-filled or over-filled

Naturally crystallised and soft set honey
Hint: a judge may turn the open jar upside down to check that the honey is set. They look for a smooth top and fine granulation.

  • Separating in granulation (main sugars in honey are glucose and fructose which can granulate at different speeds causing separation)
  • Small debris in one jar, otherwise would have been a first

Comb honey
Hints: honey in the comb should not be granulated. Comb must be free of pollen. Chunk honey must have a good upright piece of comb honey and the jar filled with clear liquid honey

  • Chunk honey – good, no debris on top of honey. Shame about pollen
  • Cut comb – needs a sharper cut
  • Cut comb – nicely cut but too wet – could have been drained more
  • Cut comb – not as full as it should be

Frame for extraction
Hint: a frame for extraction should be evenly capped, full, and free of pollen

  • Dust on the case
  • Comb should be wired (note – that should have been specified in the schedule)
  • Slightly crystallised
  • Small uncapped area. Refilled area, not all same honey

6 matching jars of honey for sale

  • Disqualified – tamper proof label should not be used in this class
  • Bubbles in the shoulder of the jar. Sediment in the bottom of one jar
  • Labels going across the jar seam

A piece of beeswax at least 454g weight

  • Cooled too quickly so has wavy lines
  • Mould left criss-cross mark (should use a smooth mould)

Five blocks of beeswax using standard 28g moulds

  • Wax a bit dark
  • Some blocks have a hollow – is it a bad mould?
  • Bits of fluff – polished with duster? Use finger instead
  • No aroma. Was this melted foundation?

Candles

  • Can feel the seam from the mould
  • Wick not central
  • Hole in the bottom (wax shrinks on cooling so should be topped up)
  • Not properly mounted
  • Disqualified – wax in pair of candles not matching
  • Disqualified – should not paint glitter for Show
  • Disqualified – wick not dipped
  • Wonky bottom
  • Wicks too long
  • Quite a lot of smoke when blown out (dirty wax?)

Baking
Hint: honey contains water. It cannot be substituted 1-1 with solid sugar. Cooking times and temperatures can be different

  • No noticeable honey flavour
  • Biscuits soft. A little too much cinnamon, otherwise nice
  • 20g above the weight given in the schedule
  • List of ingredients (as required in the schedule) missing
  • Marmalade not set enough. Very sharp and bitter
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