comb honey production

Chunk honey: a strange hybrid

Chunk honey is a combination of extracted honey and comb honey. To package chunk honey, one or several pieces of honeycomb are placed in a jar and then the empty space around the comb is filled with extracted honey.

I find this practiced a bit odd. It’s akin to putting a whole orange into a carton of juice or a t-bone steak in a gallon of milk. I guess the consumer is supposed to say, “Oh! So that is where it comes from!”

The first time I saw chunk honey it bothered me, and it still does. It defies the natural order of the universe. In fact, it is inside-out. Honey is supposed to be inside the comb, not surrounding it.

Normally, beekeepers go to great effort to keep their comb honey white and clean and dripless. They take pride in a section of honey where every cell is brimming full yet sealed tight. Chunk honey is a slap in the face to all those meticulous beekeepers. It must have been invented by a teenager.

I often wonder if consumers who have never seen the inside of a beehive are confused by this—if they think that waxy thing in the jar is some kind of weird growth that happens in storage, like the slimy precipitate called “mother of vinegar?” I think this is a real possibility, especially in those jars in which no more than a cubic inch of comb rolls loosely over the bottom like a seaweed prodded by the tide. “What is that thing?”

The name “chunk honey” must mean a chunk of honey? Or does it mean a chunk in honey? Or honey in a chunk? None of it makes sense and if you say (or write) “chunk” enough times it starts sounding weird.


Chunk honey. Photo by the author.

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  • @HoneyBeeSuite I am kind of dying to know if you went to the WA/OR beekeeping conf last weekend & what you think about all that nonsense

  • I don’t know why my twitter comment shows up as a blog comment, sorry about that. Regardless, I greatly appreciated your teenager joke.

  • I could hardly believe what one man told me about chunk honey. He said, “I take out the comb and the jar’s only half full of honey. I figure that’s why they put it in there.” I think I ranted to him about beeswax for a while in reply but I am still in shock over that remark. I keep saying over to myself, “He takes the comb out! And only has a half-full jar of honey!”

  • OMG I thought I was the only one!!

    I just learned about chunk honey and I was horrified. I didn’t say anything cause I thought I must be a weirdo. Everyone else acted like it was so normal to cook the honey and kill all its goodness, then pour it over some wax…..THIS IS WEIRD.

  • I had no idea the polarizing effect of chunk honey! As a kid, I absolutely loved the spectacle of the wax in the middle of the honey. It looks pretty, and after we used the honey around it we would scoop out the rectangle onto a plate and use it as you would cut-comb honey. Now as an adult and a beekeeper, I personally think the chunk honey markets itself because it looks more “straight from the source!” than just extracted honey, and just cut-comb sometimes leaves people baffled about how to get the honey out (oh people…). I am going to have both chunk honey and straight extracted honey this year, I’ll be interested to hear the feedback of non beekeepers. Next year, though, I do plan on preparing better so I can get some cut-comb to sell as perfect little squares ?

  • Well, I love comb honey, spread on toast, wax and all (it’s what you do with the comb).
    I started keeping bees 3 years ago, and this year, I found a large amount of comb in the gable of a hive top. This isn’t straight nor large enough for comb boxes. It can’t be easily extracted into jar honey. So, I’m going to bottle it as chunk honey.

    We have recently learned we need to talk with our customers and friends. We gave a comb to one friend who recently shared they didn’t know what to do with comb honey and just threw it away. what a shame…