Bee Pollen freshness? Sour taste...

by Robb
(Phoenix AZ)

Can you reasonable determine FRESHNESS and proper storage when you buy bee pollen? By taste, or color, or texture, or....?

I ask because I recently bought some at a farmer's market from a man who seemed very honest and told me it was harvested last Summer from mountain locations in Colorado. (He did candidly tell me he keeps it in his truck uncooled as he travels).

It had a slightly sour taste to it. I've been eating bee pollen for 30 years and every batch tastes different but I've never experienced this flavor. Is SOUR an indication of degenerated bee pollen? (Color and texture seem in the usual range).

Thanks for your advice.


Hi Robb,
Great question. You are correct in that taste/smell is a very good indicator of freshness. Texture would be another one but is not reliable with pollen that has been dried, which is 99% of all bee pollen on the market. Fresh pollen right out of the hive is quite soft. A sour taste could very well indicate bee pollen that is going bad due to improper storage or pollen that is simply old. The taste of bee pollen is primarily determined by the floral sources of the pollen, as you know. But I am not aware of any plants that will cause the pollen to be sour in taste. Not to say that it doesn't exist, but I've never encountered that taste. And as you've stated in all your years of consuming bee pollen, you've never encountered it either. So you may want to avoid this pollen....

The only other indicator would be mold but this is harder to pick up unless it is widespread and very evident. (in which case it is unlikely that the farmer would be trying to sell it)

Hope that helps,

Comments for Bee Pollen freshness? Sour taste...

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Feb 22, 2016
pollen freshness vs rancid
by: carol

my question is taste also. i purchased pollen from a local, well respected bee hiver whose product sells in many local farm market and local grocery stores. however, upon reading about pollen i question the integrity. i purchased last sept. and it was out in vender booth. i didn't know to refrigerate so just kept in cabinet. did the taste test on two different granules.....fairly sweet and pleasant.....but put in water, 1tsp twice and it mostly floated. Isn't that a "rancid" sign? Did i do that by not refrigerating? should i just throw out cuz rotten? not much info on pollen except benefits. more info on freshness versus staleness needed. Whats your recourse for getting icky pollen?

Angela's Comments:

I'm not familiar with this test Carol so I can't comment on the freshness of this pollen. In fact, I've never heard of this method. As for whether or not you caused the pollen to go rancid, I doubt it. If it has been dried properly, it will likely be safe to eat and not rancid.

Aug 08, 2013
Bee Pollen Extremely Bitter ... ?
by: Russ

I have been eating bee pollen for a few years and recently a friend gifted me a batch of pollen from a remote mountain source in China. They visited the source personally and confirmed that it was a legit place to buy.

My problem is that the pollen is extremely bitter in taste. Very hard to stomach and quite disgusting in the mouth.

It's still very soft and seems 'fresh'. I keep it in the fridge in the original pot.

Are there any indications of bee pollen being bitter like this? Is it normal?

When I eat it I can only take a quarter of a teaspoon and even that feels a little uncomfortable in the stomach.

Any ideas would be a great help!

Angela's Comments:

Hi Russ,
A slight bitterness is quite normal for bee pollen. Bee pollen is often bitter sweet. If the product you are using is extremely bitter and border line disgusting, I would guess that it has gone bad and would not use it, especially considering that it is causing some stomach distress. This indicates to me that the product is possible rotten. It could be that the pollens in the product are just so different being from China that you just can't tolerate it but the taste and stomach distress indicate otherwise to me.

Perhaps try an American or Canadian sourced bee pollen. We get very few reports of bitterness and or/stomach distress from our Original Bee Pollen.

Use coupon code promo4 for $3.00 of your first bag.

Bee healthy,

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