Bee Pollen freshness? Sour taste...
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.
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,