Types of honey #2

honey varietiesHoney buffs like me are always eager to discover new honey varieties and understand their characteristics and nuances so as to be able to cleverly use and apply them for different food combinations. I love tasting honey, differentiating the subtle flavors among the varietals and experiencing the distinct floral varietals from the shops, online stores, direct from the farms when I travel. Thanks to my friends, they have also brought me honey samples back from countries they visit, such as Bulgaria, Romanai, Sweden, Estonia, Uganda, etc. Many varieties are somehow unavailable in this part of the world that I live in. Nevertheless, I’m still far from being an expert in honey varietals; with literally thousands of distinct varietals worldwide, and hundreds in some countries, what I’ve seen so far is only the tip of the iceberg. Discovering the different aromatic flavors of honey is an exciting never-ending journey!

 

There exist greater than 300 different distinct types of honey. Flavor, aroma and color of a honey can differ substantially based on the flowers that nectar was collected from. Honey flavors range from slight hints of sweetness to great bounds of distinct flavor, its flavors similarly can run the gambit of being a clear as water to a deep dark brown. There exist as many flavors of honey in the world as exists combinations of blossoms in bloom at the same time. The following is simply a sampling of some of the more popular or more common honey varieties.

Here are a few different varieties of honey:

ALFALFA Alfalfa honey, produced extensively throughout Canada and the United States from the purple blossoms, is light in color with a pleasingly mild flavor and aroma.
AVOCADO Avocado honey is gathered from California avocado blossoms. Avocado honey is dark in color, with a rich, buttery taste.

BLUEBERRY Taken from the tiny white flowers of the blueberry bush, the nectar makes a honey which is typically light amber in color and with a full, well-rounded flavor. Blueberry honey is produced in New England and in Michigan.
BUCKWHEAT Buckwheat honey is dark and full-bodied. It is produced in Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin as well as in eastern Canada. Buckwheat honey has been found to contain more antioxidant compounds than some lighter honeys.

CLOVER Clover honey has a pleasing, mild taste. Clovers contribute more to honey production in the United States than any other group of plants. Red clover, Alsike clover and the white and yellow sweet clovers are most important for honey production. Depending on the location and type of source clover, clover honey varies in color from water white to light amber to amber.

EUCALYPTUS Eucalyptus honey comes from one of the larger plant genera, containing over 500 distinct species and many hybrids. As may be expected with a diverse group of plants, eucalyptus honey varies greatly in color and flavor but tends to be a stronger flavored honey with a slight medicinal scent. It is produced in California.

FIREWEED Fireweed honey is light in color and comes from a perennial herb that creates wonderful bee pasture in the Northern and Pacific states and Canada. Fireweed grows in the open woods, reaching a height of three to five feet and spikes attractive pinkish flowers.

MANUKA Manuka honey, primarily produced in New Zealand, is used as a natural product both internally and topically on the skin. The bees gather nectar from the flowers of the Manuka bush, which is indigenous only to New Zealand. The honey making process is enriched by the pollution free environment of New Zealand.

ORANGE BLOSSOM Orange blossom honey, often a combination of citrus sources, is usually light in color and mild in flavor with a fresh scent and light citrus taste. Orange blossom honey is produced in Florida, Southern California and parts of Texas.

SAGE Sage honey, primarily produced in California, is light in color, heavy bodied and has a mild but delightful flavor. It is extremely slow to granulate, making it a favorite among honey packers for blending with other honeys to slow down granulation.

TUPELO Tupelo honey is a premium honey produced in northwest Florida. It is heavy bodied and is usually light golden amber with a greenish cast and has a mild, distinctive taste. Because of the high fructose content in Tupelo honey, it granulates very slowly.

WILDFLOWER Wildflower honey is often used to describe honey from miscellaneous and undefined flower sources.

HONEY BLENDS While different types of honey are available, most honey, especially honey supplied in bulk, is blended to create a unique and consistent taste and color.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Karen Wooten
    Jun 27, 2013 @ 21:48:36

    I have also found Orange Blossom Honey in my travels to Arizona…Delightful!

    Reply

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