Exploring the world of honey is an eye-opening experience. Honey is so much more than just a sweetener, and should be lauded for all of the valuable properties it offers. For many people, their only experience with honey is the over-processed honey that’s sitting on the grocery store’s shelves in a cute little bear squeeze bottle or a glass jar with flowers on the label.
For honey connoisseurs, these are probably a little on the generic side, and although they taste great to someone who doesn’t know other honey, they may taste bland to them. If you are one of those people, it’s time to widen your honey horizons. Let’s learn what are the different types of honey and what purposes they serve.
1. Clover Honey
Clover honey is produced by both Canada and New Zealand. There’s a good chance that you may have enjoyed this honey previously as it’s a very popular honey that is available in a wide area. This type of honey will typically be lighter in color from white to light amber tones as the nectar from the clover comes from white blossoms.
The taste of this honey is mild with a touch of floral sweetness. It adds a nice flavor while not overwhelming your taste buds. You may notice a little aftertaste that is on the sour side. This honey is great for baking and kitchen purposes.
2. Manuka Honey
If you’ve heard of honey being used as medicine to heal wounds, it’s probably Manuka honey you’re hearing about. This comes from New Zealand’s Manuka tree, and is only sourced from this area. This honey is amazing what it can do that rivals some medications. It has been found to have antibacterial properties, and is able to combat infections such as MRSA that can be a very scary subject considering how antibiotic resistant some strains are becoming.
Having this honey as a potential aid in this battle is heartening. Manuka has a taste that isn’t for everyone as it may taste a bit more medicinal compared to the other honeys listed. However, it can’t be beat for the benefits it offers.
3. Sourwood Honey
You may have heard of the miracle sour honey from Brazil a little while back that was supposed to be so amazing that it could cure cancer. Sadly, that was just a tall tale trying to get people to click on articles and create buzz. However, this may have put them onto the trail of sourwood honey. Now, you can explore the beauty of this American native honey.
Sourwood honey comes from sourwood trees that are located in the Appalachian Mountains. The Appalachian Mountains run from Northern Georgia up to Southern Pennsylvania. As the flowers the nectar comes from are white, you can expect this to be another honey that comes in a very light color. Don’t get scared away by the name as this doesn’t have a sour taste. This honey has a scent that evokes anise, spices, and sweetness and will leave you with a pleasant aftertaste that lingers. Some say that it has almost a butter or caramel flavor. This is rather tasty as a spread on bread.
4. Buckwheat Honey
Buckwheat honey is a very dark honey that resembles the molasses and malt that it tastes like. This honey is another with a very strong flavor that is not popular with everyone, and it can have a lingering aftertaste that stays with you. This is produced in New York, Ohio, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania from buckwheat flowers. This thick honey is rich in iron, and has more antioxidants than its lighter counterparts. Mead makers enjoy using buckwheat honey when it comes to making their honey mead, and will produce a mead that is very flavorful.
5. Rosemary Honey
Cooking with the herb rosemary is lovely, and it can pack a pretty powerful punch. The same is true when it comes to rosemary honey. This honey will be a light yellow. If you’re looking for a honey with a strong sweet flavor, this could be the right choice for you. Rosemary honey is also useful when it comes to cardiovascular issues. It’s believed to assist with liver function, digestion, high blood pressure, and gout.
6. Dandelion Honey
Dandelions aren’t just weeds that need to be eradicated in your backyard as people are starting to realize the benefits of these greens. If you’re looking for a whipped honey, dandelion honey may be perfect for you. Dandelion greens are becoming more popular as they can be a healthy choice. Honey made by bees using yellow dandelion flowers will create a very vivid yellow honey that is rather different.
Many people love the taste, but it’s not for everyone. This honey has some nice side benefits in that it can help to improve liver issues and digestive problems. For instance, constipation, gastritis, or colitis can be improved by adding a teaspoon of this honey to some mineral water for a daily drink. You should find that your digestive system will right itself in just a few days to a week.
7. Acacia Honey
Acacia honey is a rising star with people buying honey in America. It comes from the Black Locust tree that is located in Europe and North America. It’s another very light color honey, and offers a very sweet taste, but it’s not too strong that it’ll overwhelm what you add it to. That makes it very attractive to tea drinkers that want that little bit of sweetness with their tea, but want to still be able to taste the tea itself. In addition, it doesn’t change the scent of the tea as some tea drinkers savor the aroma just as much as the taste.
This honey and tea combo should be very relaxing, and when used with Valerian or chamomile herbal teas will help to get you the rest you need. Another reason this tea is popular is that it remains liquid longer than some other honeys because it has a high concentration of fructose, but as it has a low sucrose level, it can be a good choice for diabetics. This honey can help as an anti inflammatory, improve liver function, and help your intestinal tract function well.
8. Eucalyptus Honey
Eucalyptus plants are for more than just feeding cute koalas, but can also have nectar gathered by bees to be used to make honey. This honey comes from Australia and is also produced in California. The color of this honey will vary, and this is a popular honey when it comes to headaches and colds. The taste of this honey is different from most of the honeys on this list as it has more of a herbal flavor than many of the others, and you may even notice the taste of menthol. This can be a great honey to add to your tea when you’re feeling under the weather.
Types of Honey Forms
No matter which variety of honey you buy, you’ll find that they come in a variety of forms. There is comb honey which includes part of the honeycomb and the honey is in the exact form that the bees left it in originally. There is liquid honey, which has been put through an extractor to get the honey out of the comb. Chunk honey has parts of comb honey that has been covered with liquid honey.
Granulated honey is honey that has been turned into a powder by freezing or drying it to remove any water in the honey. Whipped honey is honey that has been finely crystallized to make it spreadable. It contains one part granulated honey and nine parts liquid honey which has been firmed up by keeping it at a temperature of 57 degrees.
Since honey has unique flavors and often a thick texture, you may wonder what the correct way to go about tasting a variety of honeys is to find one that you enjoy. You don’t want to the tastes or textures to mix together. You’ll want to get a small sample on a spoon, and smell the honey first. Our other senses are just as powerful as our sense of taste. After this, you’ll want to place the honey on the front of your tongue and let it melt. This will spread the taste around your mouth.
To cleanse your palate between tastes, you should nibble on unsalted crackers and drink a small amount of water that is at room temperature. Most purveyors of honey that offers the chance to taste test their wares before purchase will probably offer a way to separate the tastes between the varieties.
Have you been missing out on trying all of these different varieties of honey? It’s time to start exploring the tastes and benefits that come from using other types of honey. Break out of the same old honey mold in flavoring your tea or trying to soothe an achy throat with that bottle of generic grocery store honey that has been over-processed to remove much of what makes it healthier for you. You’ll be glad you learned about different types of honey. Considering that there are over 300 varieties of honey, you’re sure to find one that you enjoy.
Do you have a favorite variety or brand of honey? What is your favorite way to use it? Comment below and share your experiences with everyone else. Be sure to share this article with others if you found it helpful.