There are several hundred types of honey available in the United States alone.
Each type of honey has a unique flavor, color, properties (medicinal and otherwise) and rate of crystallization. Honey varies depending on what flowers honey bees are collecting nectar from. Some bee hives are located in fields dedicated to one plant, resulting in a purer flavor.
To add to the variety, honey can be purchased in different forms. The basic forms of honey are raw, pasteurized, liquid, whipped and granulated.
Forms of Honey:
Raw honey has not been pasteurized – meaning the honey has not been heated in any way. It is the purest form of honey, next to comb honey, which is eating the honey straight from the honey comb. Raw honey maintains all the natural properties and nutritional benefits of honey.
Pasteurized or processed honey has been heated to remove any bacteria which potentially can cause stomach issues, especially in children under the age of one. Pasteurized honey has none of the nutritional benefits of raw honey.
Liquid Honey is the form most of us are used to seeing. It is made by removing the honey from the honey bee combs, usually with a honey extractor.
Granulated honey is a powder. It is made by drying or freezing the honey to remove all of the moisture.
Creamed or Whipped honey is honey that has been crystallized, but the crystals are very small. If you’ve ever forgotten about a jar of honey and find it in the back of the pantry, you’ll see crystals in it. The difference is that creamed honey has been intentionally made that way, and the crystals are much smaller. It’s easier to spread and you can add flavors like cinnamon to it.
There as many types of honey as there are flowers. Each offers a different taste, color and natural properties. Nutritional benefits vary from honey to honey as well.
Flavors of Honey:
- Alfalfa Honey has a light amber color and mild taste and aroma.
- Basswood Honey, also known as Linden honey, has a sweet almost minty / herbal flavor. It is light in color and has a sweet herbal aroma. Basswood honey is becoming more difficult to come by since the wood is very popular with home builders. Basswood trees are also known as the bee tree, as honey bees love the little flowers It produces.
- Buckwheat Honey is dark and has a molasses flavor and scent. It is thought the darker honeys have more antioxidants and this honey is most commonly used to help control coughs.
- Clover Honey is the most common honey found in the United States. It is light in color, has a mild sweet flavor and a very light scent.
- Fireweed Honey is buttery, similar to buckwheat honey but more complex. When a fire clears a parcel of land, one of the first plants to grow is fireweed. The fireweed and the honeybees help bring life back to that land!
- Orange Blossom – widely available, particularly in the warm weather states. It has a mild, citrus scent and flavor. Be careful when buying orange blossom honey to make sure it is not made with artificial flavors.
- Sourwood Honey has an anise flavor and aroma. It’s a sweet, spicy flavor that lingers.
- Wildflower Honey can vary from season to season. It is made from the nectar of many different flowers and blossoms. The color, taste, aroma and nutritional benefits depend on the time of year and type of local flowers.
To truly experience the different flavors of honey, taste raw, unpasteurized honey. It will give you the truest taste and texture.
Interested in tasting some different honeys? Browse our local honey offerings.