Any wine collector would tell you that wines vary in taste depending on what variety of grape is used and where those grapes were grown. The same thing can be said for honey. Not all honey is the same. If you only by standard supermarket honey you would not know that. Those honeys are processed to taste the same. However there are really hundreds of distinct honey varietals. To be considered a varietal honey, the bees that make that honey must get their nectar from a single source. When honey is made from a single floral source, that honey takes on it’s own unique characteristics. Right off the bat, if you compare different varietal honeys you will see that the color can vary from really light to quite dark. Some honeys take on some of the characteristics of the plant it gets it collects from. Orange blossom honey does have a citrus like taste. While other honeys like avocado blossom, taste nothing like an avocado. Keep in mind that a big part of how we taste things is through our nose. Honey can pick up the smell of the flowers.
How Do Beekeepers Control What the Bees Pollinate?
So how do beekeepers control what type of plants bees are going to? Well fortunately bees help in this process a lot. They prefer to get all their nectar from a single source as long as that source is available. Some beekeepers will move their bees around to be near whatever is blooming. I have heard of one company in Michigan, that takes their honey down south in the winter, to make honey in Florida!
Here is a list of the honey varietals that I have talked about on this website. As I get to sample more, I will continue to add to this list. Click on the type of honey for more information.
Orange Blossom Honey
A light colored honey, with a citrus-like taste.
Avocado Blossom Honey
A dark colored honey, with a rich, molasses like flavor.
Cranberry Blossom Honey
This honey has a red tint to it, and has picked up some of the tartness of the cranberry.
Star Thistle Honey
A light colored honey that has a very floral smell and makes for a good all purpose honey.
Let your taste buds do some exploring. See what varietal honeys are available in your area. I like to collect a couple types and them make up some homemade biscuits. Honey on bread is the best way to appreciate the different characteristics of each honey.