Friday, December 27, 2013

Some of the Most Popular Honey Varieties.

Some of the Most Popular Honey Varieties
By []Laurel Abell 

Different kinds of honey are produced in every state in America. But, some special kinds of honey are only made in a few locations. Honey is also made in most countries around the world, and each country has their own favorite type. For example, consumers in France prefer honey that's been harvested from lavender flowers, and people from Greece prefer honey that's been produced from the wild thyme plant.

When bees are able to access large areas of just one type of flower, like buckwheat or clover, they will produce a honey that has a certain color, and flavor that's typical for that particular plant. This is called monofloral honey. Bees can also make blended honey when they combine different pollens from areas that have many different flowers. Different honey types can also be blended together when they are processed to create a special flavor. 

In the United States, there are more than three hundred unique honey varieties available, each coming from a distinct floral source. The color of honey can range from nearly colorless to a darkish brown color. The flavors can vary from very mild to very strong, based on where the honeybees live. In most cases, light-colored honey will have a milder flavor and darker colored honey will have a stronger flavor.

Listed below are several of the most common monofloral honey varieties:

Acacia or the Black Locust Tree - This honey has a mild, but slightly tangy flavor that doesn't crystallize, and has a water white to a very pale amber color.

Alfalfa - Produced in Canada and the U.S., from the plant's purple blossoms. The aroma and color is light and it has a mild flavor.

Apple Blossom - This honey has a slight apple aroma to it, and its color is mostly light to medium amber.

Aster - Its flavor can vary depending on the aster species, and the region where it is made. It crystallizes very quickly, and it has a white to light amber color.

Avocado - Made from California avocado blossoms. This honey has a rich, buttery flavor, and is dark in color.

Basswood - This one has a strong, zesty flavor that has a dark amber color.

Blackberry - It has a delicate, sweet aroma with a very light amber color.

Black Button Sage - This honey is somewhat herbaceous, crystallizes slowly, and has a medium amber color.

Black Locust - A very rare honey because the tree only produces blossoms every couple of years. It has a nice fruity aroma, and has a coloring that is pale to dark amber.

Blueberry - This type is produced in Michigan and New England. The small white flowers from the blueberry bush are used to produce a honey that has a light amber color with a well-rounded flavor. 

Buckwheat - It's made in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, and Minnesota. It has a dark color with a full-bodied flavor. This honey contains more antioxidant compounds compared to some lighter honeys.

Canola - This honey is very delicate, has low acidity, and can crystallize easily. The color is white to light amber.

Chestnut - It has a strong nutty, spicy flavor, and is dark brown.

Clover - Based on the area and clover plant, this honey will vary in color from water white to amber. The flavor is very mild, but sometimes it can be tangy. This flower is used for most honey production in the America. Alsike clover, Red clover, as well as the yellow and white sweet clovers, are the most important ones for honey production. 

Cranberry - This type has a mild fruity flavor to it with a bit of a tart aftertaste, and the color is medium amber.

Eucalyptus - There are over 500 different species of this flower tree and shrub. This California produced honey differs in flavor and color. It's a strong tasting honey that has a light medicinal scent. 

Fireweed - This honey has a light color. It comes from Canada, and the Pacific Northwest. The perennial herb grows naturally in the woods, and it has pinkish flowers that grow on long spikes.

Goldenrod - It has a very robust flavor of beeswax and wildflower. Its color is light amber.

Heather - This type has a slightly bitter flavor that has a burnt caramel aftertaste and its color is dark amber.

Huckleberry - It has a very full-bodied flavor along with a dark amber color.

Kamahi - This is produced in New Zealand, is full-bodied, and its coloring is light amber.

Lavender - This honey is lavender scented, and has a medium amber color.

Leatherwood - It's produced in Tasmania, has strong spicy flavor, and a dark amber coloring.

Lehua Buttery - It has lily-like overtones, and can crystallize quickly. It's often used to make a creamed honey that has light golden color.

Manuka - It is produced primarily in New Zealand, and can be used on your skin for medicinal purposes because of its many antibacterial qualities. The Manuka bush is indigenous to New Zealand. 

Orange Blossom - This honey is often a mixture of citrus sources, and it's produced in Southern California, Florida, and some areas in Texas. It's typically light in color, has a mild citrus flavor, and a very pleasant fresh scent. 

Pine Honey - This is made in Turkey, and has a dark amber color.

Poplar or Tulip Poplar - It has a strong flavor, and a medium amber color.

Pumpkin - This honey has a light pumpkin flavor, and a medium amber color.

Raspberry - It has a slight raspberry flavor, and it will crystallize quickly, so its usually made into a creamed honey that has a light color.

Rosemary - This type is very fragrant and herbaceous. It complements cheese very nicely. It has a pale amber color.

Safflower - This honey is noted for its milky flavor. Its color is amber to very dark amber, and it also has a slight greenish hue.

Saw Palmetto - It has a slight citrus and herbal flavor, that has woody overtones. It color is medium amber.

Sage - It's mostly produced in California. It has a light color, and a mild flavor. This type of honey is very slow to granulate which makes it a honey packers favorite for blending together with other honeys, in order to decrease granulation.

Silkweed - This one has a strong flavor and scent that is spicy. Its coloring is dark amber.

Sunflower - It has a floral aroma, and can crystallize easily. It has a light to medium amber color.

Tupelo - This is a premium honey that is made in northwest Florida. It usually has a lighter golden amber color with a slight greenish hue. It also has a mild but distinctive flavor. This honey granulates slowly because it has a high fructose content.

Viper's Bugloss or Borage. This honey is produced in New Zealand, has a very delicate flavor, floral bouquet, and a light amber color.

Wildflower - Is frequently used to describe honey that comes from miscellaneous or undefined flower sources.

Different Honey Categories

Most of the time, honey is produced in liquid form. But, honey is also sold in some other forms, and these can be put through different kinds of processing methods.

* Chunk Honey - This is comb honey that has liquid honey poured around it. It's usually packed in wide-mouthed containers that typically have one or more comb honey pieces.

* Creamed Honey - This honey is made using 1 part of finely granulated honey with 9 parts of liquid honey. This honey mixture is then stored at approximately 57 degrees, until it's very firm. The processing produces a honey that has a very smooth, spreadable consistency. It is also called spun honey, whipped honey, churned honey, honey fondant, and in the United Kingdom, it's called set honey. It has large numbers of small crystals, that stop larger crystals from forming, which can often occur in some types of unprocessed honey. 

* Crystallized Honey - This has a glucose content that has spontaneously crystallized, usually from a monohydrate solution. This type is also called candied honey or granulated honey. Warming this kind of honey can change it back into a liquid state.

* Dried honey - All of the moisture is removed from liquid honey in order to produce very solid, non-sticky granules. Sometimes this method uses some type of drying and/or anti-caking substances. Dried honey is often used to garnish various desserts.

* Extracted Liquid Honey - The honey comb's wax cappings have been cut off, and the comb is put into an extractor, where a strong centrifugal force removes the honey from the cells. 

* Filtered honey - This type has been filtered to the degree that most or all of the pollen grains, fine particles, air bubbles, or any other material usually found in honey, has been taken out. The process generally heats honey up to 150-170 degrees Fahrenheit, so it can easily move through the filter. This honey is really clear, and won't crystallize very quickly, which makes it popular with many grocery stores.

* Honeycomb, Comb Honey or Cut-Comb Honey - This honey is straight from the hive and it's still in the natural beeswax comb. Traditional collection methods use standard wood frames. After the frames have been collected, large chunks of the comb are cut out before packaging. Modern methods use plastic cartridges or rings so manual cutting is not needed and this speeds up the packaging process. 

* Pasteurized Honey - It has been heated in the pasteurization process that requires temperatures of 161 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. The pasteurization process will destroy yeast cells, and will liquefy any microcrystals that are in the honey, which will delay crystallization. Excessive heat can degrade the product. Heat can also darken the honey's natural color, as well as change its flavor and fragrance.

* Raw Honey - This is obtained by extraction, straining or settling, and no heat is used. Some honey which has been processed minimally is frequently referred to as raw honey. This honey does contain some pollen, and may also have small wax particles. Many allergy sufferers use local raw honey instead of sugar, because the pollen impurities are believed to reduce hay fever symptoms.

* Strained Honey - This type of honey is put through some type of mesh material in order to remove some particles, such as wax, and a resin-like material called propolis. This process will not remove nutritional minerals, enzymes or pollen.

* Ultrasonicated Honey - It's processed by ultrasonication which is a non-thermal procedure. When honey is subjected to ultrasonication, it destroys the majority of yeast cells. The cells that survive usually lose their capability to grow, and this lowers the fermentation rate of honey significantly. Ultrasonication can also eliminate crystals, and prevent further crystallization. This process works at lower temperatures, around 95 degrees Fahrenheit, and it reduces liquefaction time to 30 seconds or less.

Special Certifications For Honey

Kosher honey is a product that has been produced, processed, as well as packaged according to special Jewish dietary regulations, before it can be certified by certain kosher-certifying organizations.

Organic honey has to be produced, processed, as well as packaged according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulations for organic products, before it can be certified as an USDA organic product. If it has this certification, the product label will contain the USDA organic seal.

Honey Grading Scale

In the U.S., honey grading is conducted voluntarily, and also by the USDA, which can provide fee-based inspections and grading. Honey is graded on several factors, including flavor and aroma, water content, along with defects and clarity. Honey is additionally classified by color, even though it isn't part of the grading scale.

Grade A - Water content is less than 18.6%. This honey has a normal flavor that is very good, and an aroma from the major floral source. It does not contain any caramelization, fermentation, smoke, chemicals, and various other odors. It's practically free from any defects that will affect its appearance and edibility. The honey's clarity is very clear, although, there may be some air bubbles. It may contain some pollen grains or other tiny particles, but these don't affect its appearance.

Grade B - Water content is greater than 18.6% and less than 20.0%. Reasonably good to practically free from caramelization, fermentation, smoke, and other chemicals. Reasonably free from substances that don't affect its appearance or edibility. Is reasonably clear, but it could contain some pollen grains, air bubbles, or small particles that don't affects its overall appearance

Grade C - Water content cannot be more than 20.0%. Fairly good to reasonably free from smoke, fermentation, and caramelization. Fairly free from substances, such as pollen or air bubbles, that don't affect its appearance and edibility. 

Substandard Grade - Water content is greater than 20.0% Fails all Grade C categories.

Other countries have varying grading standards. For example, India grades their honey based upon additional factors, like the Fiehe's test and a few other measurements.

Just like wine, the color and flavor of honey varieties can differ every year, even if it's from the very same beekeeper and location. Weather differences and different blossoming seasons can change the look and taste of honey. If you are interested in learning more about the different types of honey products that are available in your area, talk to local beekeepers or the beekeeping association in your area.

Article Source: [] Some of the Most Popular Honey Varieties

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