There are many different kinds of honey flavors and colors.
Yesterday, I opened a new pot of Lavender honey. After fidgeting with the top for what seemed like hours, I finally managed to twist the top from the fat, shiny container.
All at once the glorious faint aroma was released into the air, and I swooned….. somewhat intoxicated from the floral scent. When I got my composure, I stuck my finger into the golden, thick sweetness, gathered a good sampling and immediately popped it in my mouth. This liquid made my taste buds burst with excitement from all the textures and flavors attacking all at once. I was in heaven.
Have you ever had this experience with honey? If not, you are really missing out on one of life’s greatest treasures. Most people go to the store, grab any cheap bottle of honey, and are puzzled by honey fanatics who would travel the world just to get an opportunity to taste an exotic kind.
I know, because I used to be one of those people. I became educated, and now I am a fanatic 🙂 Let’s take a moment and look at the actual characteristics that make up the different kinds of honey.
Flavor and Aroma
Not all honey smell the same. Some have a very definite scent that gets stronger when warmed, while others have a very muted smell. The flavor comes from the plant nectar from which it came. If honey came from multiple plant sources, the flavor is not likely to be very strong. The fun thing about this amazing product is that each batch is different depending on the location, country, and nectar source.
Consistency and Texture
Honey can be thick or thin or somewhere in between. The moisture content will vary. Some types crystallize while others solidify very rapidly. Some are even gel-like in appearance but when you shake the jar, it liquefies.
Almost all honey is golden in color. If you hold up a jar to the light, it really looks like sunshine. It reminds me of an autumn day with lots and lots of sun shining through the colorful trees. Many are so pale they are almost white in appearance, or so dark it looks sort of like mahogany. Pale honey sells better than dark because the darker ones have a more pronounced flavor.
Have you ever seen a pink, blue, or even green honey? That’s right – they do exist. Sometimes an unusual honey color can be a natural phenomenon, or a blue honey can be because of huckleberries or blueberries, but no one knows for sure.
Flavored Honey: Flavorings can be added to honey. There is honey that has extra ingredients such a ginger, nuts or herbs. Honey will absorb moisture from its surroundings, so whatever is immersed in the honey will dry out. This will intensify the flavor. Imagine a sweet honey that has been infused with a hot, robust pepper. The sweet and spicy flavor is teasing to the tongue, and great to add to meat dishes.
The best way I can sum up the taste of honey is by comparing it to fine wine. You would never think of requesting a glass of wine from your favorite restaurant without first considering the price, preference, and pairing. But, when it comes to honey, most people pick the least expensive kind, not really paying attention to anything else. It’s a fact that the cheapest is usually the poorest quality.
Unfortunately, you can’t determine the best honey by looking at the jar or reading the label. Tasting is the only way to determine what you like, but of course, your grocery store won’t allow that. Once the cheap honey hits your kitchen, it is rarely used – because it doesn’t taste good! The honey industry loses a potential honey fanatic, and you miss out on a phenomenal taste experience.
So my advice for you – have fun – experiment with different types until you find one you like. You can purchase the high-quality kind at your local farmer’s market or directly from a beekeeper. You won’t run out of options because there are literally thousands of flavors just waiting for you to taste.
What are some of your favorite types of honey? Have you ever gone so far as to travel to taste a specific honey (or had it imported)? Let us hear about it. Leave a comment.