Do different flowers make different honey? If you have ever noticed bottles of honey listed as wildflower, clover, or orange blossom, you may have asked this question. Of course, the answer is yes. Honey made from different flowers that the bees visited has varying properties. Here’s how it works.
How Do Flowers Affect Honey?
Honey has terroir, a term used more often by wine makers. It comes from the French term that means “taste of place.” Just like wine grapes take on certain flavors from the soil and climate in which they grow, honey can have a variety of flavors and even colors or aromas based on where it was made, the types of flowers used, the soil, and the climate.
It may be obvious that honey made by bees collecting pollen from orange blossoms will taste different from honey that came from blackberries or even coffee blossoms. However, there can also be more subtle terroir differences between honeys produced in Florida or Spain, for instance.
Types of Honey from Flowers
Look for varietals of honey from local apiarists and farmer’s markets. Most honey you find in the grocery store has been pasteurized, a heating and sterilizing process that eliminates much of the unique flavor distinctions.
Here are some interesting varieties of honey from different flowers to seek out and try:
- Buckwheat – Honey made from buckwheat is dark and rich. It looks like molasses and tastes malty and spicy.
- Sourwood – Honey from sourwood is found most commonly in the Appalachian region. It has a light peach color with a complex sweet, spicy, anise flavor.
- Basswood – From the blooms of the basswood tree, this honey is light and fresh in flavor with a lingering taste.
- Avocado – Look for this honey in California and other states that grow avocado trees. It is caramel in color with a floral aftertaste.
- Orange blossom – Orange blossom honey is sweet and floral.
- Tupelo – This classic honey of the southern U.S. comes from the tupelo tree. It has a complex flavor with notes of flowers, fruit, and herbs.
- Coffee – This exotic honey made from coffee blossom may not be made locally where you live, but it’s worth finding. The color is dark and the flavor rich and deep.
- Heather – Heather honey is a little bit bitter and has a strong aroma.
- Wildflower – This can encompass a number of types of flowers and usually indicates the bees had access to meadows. The flavors are usually fruity but can be more intense or delicate depending on the specific flowers used.
- Eucalyptus – This delicate honey from eucalyptus has just a hint of menthol flavor.
- Blueberry – Find this honey where blueberries are grown. It has a fruity, tangy flavor with a hint of lemon.
- Clover – Most of the honey you see at the grocery store is made from clover. It is a good general honey with a mild, floral flavor.