Different Types of Honey [HBM Podcast Transcript 14]

Different Types of Honey

The following is a transcript of Honey Bee Man Episode 14 on different types of honey with MarkZ….

Today we’re going to talk about different types of honey. How do you get different types of honey? For example, if your local beekeeper says, “I have clover honey or I have buckwheat honey,” how do you know what you’re getting? We’re going to talk a little bit about that.

First of all, different types of honey. You’ll see different types of honey labeled different ways. You might have comb honey, liquid honey, creamed honey, and chunk honey. Let’s talk about these just for a minute…

Comb honey is directly from the hive honey-filled beeswax comb as stored naturally by the bees. There are many ways that this can be packaged.

There are packages where the bees actually fill the packages themselves, so there are ways that these packages can be put in the hive and then the bees fill it up. That, as described by comb honey, is not honey in the jar with honey poured over it and around it. Comb honey is strictly the honeycomb with the honey inside the comb.

You also have liquid honey, prepared by cutting off the wax cappings and extracting by spinning the comb in a honey extractor. Then typically that honey will be strained through a filter where it will filter out any impurities or any wax particles that might be present in that honey coming directly out of the extractor.

You also have creamed honey. It’s made by blending one part of granulated honey with nine parts of liquid honey. The mixture is stored at about 57-degrees until becomes firm. This is quite tasty. You don’t see it much around where I live, but in certain parts of the country that is very popular.

Finally, we have chunk honey. This is comb honey in a jar with liquid honey poured around it. This is typically seen quite a bit around where I live. Typically, people will pay a premium for chunk honey in a jar with honey poured around it. They’ll pay more for that than they will just the regular bottle of honey.

Now, as far as honey flavors, honey types and varieties of honey.

What happens is the bees will go out and find whatever nectar is available near them.

In the area where I’m at, they’re bringing in nectar from practically every wildflower available, everything from dandelions to flowers, trees, everything. My honey is pretty much a wildflower honey. It’s hard for me to get honey that is anything but a wildflower honey.

I can tell by what the bees are bringing in what type of honey they’re bringing in at any given time, to a certain extent. If you have certain blooms out, you can tell that the bees are working those blooms. You can tell that by actually going to where the blooms are and watching your honey bees work those blooms.

The way a beekeeper collects certain types of honey is, let’s say that you have hives sitting out in the middle of an area that has alfalfa clover planted all around it, within a couple of miles. These are huge fields. You have your hives sitting out in the middle of those huge fields, so you pretty much know that your bees are working those fields of alfalfa and they’re not working much of anything else. Then you can pretty much call that alfalfa honey.

So, you put a honey super on top of the hive and the bees fill that up. If they’re pretty much working alfalfa, then you pretty much know that’s alfalfa honey. There’s different places where you can place your hives where you know that that’s pretty much the only thing they’re working.

Let me go through a list of different ‘flavors’ and types of honey…

different types of honey jarred and packaged to prepare for sale

First of all, you have the alfalfa honey that we talked about. Produced in Canada and the United States from purple blossoms, is light in color with a pleasing flavor.

Avocado honey, from California avocado blossoms. It’s a dark honey.

Blueberry honey, taken from tiny white flowers of the blueberry bush. It’s a pretty light amber in color with a full well-rounded honey.

Buckwheat honey. Very dark, full-bodied, taken from Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, as well as eastern Canada. It’s very strong flavored. It has more antioxidant compounds than some lighter honey. If you like a strong, full-bodied flavor, this is the one for you.

Clover honey. Very pleasing and very common. Probably one of your most common honey varieties. It is different colors depending on where it comes from and what time of year it comes from, but it’s one of the lighter honeys and one of the most common honeys.

Eucalyptus honey. It comes from about 500 distinct species of eucalyptus, very diverse group of plants. It’s a stronger flavored honey with a slight medicinal scent, produced in California.

Fireweed honey. It’s light in color and comes from a perennial herb that creates wonderful bee pasture in the Northern and Pacific states and Canada. Fireweed grows in the open woods, reaching a height of three to five feet in spikes, with attractive pinkish flowers.

Orange blossom honey. Often from a combination of citrus sources. Usually light in color and mild in flavor with fresh scent and a light citrus taste. Orange blossom honey is produced in Florida, southern California, and parts of Texas.

Sage honey. Primarily produced in California, it is light in color, heavily bodied, and has a mild and delightful flavor. It’s extremely slow to granulate, making it a favorite among honey packers for blending with other honeys to slow down granulation.

Tupelo honey. A premium honey produced in the northwest Florida area. It is heavily bodied and usually a light golden amber with a greenish cast, and it has a mild distinctive taste. Because of the high fructose content in tupelo honey, it granulates very slowly.

Wildflower honey. This term is often used to describe honey from miscellaneous and undefined flower sources. This is pretty much what I have around my location, because it’s a very diverse plant area, so they’re not getting things from one particular source.

Honey blends. Blends are what these packing houses do and they’ll blend different types of honey. This is typically done to have a consistent taste. If they’re selling honey from these honey packing houses in a bulk method, they want the first barrel and the lat barrel of honey to taste the same. The way they do this is by blending thousands of gallons of honey.

You’ll get some good really wonderful honey and you’ll get some honey that’s not so good, and when you blend it all together it all tastes the same. That’s what they’re after when they are selling in bulk, so that people using this for cooking, commercial cooking or cereals or whatever, can have a consistency there so they know that the first batch and the last batch will be the same. That’s typically why you’ll have honey blends.

Typically, hobbyist beekeepers are not going to blend their honey. The local beekeepers, which is where I recommend buying your honey from, know exactly where their honey came from, they know which hive it came from, and they can tell you anything you want to know about that jar of honey. Support your local beekeepers and have a good day.

About Honey Bee Man Transcripts

I first found this podcast via http://kiwimana.co.nz/top-free-beekeeping-podcasts/

This is a great podcast series that MarkZ the Honey Bee Man recorded back in 2007 where he goes through his 10-minute-lessons in beginner beekeeping.

It's a great resource for anyone getting started and the audio from the episodes are still hosted on TalkShoe and iTunes, but it's the internet and information can disappear into the void at any moment, especially after a podcast has been retired, so I wanted to make sure this information was available for everyone to use. I know our community has several folks who are hearing impaired that might be interested to read the info as well, so I've transcribed them and posted them here as articles for everyone.

Episode 1: Introduction to Beekeeping
Episode 2: Pollination
Episode 3: Where to Place a Backyard Beehive
Episode 4: The Best Plants for Your Bees
Episode 5: What Beekeeping Equipment is Needed to Start Keeping Hives
Episode 6: Is It Important to Buy Local Honey?
Episode 7: Basic Protective Gear for Beekeepers
Episode 8: Will Eating Local Honey Help With Allergies?
Episode 9: How to Install a New Package of Bees
Episode 10: Honeybee Hive Inspections - What You Need and What to Look For
Episode 11: Possible Concerns with Used Beekeeping Equipment
Episode 12: How to Avoid Getting Stung By Your Bees (or other stinging insects)
Episode 13: Talking About Colony Collapse Disorder
Episode 14: Different Types of Honey
Episode 15: Extracting Honey from Hives

Organic Backyard Beekeeper is not officially associated with The HoneyBee Man in any way, these transcripts are being provided freely without payment to share and preserve them as a resource. © This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License - Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike - http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/