Why do honeys have different tastes?
When shopping in the honey section at your local store or farmers market, you’ll see various brands and bottles that have different colors and viscosities. With so much variety, you’re bound to wonder why and which one you should choose.
There are more than 300 varietals, or flavors, of honey in the U.S. alone, and even your favorite brands, like Nature Nate’s Honey, may have slightly different tastes from one bottle to the next, because we aren’t putting in the flavor – our hardworking bee friends do.
Honey bees make honey from nectar, and the flowering plants that bees collect this nectar from will impact the taste. Honey bees can fly up to 3 miles to gather nectar, pollen, water and bee glue (used in the hive to seal cracks and varnish walls). In her search for the best sources of nectar, a bee can visit more than 600 flowers a day, and to make a single pound of honey, bees will travel and collect nectar from more than a million flowers. With nectar collected from so many different flowers and with native plants differing from region to region, it’s no wonder honey will taste different and color will vary.
But that’s not the only thing that will impact your honey. The thickness of honey can change year to year with the weather. For example, if there’s more rain in the spring and summer, the honey will likely be thinner.
Another impact to the thickness of honey is the process used to bottle it. Pasteurized honey is heated to super high temperatures and will likely be thinner in your bottle. However, it kills a lot of the goodness of honey. To get the most nutrients (think vitamins and enzymes), you should select a honey that is raw and unfiltered. For Nature Nate’s Honey, we do not pasteurize the honey but simply warm it to pour it into the bottle and onto your counter. Honey straight from the hive will have bee parts and wax in it, so we strain (not filter) it to be able to keep pollen in it.
Because it is raw and unfiltered, your honey may also become thicker and crystallize over time, becoming white and solid in appearance. No worries! When that happens, you know you have 100% pure honey. Simply place your bottle in warm water to return your honey to liquid. (To learn more about crystallization, read The Cold Hard Facts of Crystallized Honey.)
So when you’re back on that honey aisle, pick up two bottles of Nature Nate’s Honey – our classic blend and organic blend which are different varietals of honey – see what taste you prefer and be thankful for all the hard work the amazing honey bee did to put it in your bottle.