Southern Hive Honey Company
There are two types of honey, nectar honey &forest honey, sometimes called honeydew honey. Nectar honey is what we are most familiar with and can be produced from any tree, flower or shrub that produces nectar. Forest honey is a different story, first an insect called an aphid eats a trees sap, but aphids can't digest sucrose, so what's left behind is almost pure tree sugar which in turn is collected by honeybees and from that point is produced into honey. Both of these types of honey can vary wildly depending on the plant that the nectar or honeydew was collected from, they can be as clear as water, like Acacia Honey, or almost completely black, like Buckwheat Honey.
There are over 2000 commercially produced honeys in the world today, so listing them all would be tedious, to say the least, not to mention that the same plants and the same bees can make a slightly different honey from year to year. So this list will be honeys that I have personally tasted and some rare honeys that I hope to taste some day.
Goldenrod Honey can range from pale yellow to a deep golden color, with a distinctive, but plesant taste. Uniquely strong with a bit of a bite and an almost spicy flavor that is not overly sweet. Goldenrod Honey has a robust aroma reminicent of wildflowers and beeswax that can be offputting at first. An unparalled honey for a true connoisseur.
Orange Blossom Honey contains all the flowery perfume of the grove itself, exploding with bold citrus flavors and the pronunced aroma of summer. Delicately fruity with slightly acidic overtones, this honey has a captivating finish with notes of almonds and toffee. This distinct varietal is like a spoonful of Florida sunshine.
Once a year honeybees turn Saw Palmettos' golden nectar into a glorious gourmet honey, rarely seen outside of Georgia and Florida. Saw Palmetto Honey has a vivid amber color and a deep reddish tinge, along with a complex tangy, tart flavor with sweet citrusy undertones.
Available in limited quantities, because indiviual cranberry bogs bloom no more than two weeks annually, Cranberry Honey is prized for its strong berry flavor without the pungent harshness of the fruit itself. Medium amber in color with a beautiful red cast, this honey has a delicate floral aroma with a smooth yet mildly tart sweetness and a lingering fruity aftertaste.
Buckwheat Honey is as stout and complex as honey gets, perhaps the strongest and darkest of the honey vareitals. It can range in color from very deep amber to dark brown, with a slightly reddish tinge and a sharp spicy aroma. A memorable molasses flavor with hints of mossy earth, and its mellow sugar profile combine to yield a malty flavor with a long, but enjoyable brown sugar finish.
This extremely rare single varietal honey is often a treat solely for the bees, as it can only be harvested during years of plenty. Dandelion Honey can be initially repellent for those unfamiliar with the mild sweetness and pungent, sharp taste of this distinctive honey. Its color ranges from an intense golden yellow to a darker amber hue as it crystallizes into a deliciously spreadable honey with a creamy buttery texture.
Wildflower Honey is produced from the myriad of flowering trees, shrubs and flowers blooming from season to season. When these nectars combine they create a full bodied hearty honey that has a deep rich flavor and typically, a mild sweetness. Wildflower Honey is packed with pollen and a great choice for those suffering from allergies, looking for a natural remedy.
Gallberry Honey is highly desirable and prized for its sweet golden flavor with an elegant, rich taste. Produced almost excusively in the coastal southest, Gallberry Honey has a thick viscous appearence with a warm gloden amber color. This honey is delightfuly aromatic, with a highly flowery perfume and a robust spicy flavor with wonderfully, smoky undertones. Rarely sold outside Florida and Georgia Gallberry Honey is a southern secret we can’t help but to share.
Tupelo Honey is harvested exclusively in the swamps of northwestern Florida and has a smooth texture with complex floral, herbal and fruity flavors. Heavily bodied with a distinctly delicious sweet flavor revealing buttery undertones. Usually light golden amber in color with a greenish glow, it is considered one of the finest honeys produced and enjoys worldwide renown. This superb southern honey is also unique in that, it will never granulate.
Snowberry Honey has a pale yellow hue and a phenomenal flavor that just melts on the palette. Extremely viscous, with a mild sugar profile and a slight spiciness that finishes with notes of butterscotch and slight beeswaxy undertones. This honey is truly unique and truly delicious.
Yellow Star Thistle
Harvested along the west coast, but primarily in California, where it is considered a noxious weed, Yellow Star Thistle Honey has a lovely pale yellow color with a greenish cast and a slight florescence. A wonderful grassy aroma with a rich, lush flavor and a persistent, sweet floral, aftertaste this honey evokes elements of fruit, daisies and summer. One of the worlds’ most sought after honeys and relished by honey enthusiasts.
Connoisseurs of fine food around the globe continue to recognise Leatherwood Honey as one of the finest and rarest honeys in the world. It is known for its unusual flavor and its complex lingering palate. It has a very unique aroma, and a kind of spicy caramel flavor, yet more complex, almost indescribable. The nectar yield of Leatherwood trees is correlated to the age of the tree. Young Leatherwood trees are a poor nectar source. Research has shown that trees under 75 generally don't flower at all and the most prolific flowering trees are those that 175 to 210 years old.
Hugely popular in Europe, and imported into the U.S. from the Bavarian region of Germany, Rapsflower Honey has a sweet, mild honey taste that is simple yet wonderfully delicate. Starting with a somewhat mild sugar profile, this honey can bloom and finish with a strong sweetness and a floral aftertaste. An opaque whitish color and an incredibly creamy texture make Rapsflower Honey an amazing one of a kind treat.
Clover Honey has the delicate aroma
of freshly cut grass, a clean, very sweet, taste & mild flavor with just a hint of cinnamon. With a delightful sweetness that lingers on the tongue, it’s as close to a “pure honey’ taste as you can get, yet worlds away from ordinary.
Black Button Sage
Extremely rare and harvested only four out of every ten years, Sage Honey boast a delightful herbal flavor reminiscent of the sage blossom itself. Very light amber in color yet heavily bodied with a predominantly sweet ‘pure honey” flavor echoing notes of berry and vanilla. This honey will not crystallize for years, but will be long gone before then.
Fireweed is a tall perennial herb with
large clusters of red-purple flowers growing in dense stands on cut of burnt over timberlands. No other major honey plant grows as far north, and
blooms from early July through late September. Fireweed honey is delicate with subtle tea-like notes and a smooth finish. Water white to light amber in color and very mild, it has a sweet, almost fruity flavor that makes it a natural choice for sweetening citrus.
Blueberry Honey has a bold, well rounded flavor with strong earthy components & a slightly tangy, buttery-sweet finish. Visually striking, with a rich amber hue our lowbush blueberry honey is only harvested once every two years, but well worth the wait.
The Vipers Bugloss plant -commonly known as Blue Borage - grows wild in the remote areas of the Clarence Reserve in the Kaikoura mountain range in New Zealand. It is one of the hardest won honeys in the region. The wild flower covers the hills of the Central South Island in a floral carpet of brilliant blue flowers. The plant produces a nectar at lower temperatures than clover yielding a very dry honey with a chewy or tacky texture. Blue Borage Honey is slow to crystallize, has a dark amber color and an unmistakable light, clean herbal flavor with a floral bouquet that bursts with the taste of butterscotch.
Despite its name, the Christmas Berry generally flowers in the early summer and is fairly rare due its low numbers and inaccessibility. This honey ranges in color from dark amber to a deep golden and tastes something like sweet potatoes. Christmas Berry Honey is strong and exotic with overtones of marzipan and a complex finish with a bit of a bite.
Acacia Honey is clear, transparent golden liquid that literally shines like a precious stone. Its bouquet is as bright as its color. Its texture and flavor are ethereal, ambrosia-like finishing with a haunting floral note. It is one of the mildest honey in the world.
A white, naturally crystallized honey, with a distinct lily-like flavor. Lehua is the flower of the Ohia tree which is a native Hawaiian hardwood tree that grows in abundance in the Puako Kiawe forest of the Big Island. This honey can have a deep "brown butter" like richness with a nutty finish. Strong and unique Lehua Honey is one of Hawaii's rarest honeys.
The black mangrove is a evergreen maritime tree that flourishes on the small islands and along the shores of southern Florida. It doesn't grow above the 29th parallel and while it can be found on Floridas east coast it is mainly a southwestern Florida honey crop. The honey has a very pale amber to light yellow color with a sweet, smoky caramel flavor and a smooth finish.
Alfalfa blooms throughout the summer months and is one of western Americas' most important honey crops. Alflafa Honey has a delicate floral aroma with notes of beeswax and freshly cut grass. It has a clean crisp taste and a pleasant sweet flavor that hints at the plants radiant violet-blue blossom. This white to light amber honey has a spicy sweetness and a delightfully memorable aftertaste. It makes a wonderful everyday table honey.
Sourwood Honey is rarely sold outside the area in which it is produced and is so rare that a good crop sometimes only surfaces once every decade. Yet, its deep, spicy flavor makes it sought after by honey connoisseurs everywhere. The honey’s scarcity can be attributed to the very small amount of sourwood trees currently growing mainly in the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains. Its flavor is floral and light with hints of baking spices and anise. The honey’s color ranges from pure white to light amber with a slightly gray tint and its texture is defined by a smooth, caramel buttery quality.
Chestnut Honey is produced from the european sweet chestnut tree, not the American chestnut, which doesn't produce nectar. Chestnut Honey has a strong aromatic taste with a slightly bitter, but not unplesant, finish. It has a high pollen content and is rich in mineral salts and tannin. It has a dark color that ranges from yellowish brown to almost black, sometimes with amber hues. It has an aromatic, herbal aroma and taste with a mild sugar profile and a truly unique flavor.
Tulip Poplar Honey is dark in color and reddish when light passes thru, with a medium sweetness and robust flavor. This honey is dark because of its high mineral content, however its flavor is not as strong as one would expect from a dark honey, still it may be a bit too strong for those who are used to clover honey. The tulip poplar is a tall tree with large greenish-yellow flowers that grow to be over 100 feet tall and bloom from late April into May. Tulip poplar is one of the most famous honey sources of the Appalachian area of the USA.
Heather Honey or "Ling Heather" is known as the true heather honey and quite different from "Erica Heather". The plant is a low growing evergreen, native to europe, with some of the best honey coming from Scotland where it thrives in the acidic soils. Heather honey has unique sensory qualities and exhibits a gelatinous property called thixotopism. The thicker the honey the greater the purity. It has a mildly sweet taste with a smoky, tangy, slightly bitter finish, a opaque reddish-orange color and a fresh, floral aroma.
A premire honey that has been collected for thosands of years. Known as the "bee tree" because of the generous amounts of nectar and the ambrosial aroma produced by its clusters of drooping white and yellow flowers. The intensity of the aroma and flavor are stronger than the color would indicate, and stands side by side with darker honeys. Basswood Honey has a distinctive biting flavor, slightly minty, slightly woody, but complex and unless tasted any description is simply inadequate.
A velvety smooth, dark amber honey with a rich buttery flavor, featuring notes of caramelized molasses. As with most darker honeys Avocado Honey is rich in anti-oxidants, minerals and vitamins. This honey originated in Southern Mexico and is now a common crop in Central America, Australia and other tropical regions. Most of the avocado honey crop comes from Florida and California and Hawaii.
Brazilian Pepper Honey comes from a tree native to Brazil, it is in the same family as poison ivy and oak and although it was introduced intentionally, it has now been classified as an invasive species. In Hawaii, the same plant is known as the Christmas Berry, a prime example of how the same floral source can produce a different tasting honey depending on the region in which it grows. Brazilian Pepper Honey is very light in color, almost clear, with a translucent golden glow and a distinct "peppery" flavor, but sweet, with a light consistency and a mild flavorful taste .
Black Locust is a high quality, pleasant tasting honey, aromatic, and ranging from water white to light yellow in color. This honey is tough to get as the trees , with long hanging clusters of fragrant white flowers, only bloom a couple of weeks each year, at best, and spring storms prevent the bees from being able to make a lot of this exceedingly rare honey. The honey smells more caramelized than it tastes, it is in fact light on the palate, with a sweet zing that kind that makes the back of your mouth ache slightly. It finishes with a flowery perfume that lacks the depth of darker, more throat-coating honeys, but is far more versatile.
Purple loosestrife is an invasive perennial herb that, like star thistle, is being erracted, to the dismay of American beekeepers and their bees. It yields a marvelous tasting honey with a very interesting tang it's a single varietal honey with a complicated taste, appealing with a butterscotch flavor profile and a faint hint of fennel. Purple Loosestrife Honey has a slight greenish blue tint unique to this honey.
Pine Barren Honey is a bold multi-varietal honey made from the wild flowering plants & trees of the pine barren forests. Deliciously unique it has a radiant light orange glow, a velvety smooth texture & a distinct pine candy aftertaste. Truly one of natures finest treats.
Purple Star Thistle
Purple Star Thistle Honey is harvested, primarily, from the eastern seaboard of the U.S. and holds a luscious, light amber color imbued with beautiful orange hues. A wonderful grassy aroma and mild, yet fragrant flavor yield a long, not too sweet, finish with subtle anise-like qualities. This is by far one of the finest honeys produced in the U.S. to date.
Kamahi is a common tree found in many of New Zealand's rugged native forests, and is an excellent source of honey. The creamy colored flowers are very attractive to bees and bloom in abundance throughout the Spring producing a light amber honey with a distinctive, full-bodied complexity of flavor preferred by many honey connoisseurs. Kamahi Honey is unique to New Zealand. Musky golden, clean, rich and sweet with a balanced 'buttery' finish.
Over one third of the worlds coffee production takes place in Brazil, consequently this is where the majority of Coffee Honey comes from, although Colombia and Costa Rica produce their fair share. The area of the Santos, mountains south of San Jose, Costa Rica, are involved in 90 percent of coffee production and are home to bees that feed almost exclusively on nectar from coffee flowers, which gives the honey special features, a more crystalline texture being one among many. This honey has an extraordinary aroma and flowery taste and a deep flavor to match its dark color. In any coffee plantation, the flowers blossom immediately after the first showers during the Spring, and the flowers stay only for about a week. This is honey seasonal and is available only once a year.
Cotton is one of the leading
honey plants in the southern U.S.
Its nectar is protected from the
parching sun by large flowers and
leaves. The honey is white to extra
light amber with a good, mild flavor.
Meadowfoam is a small plant native to the Pacific Northwest and grown, primarily, in the Willamette Valley. The oil, pressed from the seeds, is very stable, and has the ability to extend the shelf life of less stable ingredients. Pure Meadowfoam Honey is hard to come by, the major crop is planted only once every five years, with smaller crops being planted in the off years. Because of crop size, the bees may forage from other flowers during the off years. Meadowfoam Honey is very tasty, with the deep aroma of vanilla, a novel flavor of toasted marshmallows and caramelized custard, with a hint of burnt sugar. It’s a soft and very sweet taste and very unique in the honey world.
Growing up to nine feet tall, the
sunflower is cultivated in vast fields
that are a paradise for bees as it’s
blossom produces far more nectar
than smaller flowering plants.
Sunflower honey is light to extra
light amber in color and tastes
slightly herbaceous with citrus notes.
At varying elevations, the wild blackberry canes will fruit from late spring to mid fall. The wild blackberry canes grow vigorously, over 20 feet tall, and will cascade down over trees reclaiming the forests completely. Throughout the year the bountiful blossoms provide a continual source of nectar for honeybees. Harvested in early summer, Blackberry Honey is one of the most popular for honey lovers. It has a light amber color, and a unique taste with a lot of sweetness and a light hint of berry flavor.
Butterbean Honey comes from bees pollinating butterbeans, lima and other beans. Butterbean Honey has a very smooth and mild taste, and is not super sweet or super strong. It is an excellent sweetener for just about anything. Butterbean honey is becoming a perennial favorite among honey lovers.
Red Bamboo honey comes from the "Japanese Bamboo" plant, also known as Japanese Knotweed, which grows profusely in many damp areas of many states, along streams and rivers, and along interstate highways where water runs off and keeps the ground moist. The plant is considered an invasive weed albeit its flowers are valued by beekeepers as an important source of nectar for honeybees, at a time of year (late August into September) when there is little else in bloom for honey bees to forage. It is a dark honey and considered a mild-flavored version of Buckwheat Honey. It has many of the same properties and uses, but with a sweeter and more pleasant taste that many people prefer, without the molasses overtones.
Eucalyptus honey comes from one of the larger plant families, containing over 500 distinct species and many hybrids. As may be expected with such a diverse group of plants, eucalyptus honey varies greatly in color and flavor. Eucalyptus Honey tends to be a stronger flavored honey, rich and distinctive, and is a full-bodied treasure that adds an extra dimension to recipes. It tends to have a special herbal flavor carrying a hint of menthol.
Chamiso aka Rabbit Brush is an evergreen brush prevalent throughout the South West. Native Americans often used the flowers of the Chamiso to make tea for curing various illnesses including dizziness and lack of focus. The healing properties of the Chamiso brush can be felt in its honey. The honey itself has an amber color with hints of orange and particulates with an aroma of orange peel, some barnyard and floral qualities, with a dense with nutty, hazelnut taste.
Carrot blossoms are naturally an excellent source of nectar for honeybees. Carrots that are harvested for their roots are plucked from the ground before their flowers blossom, so Carrot Blossom Honey can only be made from carrot fields that are not intended for harvest and consequently, is not a widely produced honey varietal. Harvested from April to October, this honey can be quick to crystallize. The aroma is particularly intense, with a rapid progression of coconut, mustard, and notes of carrots. It has a very mellow sugar profile with hints of cedar, herbs, pepper, earth and musk with an attractive, but slightly tannic, finish.