The color and flavor of honey differs depending on the nectar source (the blossoms) visited by the honeybees. Honey color ranges from nearly colorless to dark brown and its flavor varies from delectably mild to distinctively bold, depending on where the honeybees buzzed.
In fact, there are more than 300 unique types of honey available in the United States, each originating from a different floral source. As a general rule, light colored honey is milder in taste and dark-colored honey is stronger flavored.
Honey is produced in every state, but depending on the floral source location, certain types of honey are produced only in a few regions. Honey is also produced in most countries of the world.
Honey is naturally quite long-lived: Archaeologist T.M. Davies discovered 3,300-year-old jar of honey in an Egyptian tomb. To his amazement, the honey was in remarkably good condition.
To keep your honey in top form, store it at room temperature away from direct sunlight. Do not refrigerate honey; it speeds crystallization. To avoid sticky situations, place honey jars and bottles on a saucer or disposable coaster.
"I'm not just another cute condiment, I've got culture."
For centuries, honey was the primary sweetener throughout the world. Egyptian tomb reliefs from the third century B.C. show workers collecting honey from hives. Chinese manuscripts from the same period contain poems and songs praising honey and its many uses. Today, honey is an important ingredient in nearly every culture's cuisine.
An average worker bee will visit 50-100 flowers on each collection trip. Yet in her lifetime, the busy bee will gather enough nectar to make only 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey.
Creme or spun honey is finely crystallized honey. While all honey will crystallize in time, the crystallization of creamed honey is controlled so that at room temperature it can be spread like butter on toast, biscuits or muffins.
"If I'm not getting through to you, just give me a hot bath."
Has your honey ever turned cloudy, grainy and difficult to pour? Don't worry, it's just crystallization. Crystallization is natural. If honey crystallizes, remove the lid and place the jar in warm water until crystals dissolve. Honey squeeze bears can take a warm bath without removing their cap. Never boil or scorch the honey.
You can also warm honey in the microwave, just make sure the container is microwave-safe. Microwave on HIGH (100%) 2 to 3 minutes or until crystals dissolve; stir every 30 seconds. Again, do not boil or scorch.
NOTE: Honey should not be fed to infants under 1 year of age. Honey is a safe and wholesome food for older children and adults.
Remember honey is the only food produced by an insect that is used for human consumption. Throughout history this "nectar of the Gods" has been hailed as a source of great energy. More research is showing the differences in the pure varietal honeys and their healthy attributes. The subtleties of unblended, pure floral source honey is truly comparable to fine wine. When sampled, estate bottle Beekman & Beekman Honey exemplifies quality in its discrete but extraordinary color, aroma and flavor.
For more information on honey, please visit the National Honey Board's web site, and Honey.com, the honey experts.