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Oct 6, 2008 09:23 AM

Local Honey

I saw that honey was being discussed in another thread and I thought I would add a post here (too)...

I know a wee bit about honey and I wanted to steer everyone in the best direction... Honey does not have to be an excruciating experience. As a matter of fact, good, raw, floral honey can be an unparalleled taste treat. It's sad when beekeepers pawn off crummy honey and this leads the public to believe that all honey is crapola. :( Honey, in fact, is great on anything and everything. I use it as a complete sugar substitute (no more white stuff)... take in on my oatmeal, on fruit, in my daily coffee, on my ice cream, in a lot of asian dishes, on seafood, etc, etc, etc.

The best honey, by far, in all of SoFla is sold through Bees-N-The-Keys.
The company is a family-based operation in the Florida Keys and they are dedicated to no cooking, no preservatives and no additives (the stuff that makes honey taste metallic). The owner keeps all of his hives from Key Largo to Key West. The honey is local and raw... and, truly, delicious. The company does some craft fairs and plant shows (I don't think they have a store yet) where you can literally sample all of the varities before you make a purchase. I dare say, if Frod (I think?) had tasted the honey before he bought it, he would have made a different decision.

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  1. I actually liked the Mangrove Honey I got at the UES Green Market, though not all the Family Frod were as enamored of it. I hope these folks come up when the market starts up again end of the month.

    1. Interesting report. Checking out their website, I'm impressed by some of their honey varieties: Key lime, mangrove, Florida holly (! isn't that Brazillian pepper?), seagrape! Do you have a favorite, QTWO?

      3 Replies
      1. re: Agent Orange

        Funny you would mention the Holly... It is Brazillian pepper, but it has no spice- only sweetness. It is a rich and darker honey, but not spicy in the least- I think the idea of "Brazillian Pepper" might have scared people, so they probably used the other name...

        My favorite, by far, is the Jamaica Dogwood. I also like the Goldenrod, Black Mangrove and Seagrape- all of which are really light and floral. The Mango is deelicious on ice cream and the Key Lime is brilliant on shrimp- those flavors are very distinct. :) Right now, my daily honey is Jamaica Dogwood (which, incidentally, is made no where else in the U.S. besides the Keys). :)

        1. re: QTWO

          Good to know we (and nature) have found a use for the invasive species taking over Florida. I'll have to keep my eye out for Brazilian Pepper honey.

        2. re: Agent Orange

          I hate to disappoint you but Brazilian pepper is not Florida holly. Florida holly is a shrub that looks like any other holly with red berries. It was in Florida long before the invasive Brazilian pepper tree.

        3. I just bought a spectacular winter honey from Eden's Nectar at the Ybor Saturday Market (Tampa). They company is in Lutz;
          Their idea is to package honey according to the season, which is better for allergy sufferers and produces extraordinarily different flavors. The Winter honey is maple-y, thin, not too sweet, a very sophisticated flavor.

          I also love Goldenrod Apiaries honeys; they're based in Winter Park. Their Wildflower honey is a lovely, slightly bitter honey; the Palmetto is super sweet with a clean aftertaste. I think they make clover and tupelo varieties, too. I find them at my local health food store.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Miss E

            Eden is where I have recently bought my honey and enjoyed all the varieties.

            1. re: Miss E

              Just some FYI's...

              Most honey, if it is natural and raw, is only produced seasonally- because the plants typically only have a single season of blooms. This is a good way to detect raw honey from the cooked, preserved stuff- most varieties are only available during certain seasons.

              Also, Tupelo honey is only made in northern Florida... the Tupelo Gum tree does not bloom anywhere south of there. So... if they have Tupelo, it was likely imported. Not that importing is a bad thing- I like Tupelo, but I don't want to go to north Florida to get it. :)

            2. does the flavors from these honeys come from the flowers used? I was tasting some honeys recently at Robert is Here and tasted incredible differences between them, then found that there were oils or essences added to each, whether it was mangrove or key lime.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Icantread

                Good point! You have to ask if any flavorings are added to the honey. Eden's Nectar and Goldenrod Apiaries have no added ingredients--just the honey, the flavor of which varies dramatically depending on the plant or flower the bees to visit.

                1. re: Icantread

                  The changes in flavor typically occur because of the different types of blooms... There are notable differences, but (again) like wine, some of the differences can be subtle. The "flavors" that are typically discussed refer to the difference in taste produced by the different blooms visited.

                  But some honey, with a particularly distinct flavor, will have an oil added. These are easy to pick out because the flavor will jump out... Because of the viscosity/density of honey, a special oil is required- the oil is all natural, but it accentuates a flavor that is already there- for folks with a less discerning palate.

                  All apiaries gather honey that has no oil (including Bees-N-The-Keys), but different people like different tastes and I think some of the "enhanced" honeys are really spectacular. I think it is truly a matter of preference and not really a matter of quality...