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honey

i'm a backyard beekeeper and i love our honey, which is mainly blackberry nectar. i've also been interested in trying other types of honeys. i've had hawaiian white, white sage (which is absolutely NOT my favorite), eucalyptus (which tastes pretty much like you would think it would - nice to have for throat syrup) and star thistle. right now we have a bottle of chamisa honey that i am loving - really dark and strong, almost like a molasses.

anyone have interesting honeys that they can recommend? i like the idea of having a wide variety. honeys are all about terroir - and, as a beekeeper, i'd like to support honey production and pair great honeys with great foods.

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  1. A friend sent me some Italian Corbezzolo honey. You might find that interesting if you can find it. She had to scour the markets of NYC on a mission and only chanced upon it in the end.

    It's from Sardinia. I don't know what these Sardinian bees are up to but the flavor is actually sour. Sour! And yet it also has the distinctive flavor of honey. Go figure!

    Here's more info: http://www.babbonyc.com/ingredient/co...

    And you may be able to get some from Zingerman's Deli in MI if you're willing to pay $35 a jar for honey. http://www.zingermans.com/Product.asp... Dear god! I hope my friend didn't spend that much because she just got me another jar when she was in NYC for Christmas. It's good tho and MOST unusual.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rainey

      ok now i'm on a mission!!!
      rainey that sounds amazing - i've gotta find it now. we had a dear friend from sardinia, who loved his island passionately. i've gotta find this stuff, if only for his memory. THANK YOU!

    2. An odd one, IMO, is Sourwood from the Blue Ridge Mountains. Dark, and not nearly as sweet as clover or orange blossom. I have half left of a 45 oz. jar.

      12 Replies
      1. re: Veggo

        so... would you use it in any recipe? might it be good on biscuits or some other bland food? or balanced with a hard cheese? it sounds curious..

        1. re: rmarisco

          I'll let others weigh in. We did a honey thread some years ago, and many here really know their miel. (My lady friend in Mexico had a 5 gallon can of honey( miel) in her kitchen, she used it just about every day).

          1. re: rmarisco

            Sourwood honey from the North Georgia mountains is my favorite honey.
            Most commercial honeys burn in the back of my throat, but the sour wood honey my cousin buys by the gallon goes down so smooth.....

            1. re: rmarisco

              If you look at my post I say that it is wonderful for Baklava. But not only that. I love the spicy tang it provides. I order it on line. I've got to have it.

            2. re: Veggo

              Odd. Sourwood honey is typically light in color, and I've never noticed it tasting less sweet, although I don't think I've ever had orange blossom honey.

              1. re: carolinadawg

                My jar of Sourwood is almost as dark as molasses.

                1. re: Veggo

                  It's probably mis-labeled.

                  1. re: carolinadawg

                    Label reads:
                    Sourwood Honey
                    "raw and natural"
                    Produced in the Blue Ridge Mountains
                    Bob Binnie Jr.
                    P.O. Box 15
                    Lakemont GA. 30552
                    Ph. 706-782-6722
                    Net Wt 45 oz.

                    1. re: Veggo

                      Any sign of buckwheat nearby?
                      (I don't know if that's the right climate...)

                      1. re: Chowrin

                        I'm in Bradenton FL, home of Tropicana and 23,000 acres of citrus trees in Manatee County, so all the local honey is orange blossom.

                        1. re: Veggo

                          Orange blossom is my favorite. You get the aroma of orange blossoms in bloom. Iconic Florida experience

              2. re: Veggo

                I did not see your reply, I'm a Sourwood Honey lover. I posted about it too.

              3. A friend once gave me honey from Germany - might have been Black Forest. It had a bitter, medicinal taste which caused me to throw it out. I guess I like the local flower honey I get at the farmers' market best. It's similar to clover honey. I also like orange blossom honey. They are very sweet, so only a little is needed.

                1. Cool hobby you have, by the way. Where I am in Florida, the orange growers really have to pay up to rent beehives during pollinating season, because of the bee kill-off.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Veggo

                    ...PLEASE don't get me started...

                    we did this to help the bees, not for the honey production. we really don't harvest much: it's theirs first.

                    1. re: rmarisco

                      Perfect. I never questioned your good intentions! We need more like you!

                      1. re: rmarisco

                        Thank you for helping the bees. If I weren't too afraid of being stung and lazy, I'd try my hand at it too. I don't use pesticides even though the stinkbugs ruin more in the garden than I harvest.

                        I don't have any food pairing recommendations for you. I do love our local wildflower honey. Oh, have you tried making honey caramels?

                      2. re: Veggo

                        We were the first area (or one of them) to have Africanized bees move in. Knock on wood, I've never been bothered, but when they're mad at you, you're in deep shit. On one hand, they're a bit of an antidote for the colony collapse disorder, on the other hand, they can be aggressive and dangerous. I guess my whole point was this- at least we still have bees.

                        1. re: EWSflash

                          Scary. As allergic as I am to bee stings, Africanized bees could end my life in a short time.

                      3. Tupelo honey, most definitely!

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: bevwinchester

                          can you describe the taste of tupelo at all? i have seen it in stores but have been hesitant to try. Does it really taste that different from other honeys?

                          1. re: rmarisco

                            http://www.savannahbee.com/product/Tu...

                            That's a very good question. When I buy honey from out of state (NJ) I buy from this company. What I enjoy about their honey is the purity and the reason I adore their Tupelo honey is because beyond a wonderful sweetness it has this very romantic pour. I can't describe it any better than that. It's a seductive honey.

                            1. re: HillJ

                              Love this company. And you've got a way with words, HillJ! That's such a great way to describe this honey. :)

                              1. re: Sra. Swanky

                                Sra. S, and the long neck bottle SB places the honey in is the ideal container for this one too!

                                1. re: Sra. Swanky

                                  I also really like Savannah Bee Company. If you happen to be in Savannah, stop in the shop and do a honey tasting. It's a lovely experience.

                              2. re: rmarisco

                                Yes, rmarisco, it is a very unusual honey. If I were to describe it, I would say that Tupelo honey is to clover honey, as Bock beer is to regular lager beer.

                              3. re: bevwinchester

                                Tupelo is also one that doesn't crystalize. It is very good.

                              4. Buckwheat honey. It almost has a farm-like smell. We call it eau de barnyard in my house. It is very dark and very pungent...not for the faint of heart!

                                1. Our favorite is Colonial Plantation in Hardeeville, SC. The label simply says "Wild Flower".

                                  I can say that it is lightly floral...very good in a cup of British tea.

                                  1. The best honey you'll ever find is apple blossom honey.

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: Chowrin

                                      Why is that Chowrin?

                                      1. re: HillJ

                                        yes! please explain!
                                        and also, recommend any producers/links so i can track it down!!

                                        1. re: rmarisco

                                          There seem to be plenty of places online (seriously, google knows).
                                          (I myself haven't had it, actually. But my husband's a
                                          honey fiend (as in knows the word for honey in all the world's languages -- and has been known to request
                                          it, to often hilarious results.Honey is slang for what??)).

                                          It's fairly rare because you have to have enough of an orchard to support an apiary.

                                      2. re: Chowrin

                                        There is a man that I used to work with who sells apple blossom honey.. His hives are on the edge of 4 acres of an apple and other fruits orchard.

                                        1. re: Chowrin

                                          Yes, Hawai'ian 'ohia lehua (mountain apple) honey is exquisite.

                                        2. I like raw honey that has a slight chamomile taste to it.
                                          Plant some chamomile and just leave the bees to do their thing.
                                          <ETA> I consume most honey by the spoonful (not paired w/ any cheese).

                                          1. Locust honey, almost clear, and a very big producer, up to 40 pounds a day, a medium super everyday , for a week if the weather holds!

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Raffles

                                              ok this is also going on my short list!
                                              thanks for the rec

                                            2. The one kind I crave and truly miss is almond honey, which I have trouble finding.

                                              Okay, according to the following website, I just found out why there is a lot of almond production in California, but not much of the honey.

                                              "Almonds (and most nut trees) produce a lot of pollen, but very little nectar in their flowers."

                                              http://slideridge.wordpress.com/2013/...

                                              1. I'm sure the beekeepers who post know this already, but it is generally accepted that consuming the honey local to your area is helpful in combatting allergies, in both man and beast.
                                                A tsp or two of local honey per day will be a welcome treat as far as your larger dog who gets itchy skin in summer is concerned, and will probably help its symptoms. It should be started in the spring, as soon as it is available.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                  No, it's not generally accepted. It may very well be generally believed, but it's not scientifically demonstrated. http://www.unitedallergyservices.com/...

                                                2. Pretty much the best local honey available in Portland OR is Boyco Foods. I'd recommend either the carrot or buckwheat flavors. The former is mildly sweet with a complex taste I am not sure how to describe. The latter is more of a molassesy flavor. My favorite was meadow foam but not sure whether this is available. Las time I talked to them they indicated that those hives were out on public land on Mt Hood which was no longer accessible to them. That stuff was great- sweet and intensely floral.

                                                  I'm not sure about mail ordering. But they are very nice people probably would be happy to talk to you. The article below has some contact information:

                                                  http://www.portlandmonthlymag.com/hom...

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: ChrisOfStumptown

                                                    which reminds me that there is supposed to be coriander honey varietals that come out of oregon.. ever had any? i'd LOVE to try that carrot - putting it on my list.

                                                    1. re: rmarisco

                                                      No I have not seen coriander but it sounds good and will pick up if I see any.

                                                      1. re: rmarisco

                                                        PS I talked to them briefly today, and they do ship honey.

                                                    2. Have you see this site? http://www.honeytraveler.com/types-of... Made me drool and I'm not even much of a honey aficionado!

                                                      1. Here in Southern California the honey seller at the local farmer's market sometimes has avocado honey, which is dark and rich and luscious, not as pungent as buckwheat honey but certainly, hmm, assertive. Since you like dark strong honeys you'd probably like the avocado honey too.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: P_penelope

                                                          haha!!! i picked some up last time we were in LA!!! Erewhon has the greatest selection (that's where i got the chamisa). It's actually next in the rotation!

                                                        2. Purple loosestrife is my favourite. It has a wonderful floral flavour and a slight green colour undertone. Great use for an invasive species.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: earthygoat

                                                            never even seen it... i will have to look for it online i think!

                                                          2. I love the buckwheat honey I get from the local farmers market (in CT). My husband finds it too strong a flavor.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: ElsieB

                                                              I did too until I used it to glaze a pork roast. Wow was that good!

                                                            2. I love to bring back honey when I travel, and I buy local honey at home as well. I probably have close to two dozen different kinds of honey in the pantry. The one I bought just this week is cherry blossom, which tastes slightly like cherry cough syrup!

                                                              I think my favorite is the coffee blossom honey I brought back from Kauai: very dark, with hints of coffee. The great thing about having 20 open jars of honey is that it doesn't spoil!

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                Heh. Speaking of that, a few years back some of the "localvore" honey here in NYC mysteriously started turning bright red. Turns out the bees found a bunch of HFCS dyed with Red Dye #40 for the production of those low-end maraschino cherries. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/30/nyr...

                                                              2. I'm a big fan of coffee blossom honey by Big Tree. Has a subtle coffee taste and goes great with, well, milk n' coffee.

                                                                1. We were given a little jar of buckwheat honey from the Japanese countryside (we live in Tokyo) and it was very grassy tasting and a bit rough. I like spirits distilled from buckwheat mash (soba shochu) and I could tell a bit of similarity.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Tripeler

                                                                    Xtabentun is made only in the Yucatan of Mexico, a honey-anise liqueur. Difficult to tell what flora the bees have visited, probably hibiscus mostly. Bouganvillea are attractive but have little nectar or appeal to bees.

                                                                    1. re: Tripeler

                                                                      we have buckwheat honey all the time around here.

                                                                    2. A number of years ago I brought some pine honey home from Turkey and became totally enamored of it. It’s a very dark, intense honey, a bit like eucalyptus, but less medicinal in flavor. I was devastated when I finally used it up and was paying a small fortune to order it online, but have since found some local sources for it so no longer have to hoard.

                                                                      1. You know what I suddenly decided I want? Chile honey. Home growers self-pollinate to prevent cross-pollination, of course, but is this a worry in a mono-crop situation? Is there a jalapeno farm large and homogenous enough that a hive could be plopped in it without worrying about changing the resulting crop? And if so, has someone done that? And if that, what does the honey taste like?

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: nokitchen

                                                                          There are certainly commercial operations that only grow one chile -- Hatch, for example. Or the growers who grow chiles exclusively for Huy Fong sriracha. I'd like some sriracha chile honey!

                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                            Outstanding idea! A quick google shows that one of Huy Fong's larger (maybe largest) supplier farms is called Underwood Farms (http://underwoodranches.com/Home_Page...). Just for fun I sent them an email asking how they pollinate and whether there's jalapeno flower honey in existence. Perhaps I'll track down a farmer in the Hatch valley, too. If there is such a thing I bet those Hatch guys get a pretty penny for it. They've done a hell of a job marketing their product.

                                                                            1. re: nokitchen

                                                                              I look forward to the answers!

                                                                        2. I love Sourwood Honey. It comes from Appalachia . When we are in N. Carolina we stock up but I have ordered it on line.

                                                                          It is a spicy and tangy honey. My favorite use is in Baklava. My southern version uses blanched and toasted pecans in for the nuts. It is really good. I had one person tell me it was the best Baklava she'd ever had.

                                                                          I learned many years ago the trick of taking the bitterness from pecans, walnuts etc. After they are picked and shelled the nuts oils goes right to the surface of the nuts and goes rancid. Dumping them into boiling water will get rid of the oil, you will quickly see scum in the water. It only takes a moment to do. Then rinse them and toast them in the oven, 350 F probably 10 -15 minutes. You will be surprised by the sweetness of the nuts.

                                                                          1. Ok, so i have a question, I guess for the beekeepers or those who know about this thing. I have been wondering about this for a long time. I have been to several places that sell snow cones, and seen many bees (1000s at least at one place) drinking the nectar from the thrown away half eaten snow cones.
                                                                            I'm wondering if some of these bees could have strayed from a beekeeper's hive what this does would do to the honey's flavor.
                                                                            Does it make it sweeter, or does it give it an off flavor, or something else?

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: TroyTempest

                                                                              i think i can answer that:

                                                                              bees have a "sweet tooth"! they will go for ANY source of nectar that they find. if one bee got to a sugar source, they will follow. in times of dearth (no nectar flow), such as winter, beekeepers feed sugar substitutes to bees in order to keep them alive.

                                                                              the bees don't care about any nasty stuff that might be in the snow cone syrup: they will put it in the hive! sometimes, i've seen bright red nectar in our hives. no idea where it's from (no sno cone stands in our area!) but it kinda freaks me out since i don't recognize it as a natural color.

                                                                              in theory, you probably could get sno cone flavored honey - if you could get enough syrup to feed the bees! that would be some sort of GMO production at it's worst!

                                                                              1. re: TroyTempest

                                                                                There is also the possibility that they weren't honey bees, many people mistake yellow jackets and wasps for honey bees.

                                                                                1. re: Raffles

                                                                                  no they were bees