Honey is known to be a natural sweetener and the predecessor of sugar. Many people prefer honey as their sweetener because of its taste and texture. Aside from that, it is also much healthier compared to other sweeteners. But did you know that there are different types of honey?
If you are looking for the best honey, you will find that the market is flooded with a wide variety of honey. In fact, over 300 types of honey exist in the present time, and each of them boasts of a special set of health and nutritional benefits. Honey can be categorized as raw or processed. Raw honey is more natural, and it is purer compared to processed ones. On the other hand, processed honey is heated and bottled in a factory, resulting in the loss of vitamins and other essential nutrients.
Some Common Forms of Honey
Aside from raw or processed honey, there are several forms in which you can find honey. It is best to know about them if you ever come across them.
Honeycomb is the purest form of honey, stored as it is fetched from the honeycomb. This form of honey is the richest in healthy fatty acids and antioxidants. The nutrients in this form of honey help decrease LDL and increase HDL levels.
The healthy golden liquid that oozes out when you cut open the wax of the honeycomb is the liquid honey. It is the most common form of honey we are all familiar with.
When liquid honey is passed through an industrial process of drying out to make granules, it is called granulated honey. It is used in cosmetics and various other recipes.
Creamed honey is a form of processed honey in which crystallization in honey is controlled. Another name for this form of honey is honey fondant. Having a smooth consistency, this form of honey is usually used for spreading over toasts or muffins.
Chunk honey is a small honeycomb with liquid honey dripping from it.
Types of Honey
1. Buckwheat Honey
Buckwheat honey is primarily produced in the Northern States of America, such as New York and Ohio. It is a strong type of honey having a dark brown color. Connoisseurs love this full-bodied honey and consider it the most appropriate choice for meat marinades that provide the yummiest savory dishes ever.
Buckwheat honey has very high amounts of antioxidants, which is why it has strong antibacterial power. It is also quite effective in treating severe coughs and sore throats. Consuming buckwheat honey is also beneficial for decreasing cholesterol levels and soothing skin wounds.
2. Sourwood Honey
Sourwood honey is obtained from the trees of Southeast and Midwestern states of the USA. Unlike its name, sourwood honey yields a sweet taste with a mildly spicy flavor. Some people term its taste as buttery or caramel-like. Eating this honey leaves a good aftertaste. Moreover, sourwood honey has a naturally beautiful amber color. It complements crunchy toasts or freshly baked English muffins.
3. Manuka Honey
Manuka honey is from the bees that feed on the flowers of the Manuka bush in New Zealand. This type of honey contains high concentrations of methylglyoxal or MGO, and dihydroxyacetone, both of which may account for its antibacterial properties. This means that when you apply Manuka honey on wounds, it can help stimulate the formation of new blood cells and promote the growth of fibroblast and epithelial cells.
Manuka honey has potential wound-healing activity. Aside from that, it is also rich in vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6. It also contains amino acids lysine, proline, arginine, tyrosine, and minerals, such as copper, potassium, calcium, sodium, magnesium, and zinc.
4. Clover Honey
Clover honey comes from the Trifolium species, and it is one of the safest dietary antibacterial agents you can get. This type of honey does not contain methylglyoxal, unlike Manuka honey, and it does not need hydrogen peroxide for its antibacterial effect. This means that Clover honey is not a broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent. Along with the bee-derived antimicrobial peptides, Clover honey has unique phenolic compounds. These are responsible for their specific antioxidant and antimicrobial activity against Pseudomonas, Bacillus, and Staphylococcus species.
5. Lavender Honey
Lavender honey is known to be rich in phenolic compounds, sugars, amino acids, and essential enzymes. It also has potent antifungal properties that can be used against Candida species. Even though lavender honey is not as high as Manuka honey, it also possesses antioxidant capacity due to its vitamin C, flavonoids, and catalase. You can use lavender honey to treat ulcers and other fungal infections on the skin.
6. Alfalfa Honey
Alfalfa honey comes from the alfalfa flowers, and it is famous for its prebiotic effects. This type of honey has fructooligosaccharides that promote intestinal bacteria and improve digestion. If you take in alfalfa honey regularly, it can help treat diabetes, fever, and anemia. It is also best paired with warm waffles, cheese, yogurt, and cookies for an ultimate sweet treat.
7. Acacia Honey
Acacia honey is a liquid glass-like type of honey that is pale in color. It is produced by bees that feed on Acacia flowers. This type of honey contains vitamins A, C, and E, as well as flavonoids, essential fatty acids, and amino acids. It contains hepatoprotective and nephroprotective effects for the liver and kidney. Based on studies, acacia honey also has effective healing properties in corneal or eye injuries. This type of honey has anti-inflammatory, anticancer, DNA protective, and antioxidant properties.
8. Avocado Honey
Avocado honey does not taste like the actual fruit, but it is extracted from the California avocado blossoms. It is dark-colored honey that is rich and buttery in flavor. It is one of the best types of honey you can use for making tasty salad dressing or condiments when mixed with other ingredients.
9. Macadamia Honey
Macadamia honey was first extracted from the floral nectar of the Macadamia Nut tree in Australia. This type of honey has a deep color, a complex aroma, and a subtle nutty flavor. Macadamia honey is a perfect addition to salads, ice creams, and toasts. Aside from that, you can also use it as a marinade for grilled chicken wings.
10. Orange Blossom Honey
Orange blossom honey is usually a combination of citrus sources. Most are light in color and mild in flavor with a fresh fruity scent. It also has a fragrant, citrusy taste. Orange Blossom honey is originally from Spain and Mexico. But today, this type of honey is being produced in a lot of countries, including Texas, Florida, and Southern California.
11. Leatherwood Honey
Leatherwood honey hails from the Leatherwood blossom in the southwest region of Tasmania, Australia. This type of honey is known for its strong flavor and unique taste. Aside from Leatherwood honey, it is also called Tasmanian honey. This type has established itself as an irreplaceable ingredient. It is not only used to sweeten but as well as to add flavor to cakes, coffee, tea, and muffins.
12. Basswood Honey
Basswood honey is famous for its distinctive white color, biting taste, and exceptional malleability quality, making it easy to pair with any food item. This type of honey comes from the cream-colored Basswood blossoms found in North America. It tastes incredibly well with different kinds of teas, and it is perfect for salad dressings and marinades.
13. Sage Honey
Sage honey is a light-colored type of honey that is heavy-bodied. It is usually produced in California. This type of honey is packed with a property to granulate very slowly. It is commonly used to blend with other types of honey to slow down the granulation process.
14. Tupelo Honey
Tupelo honey is a premium type of honey, and it is also known as the “Southern Gold.” It is produced in the Southeastern United States swamps. This type of honey is usually light golden or amber in color. It has a faint greenish glow and a mild and distinctive taste. Tupelo honey is one of the sweetest among the different types of honey. This is due to its high fructose content and its ability to not granulate like the other types of honey.
15. Linden Honey
Linden honey has a very delicate and fresh woody scent and is light yellow in color. It is extracted from the Linden tree and is mostly produced in Denmark. It is one of the most medicinally rich types of honey. It has sedative properties that help when it comes to treating anxiety and insomnia. Aside from that, this type of honey is also used to treat cough, cold, and even bronchitis.
16. Eucalyptus Honey
Eucalyptus honey is originally from Australia but is now widely extracted in California. It is another great medicinal type of honey. It is used by a lot of people in different countries as a protection against headaches and colds. Eucalyptus has extensive availability. That’s why Eucalyptus honey may differ in taste and flavor. But all of them carry a characteristic herbal flavor and a slight menthol aftertaste.
17. Aster Honeys
Aster honey is light-colored honey extracted from the Mid-South region of the US. This type of honey has a thick and smooth consistency, which goes together with its distinctively sweet smell. However, this type of honey tends to crystallize faster than other honey types. It is best used as a natural sweetener in different sweet drinks and desserts.
Nutritional Profile of Honey
According to the USDA, 1 tablespoon (about 20g) of pure honey bee entails the following nutrients, vitamins, and minerals:
|Fiber||0 grams (trace amounts)|
|Riboflavin||Approximately 1% of the Daily Value (DV) recommendation|
|Copper||About 1% of the DV|
|Protein||0.08 grams (trace amounts)|
Other essential nutrients found in honey include the following in minimal quantities:
- Vitamin B
These are the different types of honey you can find in the market today. With these types, you can see that each of them has a specialty. And it is great to know that you can use honey not just as a natural sweetener but also to dress your wounds, cure colds and coughs, and boost the antioxidant levels in your body. Which of these types of honey do you want to try?
Also, if you want to buy various types of honey, you should also go ahead and buy a honey dipper for the best experience.