It will be too strange for any honey fan to not know at least some different honey varieties and understand their characteristics so as to be able to cleverly use and apply them in different foods. Here are some that I recommend you to start with (not in order of my preference but in alphabetical order):
Acacia is made from nectar collected from Acacia tree blossoms which produce a honey that is remarkably clear and pure. It is one of the most popular and sweetest honey varieties because of its mild delicate floral taste. It can remain in a liquid state for a long period of time due to its high concentration of fructose. Because of its low sucrose content, it is the best choice for diabetics. Known for its therapeutic action, Acacia cleanses the liver, regulates the intestine, and is anti-inflammatory for the respiratory system. This honey is excellent for sweetening without altering the taste or the aroma of beverages. Its sweetness perfectly balances the salty tang of the cheese. Kids love this honey.
Alfalfa honey, produced extensively throughout Canada and the United States from the purple or blue blossoms, is light in color with a subtle spicy profile and mildly scented floral aroma. Its delicate nature doesn’t overpower other flavors making it a favourite choice for chefs for their baked foods and a fine table honey for tea lovers. Not as sweet as most honey, it is a preferred choice for combining with other ingredients or straight from the jar.
Its name is a misnomer. Avocado honey tastes nothing like the fruit, avocado. Collected from the California avocado blossoms, avocado honey is dark in color and has a fairly rich and buttery flavour. This honey originated in Southern Mexico and is now a common crop in Central America, Australia and other tropical regions.
Produced from the cream-colored Basswood blossoms found throughout North America, Basswood honey is one of the few exceptional honey varieties that has a light color and yet strong biting flavour and a distinctive lingering flavour. It’s somewhat fresh, pleasant “woody” scent is very good with teas like Earl Grey and works well for salad dressings and marinades.
Produced in New England and in Michigan, Blueberry honey is taken from the tiny white flowers of the blueberry bush. It is typically light amber in color, has a pleasant flavor, a slight tang, and a blueberry aftertaste. A good table honey.
Now unusual and hard to find, Buckwheat honey is produced in Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin as well as in eastern Canada. It is dark, full-bodied, and rich in iron, and popular with honey lovers. Buckwheat honey has been found to contain more antioxidant compounds than some lighter honeys. It is perhaps the strongest and darkest of honey varieties. Most experts recommend using a strong-tasting type of honey, such as buckwheat for mead production, since the honey is diluted.
Originating from Canada and New Zealand, Clover honey is one of the most widely available and popular honey varieties. White clover in particular is grown as a widespread blooming pasture crop and is a major nectar source in many parts of the world. This honey has a pleasingly mild sweet, yet rounded taste which is perfect for light sauces and dressings and baking. Depending on the location and source, clover honey varies in color from water white to light amber to amber.
Eucalyptus honey comes from one of the larger plant genera, containing over 500 distinct species and many hybrids. Its country of origin is Australia but produced largely in California. Widely available, it varies greatly in color and flavor but tends to have a special herbal flavor which carries a hint of menthol. This honey is recommended by many people as a protection against colds, and also, as an ingredient to liven up your tea.
One of the most popular honeys, Fireweed is light in color and comes from a tall perennial herb grown in the open woods of North West US. It has an extraordinary smooth, delicate, sweet and buttery taste which is great for gourmet cooking, baking, glazing, BBQ grilling, meat & fish smoking.
Thick, amber in color, Heather honey has one of the strongest and most pungent flavors. It is fragrant and floral with a very lingering aftertaste that is almost bitter. It is commonly served with ham, chicken, lamb, seafood and cold dishes and goes well with strong, black coffee.Prized since ancient times due to its medicinal properties, Heather honey is extremely high in protein content.
Leatherwood honey comes from the leatherwood blossom — a native eucalypt found in the south-west of Tasmania, Australia and is the source for 70% of the country’s honey. Established worldwide as a distinct honey type and a fine gourmet product, Leatherwood honey has a unique taste and strong floral flavour. Its distinctive spicy flavour makes it an excellent spread on wheat toast, and an ideal ingredient in recipes as it not only sweetens but adds a fantastic aroma to cakes, muffins, coffee and tea.
Found only in New Zealand’s costal areas, Manuka honey is collected from the flower of the Tea Tree bush. The Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) found in some Manuka honey is an antibacterial property which is especially effective for healing of sore throats, colds, indigestion, stomach ulcer, acne and pimples. The taste of Manuka honey also goes well with tea or toast with or without butter!
Orange blossom honey, often a combination of citrus sources, is usually light in color and mild in flavor with a fresh fruity scent, and a fragrant citrus taste. Orange blossom honey originated from Spain/ Mexico but is produced in many countries including Florida, Southern California and Texas.
Full bodied and malty, Rewarewa honey comes from a bright red needle-like flowers grown in the bushy hills and valleys of New Zealand. This classic dark red premium honey possesses a caramel-like and slightly burnt flavour that makes it popular natural sweetener for hot drinks and a spread. It is ideal for both sweet and savoury dishes and is well-known for use in oriental dishes.
Pine Tree honey (sometimes also known as forest honey, fir honey, honeydew or tea tree honey) consists of the majority of the total honey production in Greece. It is not particularly sweet, tastes a little bitter, has a strong aroma, and is relatively rich in minerals and proteins and has how calories. It is rather resistant to crystallization.
Contrary to its name, Sourwood honey is not sour, but sweet like any honey. This light-colored, delicate, subtle honey has an almost caramel or buttery flavor, and a pleasant, lingering aftertaste. With this honey, you don’t need any more butter on your biscuits or bread!
Sage honey, primarily produced in California, is light in color, heavy bodied and has a mild but delightful flavor. It is extremely slow to granulate, making it a favorite among honey packers for blending with other honeys to slow down granulation.
Originating from the creamy white flowers of New Zealand’s Tawari trees, this honey has a golden color and a creamy butterscotch flavour. So subtle and mild, it’s a perfect chef choice for topping desserts such as pancakes, waffles or ice-cream.
Clear yellow in color, with a characteristic greenish glow, Tupelo honey is a premium honey produced in northwest Florida. It is heavy bodied and is usually light golden amber with a greenish cast and has a mild, distinctive taste. Because of the high fructose content, Tupelo honey is one of the sweetest honey varieties and it hardly granulates.
Also known as “multifloral” or “mixed floral” honey, Wildflower is often used to describe honey varieties from miscellaneous and undefined flower sources. Its colour can vary from very light to dark and flavor range from light and fruity to tangy and rich, depending on the mix from the different seasonal wildflowers.