Honey is made throughout the world. Color and taste vary greatly depending on the source of the nectar and the place where the honey is produced. Some honeys are almost colorless, while others are a deep, rich brown. Generally speaking, the lighter honeys have a delicate floral flavor while the darker varieties have a more mellow quality. While many types of honey are widely available in stores, most commercial honeys, especially those kinds produced in large quantities, are blended to create a unique and consistent taste and color, and are pasteurized by heating to 160 degrees F. This also prevents crystals from forming.
Acacia honey is pale yellow with a delicate taste. China is the major supplier but it is also produced in California.
Alfalfa honey is produced throughout North America. It is light in color and has a delicate taste.
Basswood honey, characterized by its distinctive "biting" flavor, is the exception to the rule that color is an indication of the intensity of the taste. This honey is almost colorless but has a strong aroma and tang.
Buckwheat honey is dark and full-bodied. It is produced in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and eastern Canada, but has recently declined in popularity.
Clover honey has the mild, sweet taste we consider typical of honey. Clovers have contributed more to honey produc-tion in the United States than any other group of plants. White, yellow, and Alsike clovers are the most important for honey production. Depending on the clover's location and type, the honey may vary from almost clear to light amber in color.
Eucalyptus honey can come from any of many hundreds of species and hybrids, so the honey varies greatly in color and flavor; it almost always has a tang of eucalyptus. Australia is the major supplier.
Fireweed honey is light-colored; it comes from the showy purple spikes of the perennial herb that grows wild in open woodlands and marshy spots.
Orange blossom honey often comes from a combination of citrus sources. It is usually light-colored, with a delicate flavor and a fresh scent reminiscent of the blossom. It is produced in Florida, and the southern counties of California and Texas.
Sage honey comes from any of several varieties of sage, but the chief source is the sagebrush of California. It is white, with a mild, delicate flavor.
Sourwood honey's source is a small to medium-sized tree that grows prolifically in the southern Appalachians, from southern Pennsylvania into northern Georgia. The honey is light-colored and has a fine, mild flavor.
Tulip poplar or tulip-tree honey has a less assertive flavor than one would expect from its dark amber color. It is produced from southern New England west to southern Michigan, and south to the Gulf States.
Tupelo honey is produced in the southeastern states: it is light-colored and has a mild but distinctive flavor.
Wildflower honey is a flavorful, versatile honey gathered from a variety of wildflowers and flowering trees and shrubs. It is usually quite dark, with a pleasingly bold flavor.