Helpful hints for choosing a honey
Written by Chelsea Tromans
Spread it on toast, stir it through a cup of chamomile tea, or drizzle it over porridge, honey is a delicious natural sweetener. While you may have a distinct memory of what honey looked like and tasted like as a kid, these days we are spoilt for choices in the honey aisle of the supermarket and at our local farmers market.
Varying in colour from a light gold to a deep bronze hue, and tasting vastly different depending on the shade, viscosity and variety you choose, honey has become a spread for connoisseurs who know what to look for.
If you’re struggling to navigate the tremendous amount of honey options, this guide will help you make sense of the sweet nectar the next time you shop:
How honey gets its colour
Honey varies considerably in colour. Even if you buy the exact same honey every time you may notice a slight difference in its colour. This is because a honey’s colour depends on the source that the bees who made the honey are visiting, and since the nectar gathered by bees can vary depending on the season and the flowers it is collected from, the final result may alter.
When it comes to colour and flavour, as a general rule, lighter-coloured honeys have a milder taste while the darker the honey’s colour, the bolder the flavour.
Finding your flavour match
Like wine, different honeys match different foods better than others. The flavour of honey can vary considerably depending on what goes into the honey - i.e. where the bees source their nectar from. You can - and should - opt for different ones depending on which flavour profile you’re in the mood for. Dark honeys are stronger in flavour and less sweet, so they work best with red meat dishes. Light in colour and light in flavour, pale honeys are sweeter so use them in dressings, marinades and baking.
How is Manuka honey different from other varieties?
honey is a prized commodity in the honey world. Why? Because according to Bee+, Manuka trees are unique to Australia and New Zealand and take five years to grow into a tree that flowers. The honey is made by bees that pollinate NZ’s native Manuka flower - a scarce and natural resource which comes from a single flower that is taken from the tree once a year. Plus, the nectar content of each flower is very limited, making this ingredient even more precious.
If you’re wondering how does Manuka honey taste, it has a full-bodied flavour that is slightly earthy and has a creamy mouth-feel. Because of its richness it should be used sparingly. Keen to try a high-quality Manuka honey and taste the difference? We recommend Bee+ Manuka Honey UMF20+.
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