BETSIE VAN DER MEER/GETTY IMAGES
Everyone knows honey comes from bees: They pollinate flowers by drinking the nectar and bringing it back to their hive where all the magic happens. However, if you were under the impression that all honey is the same, well, we’ve got a thing or two to teach you. Let’s begin with the charming little honey bear you might have in your kitchen right now. There’s nothing wrong with that pantry staple, per se, it’s just that commercial honey is a far cry from the raw and unfiltered type you can score at your local farmer’s market, in terms of health benefits and flavor alike.
The reason for this is that commercial honey is ultra-processed—and as nice as it is to have a shelf-stable bottle of honey you can squeeze into your tea with ease, the processing method involves filtering out the nutrients and pollen responsible for giving different types of honey their own unique profile. In other words, a lot gets lost in the process. As such, those who’ve never ventured into the world of raw, unfiltered honey, might be surprised to learn that you can truly taste the difference between different varieties of the stuff, depending on the source from which the nectar was collected. Now that we’ve piqued your curiosity, read on for a guide to some of the most palate-pleasing types of honey around.
- Clover honey
Although it hails from New Zealand and Canada, there’s a good chance you are familiar with clover honey, as it’s the most popular type of honey harvested and consumed across North America. Yep, wherever you find clovers growing (i.e., every patch of grass in the spring and summer), you can be assured that bees are nearby, collecting nectar and creating this sweet amber-colored honey, characterized by its floral notes and ever-so-subtle sour aftertaste. Clover honey is light and mild enough to enjoy in a host of different ways—and by all means you should, ‘cause this type of honey has strong antioxidant properties, as well as health-boosting flavanols and phenolic acids that are believed to support the heart, lungs and nervous system.
- Wildflower honey
As the name suggests, wildflowers are the source of this type of honey—and since wildflowers run the gamut, so does the taste and intensity of this type of honey. Pro tip: Sample wildflower honey whenever possible before you buy it, as the flavor is significantly affected by the specific type of flower the bees have been cozying up with. That said, wildflower honey is typically on the lighter side, with a rich and often fruity flavor. Wildflower honey, like all types of honey, is loaded with antioxidants and some say it can reduce seasonal allergies, too (although the science behind this claim is mixed).
- Dandelion honey
Dandelion honey is relatively hard to come by—but if you get your hands on it, you’re in for a treat. Hint: Your best bet is to score some at a farmer’s market or straight from a beekeeper early in the season when it’s usually harvested. This kind of honey boasts a darker amber color and more intense profile than clover honey. Dip into some dandelion honey and you can expect a somewhat grainy texture, due to its tendency to crystallize, and a pronounced floral flavor that’s tart on the finish.
- Orange blossom honey
Orange blossom honey is a light honey that’s particularly popular in Spain and Mexico where it originated, but is fairly easy to find in the U.S. as it is also harvested in warm regions of the country like Florida and California (i.e., places where citrus is grown). This type of honey is soft and delicate with a subtle fruity citrus flavor. That said, the key word here is subtle: If you encounter orange blossom honey that hits you harder than the fragrance counter at a department store, there’s a good chance you’ve sniffed out an imposter.
- Linden honey
The blossoms of the linden tree are known for their sweet and verdant fragrance; they’re also the source of linden honey—a popular type of honey harvested throughout Europe. Pale yellow in color and equally mild-tasting, linden honey has a sweet, bright and subtly herbaceous flavor that’s downright swoonworthy. It’s also worth noting that linden blossoms contain plant compounds with mild sedative properties that may reduce anxiety. In other words, this honey pairs well with rest, relaxation and bedtime.
- Acacia honey
The name here is rather deceiving, given that acacia honey comes not from the acacia tree, but rather the black locust tree, which is native to North America and Europe. That’s just a technicality, though—the most important thing to know about acacia honey is that it boasts an oh-so sweet, unadulterated honey flavor with floral notes that are just barely there. Acacia honey is light amber in color and very slow to crystallize, meaning it stays in liquid form longer than most other types of honey. It also shares all the usual health benefits associated with honey, plus one—namely, strong antibacterial properties that make it useful in treating or preventing skin conditions such as acne.
- Manuka honey
- Tupelo honey
- Buckwheat honey
- Sage honey
- Eucalyptus honey
- Sourwood honey
To learn about the other 6 Honeys, go to.