Understanding Types of Honey

Understanding Types of Honey – The Honey Compendium

There are so many types of honey and honey varieties it really comes as no surprise when it comes to choosing.

Allow me to help you make a choice. In fact we are always spoiled for choice as they differ in taste, color and texture. Some are best used for medicinal purposes, some for beauty and some even for just adding to your recipes or eating.

One of the strangest kinds of honey I have ever read about was in a book called “The Hive” written by the delightfully named Bee Wilson. This piece of honey was as hard as a rock! This is indeed in itself very unusual.

It was the size of a melon and found in a street in China in the Capital Chengdu by a food writer called Fushsia Dunlop. It was sold by traders who specialized in selling one offs which really means one of a kind.

Bee used to chip a chunk off each morning and added it to rice porridge but not until after she had studied it in great detail.

She asked honey experts to take a look at it and their conclusions were that it was probably fossilized in a wild honeycomb where over the years it became more compressed.

Another strange thing was the color, it was purple-grey which did nothing to destroy the strong enticing aroma filling her room as she unwrapped it. A truly unusual discovery.

Let’s take a look at the more commonly named:

Different Types of Honey

  • Comb Honey: This is honey that is still packed in the bee honeycomb which is totally edible and totally delicious.
  • Chunk Honey: This is found in jars of honey where chunks of honeycomb have been added before being sealed and sold. A beekeepers dream come true if eaten straight from the hive!
  • Crystallized Honey: This honey has can range from just a hard top layer, to being in the whole of the jar. There is nothing wrong with this and if you place the jar in some hot water it will easily return to a runny state.
  • Liquid Honey: This is what most of us expect to find when choosing our kind of honey and appears to be the type most of us buy. Certainly it is this form of honey that is more readily available. The higher the fructose content and the lower the glucose defines this type of honey. Acacia is a good example
  • Creamed or Whipped Honey: This honey has been whipped on purpose to provide a substance that spreads easily like butter. It really means it is finely crystallized throughout. This can be achieved by adding a little crystallized honey to a runnier type and beating them together.
  • Monofloral otherwise known as “Single Variety” or “Artisanal” is quite unique, it must contain more than half of one type of nectar to be given this name. Tupelo is a prime example.
  • Multi-floral is usually referred to as “Wildflower Honey”, this simply means there are a variety of nectar sources collected by honey bees making up this superb raw honey.
  • Flavoured Honey: Depending on the source of nectar collected to make honey the taste will vary considerably. You could even flavour your own with fresh ingredients.
    Try adding some grated ginger or chopped garlic and even mix with cinnamon for a flavor to die for! Adding a few fresh herbs too, but not all at the same time. Just choose something you would like to flavor your own with and it’s ready to eat or cook with.

Types of Honey for Health

Organic honey

Can only be named as so if the utmost care has been taken to harvest this honey, there are strict guidelines that must be adhered to when labeling.

This type of honey will be very carefully harvested away from any kind of pollution. I always advise people to check the ingredients which you can find on the label on each jar. It should say the name of the honey and absolutely nothing unnatural added.

Raw honey

Straight from the hive, fresh and untampered with. Always the best choice for your everyday health needs, eat some every day. Check out local beekeepers in your area or even consider becoming one yourself.

This type of honey will contain Propolis (nature’s own antibiotic) and pollen grains which are very nutritious. Many people including beekeepers use this type of honey to keep themselves fit and well and often produce a different flavour each year. But it is the best to eat!

Types of Honey for Medical Use

Manuka is hugely popular and definitely the one we have all heard or read about. But it is not alone now in its claims. Scientists are now studying the antibacterial properties of honey, they have made some exciting discoveries and there are now a few more with huge medical benefits such as Jarrah, Medihoney, Lifemel and Ulmo.

Types of Honey for Cooking and Baking

Most honey can be used for cooking and baking. It is a superb and healthy sugar substitute providing essential health ingredients, something sugar and artificial sweeteners cannot claim to have.

Darker honeys are brilliant as a substitute for dark treacle or molasses. Wonderful for heavier cakes such as rich dark fruit cake.

San Diego Honey Company

Lighter and runnier honeys are very versatile, perhaps for making:

  • A delicious honey ice-cream
  • Dribbling over food such as breakfast cereal and fruit
  • Simply spreading on toast or adding to your tea
  • Try adding to home-made soups, dips and marinades
  • Or as a glaze over meat, vegetable and fish dishes
  • Adding to a refreshing cup of tea or simply warm water and lemon as a powerful energy boost.

There are simply wonderful flavors and textures to be found in all kinds of honey. Some of which you will prefer to others. Although I have my doubts you will ever be lucky enough to come across another type of honey which is “As Hard as a Rock” But then never say never!

If you have a honey market near you this is one way of finding your favorite. There is always a honey tasting session but I promise you as you taste each one it becomes harder to choose a favorite!

Types of Honey for Beauty

Beauty and honey certainly go hand in hand with many named and famous “honey beauties” over the centuries. If you were to ask a beekeeper which honey is best for using in your beauty régime, he or she will tell you theirs is. And who’s to say it’s not!

The beauty and cosmetic industry certainly place great emphasis in the inclusion of honey in many if not most of their products.

Certainly there are types of honey which are amazing in their healing ability at clearing up an many types of skin infections which include acne, the curse of millions.

The most popular of these products which have been turned into multi-billion sellers are Manuka based and Burts Bees products.

Although these do appear to be the best sellers, other beauty based companies do add the magical words “contains honey”.

Shampoos and hair conditioners often state their products contain “honey nectar” which is a little mis-leading as nectar is collected by honey bees with which they make their honey!

Please take a little time and care when choosing your types of honey, do not buy cheap nasty substitutes, these will give you no benefit whatsoever.