Monofloral honey

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Monofloral honey is a type of honey which is valued because it has a distinctive flavor or other attribute due to its being predominantly from the nectar of one plant species.[1]

While there may never be an absolute monofloral type, some honeys are relatively pure due to the prodigious nectar production of a particular species, such as citrus (Orange blossom honey), or there may be little else in bloom at the time.

Beekeepers learn the predominant nectar sources of their region, and often plan harvests to keep especially fine ones separate. For example, in the southern Appalachians, sourwood honey, from a small tree that blooms late in the season, is highly regarded. Beekeepers try to remove the previously produced dark and strong flavored tulip poplar honey, just before the sourwood bloom, so the lighter sourwood is not contaminated. During sourwood bloom, there is little else for the bees to forage.

Monofloral honeys are also kept in separate tanks and labeled separately so as to command a premium price.

Some types of monofloral honey[edit]

Common name Origin [note 1] Characteristics & Availability[2] Color
(False) Acacia Eastern North America and Europe. The main producers are Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania but it is also found in Canada, China, France and Italy. Acacia honey is actually from a false acacia, Robinia pseudoacacia, commonly known as black locust, a tree native to eastern North America and widely planted in Europe. The honey in the US is sometimes labeled "American Acacia". It has a lower acid content than other honeys. Its high fructose content means that it can stay liquid for a long time. Ranges from light yellow to almost colorless.
Alfalfa Does not commonly come on the market as a monofloral. White
Apple blossom United Kingdom
Avocado Dark amber
Basswood/Lime (linden) blossom (Tilia) Ukraine, Russia, China, Hungary, Poland and the United Kingdom. Mildly spicy Water-white or pale, although its coloring depends on the time of collection.
Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) Canada, China, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, Russia, United States Buckwheat was an important crop in the US from about 1930 to the 1960s, which has since faded from use, and buckwheat honey has become scarce in the US. A wild buckwheat Polygonum cuspidatum from a close kin that has become established in the US is naturally more mild than the familiar buckwheat, and sometimes is used to blend with buckwheat, or sold separately as a monofloral called "bamboo." A recent study has shown buckwheat honey to be more effective than over-the-counter cough syrup at treating childhood cough. It has a strong, distinctive taste and it is often compared to molasses in both color and viscosity.[3] Very dark amber
Carrot United States Carrot honey has a dark amber color with an aroma reminiscent of chocolate. The taste is strong with a bite to it—a sharp spike in an otherwise earthy, caramel flavor. There is also a “grassy” aftertaste, something close to meadow honey. This honey's taste is different from other honeys. It shines through when used in recipes. Carrot honey is obtained when carrot plants run to seed, this happens usually on specialist seed-breeding farms, or when bees collect nectar from wild carrots
Cherry blossom United Kingdom
Chestnut Italy A dark honey with one of the highest mineral contents of all honeys.[4][5] Yellowish-brown
Chinese tallow tree Southeastern US Tallow trees produce a very heavy honey flow around May 15th in the Southeastern states into Texas. Honey is dark with a tangy taste. Considered a nuisance and an invasive. Dark amber
Clover Canada, United States, Sweden and New Zealand. Genuine monofloral clover is rare, as most light, mild-flavored honeys are mixed and called clover for the retail trade. Generally has a waxy aftertaste. White to pale
Eucalyptus Common in Australia, in Western Cape in South Africa, and in Brazil. Monofloral Eucalypt honeys include Jarrah,[6] Yellow Box, Grey box, Blue Gum, River Red Gum, Ironbark, Stringybark and Messmate. (Tasmanian Leatherwood honey is considered a delicacy, but is not a Eucalypt honey) Light amber to medium-dark red
Fireweed Northwestern US, Western Canada Fireweed honey is produced in great quantities in some areas of western Canada and northwestern US and is considered a premium monofloral.[7] Amber
Fynbos Western Cape in South Africa Fynbos honey is produced in great quantities in some areas of Western Cape in South Africa. It comes from several species of "fynbos" found in the Cape Floral Kingdom. It is considered a premium honey with a strong spicy taste. Amber
Gallberry Southeastern United States Has a rich but not overpowering flavor and is produced almost exclusively in the coastal Southeast. Very dark amber
Goldenrod (genus Solidago) With acid soil, adequate moisture and good foraging weather during the autumn bloom, bees can make large quantities of honey from it. Much of it is sold for bakery use, but in some areas it has become a favored monofloral honey. Has a curious, distinctive and powerful smell, that has been described by some 'like caramel and milk is mixed into the honey', a spicy smell. Others suggest a faint licorice aroma. There is a peculiar discrepancy between the smell and its taste, and between varieties. The taste has been variously described as: 'a bit of a bite', 'a butterscotch-like flavor', 'similar to dandelion honey'. Amber
Hawthorn United Kingdom
Common Heather, Ling Mainly from moorland in the United Kingdom
Jarrah Jarrah(Eucalyptus marginata) is a native tree unique to Western Australia (WA).
Jujube, or Yemen Sidr[8][9] Yemen, Pakistan Traditional honey with reputed health benefits. Found in the desert areas of Yemen, Pakistan's potohar region Sidr trees are also known as Jujube, or Ziziphus zizyphus. Yellowish-brown
Kamahi New Zealand The creamy colored flowers of this common tree are very attractive to bees. Light amber
Kiawe
Lavender[10] Produced mainly in France and Spain Woody, floral Light yellow
Leatherwood (Eucryphia lucida) Tasmania A strong floral aroma, with very strong distinctive taste. Dark amber
Lehua Hawaii Lehua Honey is made from the lehua (blossoms) of the ʻōhiʻa lehua (Metrosideros polymorpha), and is probably the rarest Hawaiian Honey. It is liquid when harvested from the hives but turns into a creamy, sturdy honey after a couple of weeks.
Macadamia Dark amber
Manuka New Zealand and Australia Manuka honey is from bees who feed on the flowers of the Manuka bush, also known as the "Tea Tree" to produce a honey that has anti-bacterial properties. Tea tree oil is commonly from the related Melaleuca tree native to Australia and is used as a topical antibiotic and antifungal for wounds that fail to close.[11][12]
Mesquite Southwestern U.S. The mesquite tree is prized for its sweet-smoky smelling wood, primarily used in barbecues and meat smokers. The honey produced from its flowers also has this distinctive smoky aroma. Dark brown and viscous. Remains semi-crystalline even in hot weather.
Nodding thistle, or Musk thistle (Carduus nutans) Worldwide Considered a noxious weed in many areas of the world, but produces a good honey.[13] Light amber
Orange blossom France, Mexico, Brazil and Spain; United States (Arizona, California, Texas, and Florida) Is actually made from mixed citrus nectars. It is a thick, very sweet honey. Strong aroma. Light amber to white, the lighter color and milder flavor coming in years when there is a large harvest and the honey is little contaminated by other nectars.
Tulip tree, or Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) Southern Appalachia, US Tulip tree is actually not a poplar, but the honey called "poplar" is a favorite regional monofloral honey. Dark amber or black, when held to the light may appear reddish.
Raspberry US Available in some areas where raspberries are grown commercially.
Rata (Southern rātā, Metrosideros umbellata) New Zealand One of several species of Metrosideros but is the one that most regularly produces a honey crop, though sometimes it is in short supply. Very white when pure
Rewarewa[14][15] New Zealand The honey flavor is malty. Rewarewa, Knightia excelsa, was called New Zealand Honeysuckle tree. Reddish amber
Rosemary France, Italy and Spain
Saguaro Southwest US and Northwest Mexico Tends to crystallize and be somewhat chunky. Not good for use in tea. Ranges from light yellow to dark yellow/brown.
Sage (Salvia) Sage honey almost never crystallizes.
Sourwood Southeast US, especially Appalachia Thin and complex, tasting almost like clover honey initially, with a characteristic faint sour aftertaste. Straw colored.
Star Thistle (Centaurea solstitialis) US, California Thick and simple tasting honey. It has no aftertaste and is considered a milder version of clover honey in taste. Light golden yellow
Sunflower France and Spain Because sunflower honey crystallizes quickly, becoming soft and easy to spread, it is often consumed in its crystallized state. Pale yellow
Tawari New Zealand "The nectar is copious and very watery producing a prolific honey crop... often with a high final moisture content... [and high] fructose."[16] Ixerba brexioides. Light
Wild thyme New Zealand, Greece. Thyme honey is the most popular honey produced in Greece. Thyme continues to flourish today in New Zealand's Central Otago. Dark amber
Tupelo Southeastern US Made from trees of the genus Nyssa which are native to wetlands of southeastern USA. In many areas the forests have been cut over, greatly reducing the supply of the honey. It is favored for some uses because it is very slow to granulate. Northern Florida is a major producer. Honey that is certified by laboratory analysis as purely tupelo brings a premium price.
Ulmo (Eucryphia cordifolia) Chile Taste and aroma of aniseed, jasmine, vanilla and cloves, with a touch of tea and caramel. Compared to Manuka Honey as a medicinal. Amber
Viper's Bugloss New Zealand This wild flower covers the hills of central South Island during summer months. The seed was once used as a treatment for snakebite, which gives the plant its name.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Monofloral honey types", Bee-info.com. (in German)
  2. ^ "Main European unifloral honeys: descriptive sheets", Apidologie 35 (2004) S38–S81 (PDF).
  3. ^ "Honey: A Better Option For Childhood Cough Than Over The Counter Medications", Science Daily.
  4. ^ Conti, M.E.Lazio region (central Italy) honeys: a survey of mineral content and typical quality parameters (2000) Food Control, 11 (6), pp. 459-463.
  5. ^ González-Miret, Maria Lourdes et all Multivariate Correlation between Color and Mineral Composition of Honeys and by Their Botanical Origin J. Agric. Food Chem., 2005, 53 (7), pp 2574–2580 doi:10.1021/jf048207p Publication Date (Web): February 26, 2005
  6. ^ "WA Country Hour - 23/03/2004: Jarrah honey has healing powers". Abc.net.au. 2004-03-23. Retrieved 2010-09-10. 
  7. ^ Corleone, Jill. "Difference in Nutritional Value of Fireweed Honey and Wildflower Honey". livestrong.org. Retrieved December 20, 2011. 
  8. ^ Giovanni Canova (2001). "Traditional Beekeeping in Eastern Yemen". Yemen Update 43. Retrieved 2010-06-05. 
  9. ^ "Yemeni Sidr Honey Is Beneficial for Sinus Problems". Retrieved 2010-06-05. 
  10. ^ See the section spelled "Lavander" in "Main European unifloral honeys: descriptive sheets", Apidologie 35 (2004) S38–S81 (PDF).
  11. ^ Khan FR, Ul Abadin Z, Rauf N (2007). "Honey: nutritional and medicinal value". Int J Clin Practyear=2007 61 (10): 1705–7. doi:10.1111/j.1742-1241.2007.01417.x. PMID 17877657. 
  12. ^ "Derma Sciences Medihoney Primary Dressings with Active Manuka Honey" (PDF). 
  13. ^ "Nodding Thistle". Airborne.co.nz. Retrieved 2010-09-10. 
  14. ^ "Rewarewa". Airborne.co.nz. Retrieved 2010-09-10. 
  15. ^ "Mono Floral Honeys". Honeyland.co.nz. Retrieved 2010-09-10. 
  16. ^ "Tawari". Airborne.co.nz. Retrieved 2010-09-10. 
  1. ^ The range of the origin plant is wider than stated, usually worldwide. There may also be local concentrations in any part of the world, meaning the monofloral honey can be produced outside the stated countries of origin

External links[edit]