The Sweet and Savory Nature of Honey

This photo of a honeybee illustrates The Food Channels recent exploration of different flavor varieties of honey being developed with local farmers by the National Honey Board.

The Sweet and Savory Nature of Honey

Food & Drink

The Sweet and Savory Nature of Honey

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Sometimes when we do a taste testing session at The Food Channel, we have to go back for second and third bites. Such was the case when we recently tested a variety of emerging flavored honey samples.

An assortment of jars, each filled with new varietal flavors of honey being developed by the National Honey Board.

New Flavor Varietals. Photo: Kay Logsdon.

We regularly feature recipes from the National Honey Board (find links to some of our favorites at the end of this story). They also send us monthly samples of different flavor varieties they’re exploring for our experimentation.

Recently we decided to put several of these varieties to test in terms of flavor, as well as in a recipe (Raspberry Honey Brownies). How else would you compare Raspberry Honey, Orange Blossom Honey, Wildflower, and White Clover?

Why Honey, Why Now?

A worker bee deposits honey into a honeycomb.

Honeybee. Photo by @Matthew_T_Rader on Unsplash.

We were interested in this comprehensive review because honey is something we are watching closely—from threatened honeybee shortages due to dangers to the population, to new flavors and how they’re being used in recipes. We’re recently reviewed products like hot honey that change the the flavor intensity.

Here are a few other honey-related trends we continue to watch:

  • Bee Protections. Restrictions tightening on the use of insecticides that may have contributed to the decline in bees, at the same time new technology explores gene-edited bees.
  • Functional Honey. A company called Agate Smart Honey is selling CBD Honey, along with Ginger Turmeric Honey, Ginseng Honey, and other honey with functional benefits called out for pain relief and other wellness claims. This trend goes right along with one where at least one grower is working with bees to feed from marijuana plants, with the idea that they will provide a cannabis honey without the need for infusion.
  • Bee Immersion. Beekeeping is on the rise as a hobby, with classes and equipment readily available for those interested in joining the trend.

Our Taste Test Panel

With that background, we offered different flavor varietal samples from The Honey Board to our various divisions, from insights to photography.

It turns out our samplers, while they had favorites, were able to come to a consensus around the Orange Honey as their choice if they had to pick just one. Fortunately, no one has to choose just one. The Honey Board offers an online map that allows you to locate local growers from whom you can purchase a variety of products to conduct your own experimentation, from use in recipes to simply enjoying as a spread on toast or biscuits.

Honey dipper on a plate with spices and edible flowers.

Honey Dipper. Photo by Dani Rendina on Unsplash.

Here’s how they stacked up, with some of the comments.

“The orange one is delicious in hot tea!”

“They are all delicious, but the citrus is really on trend.”

“Love the substance and texture of the creamed honey. It adds a burst of flavor that is not just an add on, but an enhancer.”

“Nice complexity of flavor in the raspberry one. Has jammy notes that are full-bodied and mature.”

“The orange has a nice velvety texture with a zing, and floral notes similar to elderflower.”

“The wildflower is smooth, more mainstream—would be interesting as a savory ingredient.”

“The raspberry stood out—particularly for someone used to standard honey.”

“The white clover was the most interesting and had the most pronounced flavor, without losing the sense of actually being honey. It reminded me of honey sticks from a local mill we used to go to when I was younger.”

There you have it. From evoking memories to making to new recipes, honey is setting new trends and bringing interest to food. Try some of the recipes we’ve shared on our site to add a little more honey to your meals!

A honeybee pollinates a yellow sunflower.

Bee on a Sunflower. Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash.

Some Favorite Honey Recipes

No compensation was received for this review; honey was supplied from the National Honey Board with no obligation to do a review.

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