There are more than 300 types of nectar sources collected by bees worldwide. Bees collect these nectars from this entire source can make honey of more than 300 different varieties.
Each variety has its own texture, taste, color and flavor depending upon the region, floral source and even treatment. Honey can be classified on the basis of country, region, processing, treatment, certification, filtration, healing properties, color, taste, flavor etc. Honey classified on the basis of country is labeled after the name of the country of origin such as Australian, New Zealand, American, British, and Hungarian etc.
It can be also classified on the basis of color such as amber, light, dark, yellow, gold and so on. If classified on the basis of floral source, it may bear the names like mono-floral, polyfloral, acacia, alfalfa, rosemary etc. Yet, another classification could be on the basis of form such as liquid, solid, set and crystallized.
Most people only know honey to be either liquid or set, while others dig a bit deeper to experiment the taste. I am a lover of honey and always love to see the rich tasting and health experience each variety I can grab. In this post I have mentioned the most popular and widely known varieties and types of honey with brief and to the point description of each type.
1. Blossom Honey
It is also called nectar honey. It is comes either from the flower nectarines or a sweet substance called nectar. This sweet substance is secreted by the plant glands.
2. Honeydew Honey
This is also sometimes referred to as forest honey. It comes from the excretions of the insects which suck the sap of the plant. It is very strong flavored and normally dark. Other names for honeydew honey are tree honey, forest honey, fir honey, pine honey, oak honey and so on. Most people do not like it and prefer blossom honey. However, its lovers love it and consider it even better than the blossom honey. It is rich in minerals nutrients.
3. Mono floral
This is the honey which comes from one single variety of flowers. This, however, does not mean that such honey does not contain anything from other floral varieties. Mono-floral honey may contain a small percentage of various flowers while a major portion of it comes from a single floral type. Beekeepers and honey lovers, sometimes, prefer mono-floral over other types.
It is just the opposite of mono-floral. This comes from a variety of different types of flowers. It may contain a certain variety more than others, but the overall composition contains several different varieties. It is also known as wildflower honey.
This type of honey comes in the in honeycomb made by bees from the wax. When there were no equipments like honey extractors, almost all honey was comb honey. It is the most original and may not have been processed or filtered. It is usually more expensive and people love it for it being in the natural state. Such honey has not been treated, heated or anything added to it. Some people eat both the honey and the comb and enjoy it highly. Other people eat the honey, chew the comb and spit it out. Another group of people will spread the honey on toast along with small pieces of the comb and eat it. It is normally packaged in wooden cut framework.
6. Cut Comb Honey
This is liquid in a jar with added pieces of cut honeycomb. This is actually a combination of liquid honey and comb honey. It is also known as liquid cut comb combination. When the honeycomb is cut into pieces of various sizes, the edges are drained and the pieces are packed in jars individually. This is pure honey in its natural form. Normally, there is no processing or heating involved except cutting or packaging. Some vendors use acacia honey as the base because it is more liquid and lets the pieces of comb float in the jar.
7. Liquid Honey
Liquid honey is the most common form of honey. Honey is actually liquid in the honey comb. Liquid here refers to the honey which is extracted from the comb by centrifugal force or just by straining. It is great for baking, cooking, teas, coffees and other beverages as it mixes very easily. It can be easily spread on bread or toast. Most honey sold in the super market or health food stores is liquid honey. Liquid honey can be unfiltered, filtered and ultra-filtered. If unfiltered it may contains traces and pieces of beeswax propolis and pollen. Some beekeepers would filter them through a mesh to eliminate its cloudy appearance. Commercial grade liquid honey is usually ultra-filtered, processed and heated for easy packaging and glistening appearance.
8. Pasteurized honey
This is also called heated honey. Although, there is no healthy benefit or reason for pasteurized honey, yet we find that most honey in the supermarket is pasteurized. It undergoes super heated processes and rigorous filtration. Heating dissolves the seed crystals so it is less likely to granulate overtime. Supermarkets prefer pasteurized honey because it does not solidify, granulate or become cloudy for a long time and even if the storing conditions are not perfect.
9. Set Honey
Just as liquid honey refers to any kind of honey that is liquid, set honey refers to any type that is solid. This honey is also liquid in the beginning but it crystallizes and granulates quickly over a shorter period of time. It is not squeezy and does not flow out of the jar. You have to take it out by means of a spoon etc. If a set honey becomes too hard, it can be made softer by putting the jar in warm water.
10. Crystallized Honey
It is semi solid, crystallized or granulated honey. It becomes hardened as a natural formation of dextrose-hydrate crystals. Such honey is thick and cloudy and is neither totally solid nor liquid. Crystallization occurs overtime when the honey is stored longer. It can be re-liquidified when the bottle or jar is placed in warm water. Crystallization is natural and does not affect the quality of honey.
11. Whipped Honey
This is also called cream honey. Cream honey varies in color depending on the floral source. This type of honey is easy to spread on the bread just like cream. However, this undergoes a process to control crystallization. It still contains small number of crystals but does not become thick or cloudy like natural crystallized honey. It has many other names like set honey, spun honey, honey fondant and churned honey.
12. Raw Honey
This is the honey extracted which may not undergo any heating process or may not be heated beyond 48c. Raw honey is not filtered and you will sometimes sees traces of beeswax, pollen and even bee wings and legs. It is also referred to as unfiltered honey. Some people absolutely love local raw honey as it is believed to contain anti-allergic properties. Raw honey is also considered to be more nutritious, strong flavored and high in minerals.
Raw honey is real honey. It possesses real energy and has true freshness. It contains all the enzymes, vitamins, antioxidants and antibacterial properties. Raw honey is great for health and it gives all the benefits which strongly filtered or ultra filtered honey is devoid of. If pressure is applied during extraction, it is called pressed raw honey. If a label bears the wording raw, it should have been subjected only to minimum processing and heat.
13. Ultra filtered Honey
This is commercial grade which is obtained by heating the honey by temperature above 48c. Most commercial bakers, supermarkets, and breakfast cereals manufacturers prefer this. It is commercially preferred because it is easy to mix with other food. Additionally, it is easier to package and bottle and looks more attractive, neat and clean on the product shelves. Ultra filtered honey loses some of the nutrients and flavors in the process. Some experts believe it to be very low grade and do not prefer it for domestic or whole consumption. Ultra filtered honey is so brutally heated and filtered that it loses much of its micro nutrients. It looks nice in jars glistening on the shelves, but it does not offer the same health benefits as raw or unfiltered honey.
14. Certified Organic Honey
It is organic honey which is free from the effects of pesticides and antibiotics. Organic honey is obtained from flowers which are free from the use of chemicals, air pollution and other industrial pollutants. All organic honey is not certified. Honey which has been certified by certain well-known organizations and bodies is classified as certified organic honey. Organic honey must be subject to strict guidelines and the land on which the bees survive must be certified as organic. Some examples of these organizations are:
- United States Department of Agriculture
- Global Organic Alliance
- Canadian General Standards Board
- NZ Organic
- BigoGro NZ
15. Acacia Honey
It comes from the nectar of Acacia tree flowers. There are many sources which say that it is not from real acacia tree. They think it is actually from Robinia Pseudo acacia or false acacia which is also known as black locust which is native to the United States and cultivated in other countries such as Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, France and Italy. It is clear or straw color and liquid with sweet, light and flora flavor.
It is produced in good quantity in Hungary and is popular in Europe, loved by children and mainly used in cooking and baking. It is high in fructose and stays liquid for a very long time and is therefore very popular with cooks and chefs. It can also be blended with other types. It is used as a base for the cut combs because the pieces of the combs can be seen floating through the liquid in jars. It makes a great combination with cheese.
16. Stick honey
These are thin sticks which are filled into plastic tubes. This is commercial grade honey and is a great and healthy substitute for snacks, chocolate and sugar. They differ in taste, color and flavor depending upon the source.
17. Alfalfa Honey
This crystallizes quickly and granules are formed when placed on the shelf a little longer. It also smells beeswax. It is very popular in some parts of the United States and is great for use in dressings and sauces.
18. Apple Blossom
This is pale or gold in color and sweet in taste and flavor. It is produced in the USA and Britain and many other countries of the world. It can be mono floral or poly floral. It tastes sweets with a hint of apple.
This is also called strawberry tree honey. It is amber and grayish in tone. It is bitter in flavor. Its bitterness is often associated with medicinal properties. It is used in many regions of the world for its therapeutic qualities. It is produced in Ireland and Mediterranean region. Because it is highly valued for medicinal purposes, it is rare and expensive.
Mainly produced in USA and Israel, it is dark and velvety.
This is more common in the United States. It is produced from the nectars of blackberry flowers. It is white, pale and light gold in color.
This buttery after taste honey is common in Europe, Canada, Unites States and some other regions of the world. It has fruity and lemon flavor.
23. Borage Honey
It is produced in large quantities in Britain. It is clear and bluish. It is very sweet. This light color honey was very famous with the Romans. It made them happy and so named it as happy honey. It is liquid and runny and stays runny for a considerable time. It is also produced in New Zealand. It is slow to crystallize and people refrigerate it to make it chewy and toffee like.
It is very rich in proteins and comes from North America. It has strong flavor and dark black color. It is high in protein and iron and has great medicinal value. It is high in iron; it is used to treat people with anemia.
25. Cherry Blossom
It is gold in color and cherry in taste. It is not very common and is produced in those areas where cherry trees are grown abundantly.
It has strong taste and dark color. It is bitter nutty and tannic. It is rich in minerals and remains liquid for a long time. It is also used for mixing into tea and coffee.
It is light, mild, yellow and white color. It has caramel aroma. It is used in cooking and baking and is also popular as table honey. It granulates quickly and is therefore is creamed and whipped to make it creamy. It is produced in New Zealand, Canada and Unites States.
Cotton crop grows in America and is a major crop in some Asian countries like Pakistan and India. Cotton honey is light, low acidity, and flowery flavor. It is produced in many countries of the world including United States, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and other South Asian countries.
Dandelion is a known herb for many ailments and its tea is widely used therapeutically. Dandelion honey is considered as wild honey and good for medicinal use. The color of the honey is as bright as its yellow bright color flowers.
It is amber or grey color and is mainly produced in Australia. Its flavor is quite strong and is very sweet in taste. Local honey lover’s thinks it to be great for colds and tasty when eaten with cheese. There are more than 500 varieties of eucalyptus tree which is grown in Australia and some European countries especially in Spain. It has fruity flavor and is believed to possess healing properties. It has been used in many cultures as one of the natural or home remedies.
Fireweed is a plant that grows in United States, Canada, Pacific Northwest and some other countries. It is the first plant which grows after a land is burnt. It is tall which bears purple flowers. Fireweed honey is amber in color, light and delicate in taste. It is an excellent addition to anything and is great and perfect when used as table honey.
Gallberry is a wild plant which blooms for a short period of time. It is aromatic in taste and flowery in flavor. It stays liquid even at low temperature. Gallberry is evergreen bush and is also known as inkberry and holly bush. Due to its lake of granulation and staying liquid, it is very popular with bakers, cooks, and chefs. It easily mixes with other food and can make a great and healthy recipe.
The botanical name for goldenrod is Solidago and is specie in the family Asteraceae. Goldenrods are found along roads, pastures, meadows and other areas. When it is unripe, it has an unattractive smell that of the rotten meat. However, it is amazing that once it is ripe the foul smell changes into distinctive spicy flavor. Goldenrod is used by commercial marketers for a wide range of use in other products. Although due to its spicy and pungent flavor, it does not suit everyone’s taste; the raw goldenrod honey is a favorite of the allergy sufferers.
It is very famous for treating hypertension and palpitation of the heart. Hawthorn is a plant that grows in the United States, France, Britain and other regions of the world. The scientific name for hawthorn is Crataegus and it is also known as thronapple or hawberry. In herbal medicines, it is believed to be useful in the treatment of conditions such as high blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmia and congestive hear failure.
The honey is mostly white in color and light and delicate in flavor. It is used for many conditions such as measles, pneumonia, syncope, rheumatism, stomach pains, sore throat, headaches, coughs, cold and others.
It is popular in the UK and Europe and is strong flavored, clear and thick. It is often considered as the king of honey. Heather honey is one of the best varieties. It’s sticky like jelly and hard to extract from the comb. Beekeepers use hard pressing to extract it. According to some reports, the best heather honey is produced in Scotland, UK. Heather plants have several varieties two of which are commonly found in the Highlands of Scotland. These are Bell heather and Ling Heather.
This is produced worldwide and may vary in color and flavor because of the difference in the hedgerows. It makes a great taste on fresh bread and cheese.
Kamahi is tree grown in New Zealand and is sacred to Maori people. Kamahi honey crystallizes and granulates soon so it is mostly sold in cream form. It contains a good amount of minerals and trace elements for healthy benefits.
This is a rare honey produced in Hawaii. It is very sought after and according to some sources, the honey is sold well before even it is ready to be collected. The bee collects the nectars only from the Kiawe tree and is not mixed with other flowers. Kiawe honey is sold raw, unfiltered and is mostly organic. It has a delicate and tropic flavor and thickens quickly.
It is either yellowish or amber color and very popular in Europe especially in Britain, Spain and France. Provence, in France, especially abounds in lavender honey. It is flowery, smooth and creamy. It is found to be excellent on lamb roast and baked croissants.
It is obtained from ohia tree native to Hawaii. It has fruity flavor and salty after taste. It crystallizes quickly so bee keepers always try their best to harvest and package it as quickly as they can. Lehua honey is full of beneficial nutrients and is mostly sold raw and as certified organic honey.
41. Lime tree
It is clear and has strong aroma. Most people like it in herbal tea, green tea, black tea, coffee and cold drinks. It is also called Linden or Basswood honey. All these trees belong to the same family called Tilia. The honey is slow to granulate.
It is a fruit that is widely cultivated in China, Thailand and Vietnam. The fruit is also called dragon’s eye fruit. There are organic longan orchards in Thailand where honey bees nourish on its flower. It is used in tea and cold drinks and is reported to be very effective in treating sore throat and other skin conditions.
Is an average sized flower bearing tree in the legume family. Prosopis glandulosa, which is also known as honey mesquite is a common specie of the mesquite family. The honey from the tree is delicate, sweet and distinctive. It is produced in Mexico as well as Arizona.
44. Onion Honey
It is very strong flavored in the beginning but becomes a bit mild in a couple of weeks. It is very popular for medicinal purposes especially for treating coughs and chest problems. Where people cannot find onion honey, they mix it with any other type and make a great cough syrup.
It comes from New Zealand from Manuka tree. It is considered the most medicinal and rich in nutrients. Another name for it is tea tree honey. Manuka has several grades and is very famous for anti-bacterial activity. It is used in a variety of products and is great for wound healing, colds, sore throat and infections.
46. Oil Seed rape
It is milky white in color and comes from the bright yellow crop called rape. It crystallizes very quickly and has to be creamed to be used on breads and toasts. It sets concrete in the honey comb and the beekeeper has to check the hive almost on daily basis. It is mostly produced in UK and Europe.
47. Orange blossom
It is produced in Britain, France, Spain and USA. It is light colored and fruity with citrus aroma. It is runny and retains this state for sometime. Over time, it becomes thick and hard. It has been found to be very delicious with yoghurt, ice cream, crepes, porridge and roasted vegetables.
48. Rapeseed or Canola
Rapeseed is also known as canola and is a great crop for bees. The honey is rich in fructose and crystallizes very quickly. Beekeepers extract it very quickly after it is capped in the comb. Once packaged in the jars, it takes about 3 to 4 weeks to granulate. To overcome the problem of quick crystallization, it is often converted to cream honey. There are reports that most canola or rapeseed honey is obtained from genetically modified plants and therefore is not regarded a good quality honey.
It is golden or amber in color and very sweet. Rubber honey is mainly found in Sri Lanka. It is also found in parts of India such as Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
It is amber in color with delicate flavor. It is produced in Europe and very popular in Spain.
It has a sweet aroma. It is thick and sticky. Sage honey is produced from the family Salvia. It has a light herbal and unique taste. Sage is normally more expensive than other types because the plant does not flower so often. It is said that sage honey is harvested only after each four years. It is mainly produced in California. It is slow to granulate and is therefore a favorite for blenders.
It sets quickly. It has yellow color and is widely used in cooking and baking. The sunflower grows in many parts of the world including North America, Europe and Asia. Sunflowers are bright yellow color big flowers with a lot of pollen and nectars for honey bees.
It has a strong taste and is produced widely in Greece. It is also produced in other European countries. There are around 350 species of Thyme. The honey producing thyme is both wild and garden. It is found in Spain, France, Switzerland, Mediterranean, USA and New Zealand. Thyme honey is known to possess antibacterial activity and is widely used to fight infections.
It is produced in Florida and other parts of North America. It is also produced in some countries of South Asia. It is yellow or green in color and has a herbal aroma. It is slow to crystallize and very popular among the people.
55. Wild flower
It is produced worldwide on meadows where the flowers grow naturally. This type of honey is also called poly-floral because it is obtained from the nectars of many wild flowers.