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Honey Varieties

Martha Stewart Living


Honey: Nature's Medicine?
In addition to being irresistibly sweet, honey inhibits bacteria growth and contains disease-fighting antioxidants. Find out how honey can benefit your health.


Easy Herbal Infusions
Enhance the flavor and aroma of an ordinary pot of honey by pushing two or three sprigs of fresh herbs into the syrup.

Herb-Infused Honey How-To

Single-Variety Honey Glossary: A Baker's Dozen

The color of any given single flower honey, which may range from white to dark brown, through all the many shades of gold and amber in between, provides a clue to its nature. As a rule of thumb, light honeys are mild, amber honeys have richly mellow flavors, and dark honeys are more assertive.

Single-flower honeys are available in several forms. In this country, honey is most commonly extracted from the comb and sold as a liquid. Another, more rustic option is to leave the honey in the comb, which is made of beeswax, a kind of natural chewing gum.

Or honey may be sold in combination form as cut-comb honey, with chunks of honey-in-the comb floating in jars of liquid honey. "Cream" or "spun" honey, also called whipped honey, results from a carefully controlled process of crystallization. This leaves the honey lightened, slightly thickened, and ideally suited for spreading. In much of the world outside the United States, this is the preferred form of honey.

When cooking with honey, you can use any variety you have on hand with good results. But for the best outcome, match the honey to the dish. Mild honeys, such as clover or alfalfa, are best when you want no pronounced honey flavor; more assertive honeys, such as buckwheat, should be chosen when you want a more distinct honey presence; and highly aromatic honeys, such as orange blossom, are ideal when you want the flavored honey to dominate the dish.

Since most recipes are written with sugar rather than honey, you will probably end up substituting one for the other if you become fond of cooking with honey.

Like extremely fine extra-virgin olive oils, artisanal single-flower honeys are best used in ways that show off their dazzlingly distinctive flavors and aromas. Drizzle them over cheese, mix them into marinades, or simply dip a spoon into the jar and let a small amount, say 1/8 teaspoon, dissolve on the front of your tongue; as the honey flows through your mouth, you'll enjoy the full range of its early-and late-developing flavors. It may not be a miracle, but honey this fine is definitely divine.



1. Buckwheat
2. Rosemary
3. Creamed manuka
4. Tasmanian leatherwood
5. Thyme
6. Orange blossom
7. Raspberry
8. Lavender
9. Acacia flower
10. Alfalfa
11. Clover
12. Goldenrod and aster blend
13. Cevennes Mountains

Text from an article by John Willoughby

See our ideas for sweet and savory honey recipes.

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