The Buzz on Honey
The Good-for-You Sweetener
-- By Liza Barnes, Health Educator
Bees use nectar to make all types of honey, but the color and flavor of the honey will vary greatly depending on the type of flower blossoms the nectar came from. Honey can range from a very pale golden color to dark brown, and its flavor can vary just as much. There are over 300 varieties of honey in the United States alone, including alfalfa, avocado, buckwheat, and orange blossom. Generally, the darker the honey is, the bolder its flavor will be.
After honey is collected from a beehive, there are a variety of ways it may be processed before it reaches store shelves:
- Comb honey. This is honey packaged exactly the way it comes out of the bee hive, still in the bees’ wax comb, and completely unprocessed.
- Raw honey. This honey has been filtered of its wax chunks and large particles but is not pasteurized (heated above 120 degrees Fahrenheit to extend shelf life). Because honey is naturally low in bacteria, pasteurization isn't necessary. Raw honey usually contains some residual pollen and small particles of wax.
- Chunk honey. Similar to comb honey, this product consists of a few chunks of wax comb surrounded by liquid honey.
- Strained or filtered honey. This honey is similar to raw honey, but has been filtered through a finer mesh material to remove all wax. It still may include pollen.
- Ultra-filtered honey. This honey has undergone fine filtration under high pressure and heat (over 150 degrees Fahrenheit) to yield a very clear and longer lasting product.