Varietal honeys are collected from a single species of flower. Each floral nectar source has a particular flavor. It’s all about location and timing. The beekeeper needs to bring hives to a bloom source just at the beginning of flowering, and remove them immediately for extraction at the end of the bloom. The resulting honey is never 100% of that variety, but is enough to impart its distinct flavor and character.
A word of caution: Since the standard of varietal honey requires only 51% content of stated variety, mass producers will frequently dilute a varietal with up to 49% of a cheaper, generic honey. Always buy from reputable local beekeepers who are proud of the unique products they provide.
Indicates that Crazy A.Z. offers this variety
Alfalfa: Alfalfa’s violet-purple flowers bloom throughout the summer. Extra light amber in color with a mild flavor and aroma similar to beeswax, it is ideal for baking and cooking, or daily table use.
Avocado: This tropical is the source of a unique honey that is dark amber in color with a smooth, velvety texture and rich flavor, featuring notes of caramelized molasses. Its robust flavor and dramatic coloring make avocado honey a great choice for use in rich desserts such as chocolate and nut tarts or as a welcome accompaniment for pancakes, waffles and ice cream.
Basswood: A tree found primarily in the northern US, renowned for its shade and fragrant, cream-colored flowers. Basswood honey has a fresh taste similar to that of green, ripening fruit and can be identified by its water white color, warm herbal notes and clean finish. Pairs well with green apples, vanilla ice cream and fromage blanc.
Blueberry: Blueberry honey has an aroma reminiscent of green leaves with a touch
of lemon. Moderately fruity in flavor with a
delicate, slightly buttery finish, it is light to medium amber in color. Pairs
well with yogurt, walnuts, melons, sour cream and crème
Buckwheat: A summer annual that blooms late into fall. its nectar produces a dark flavorful honey with marked molasses and malt flavors and a lingering aftertaste. Its strong flavor makes it a popular ingredient in hearty baked goods and barbecue sauces. It also pairs well with strong cheeses, or as a maple syrup replacement.
Clover: Found on pantry shelves around the world, clover honey has a sweet, flowery aroma and pleasingly mild taste that hints at the plant’s delicate blossom. Usually a blend of several different types of clover like Dutch, White, Red, and Sweet. A mild honey that excels at the table and as a key ingredient in cooking and baking.
Cotton: One of the leading honey plants in the southern U.S. The honey is white to extra light amber with a good, mild flavor. Cotton honey is an excellent table honey, and its mild taste makes it a good choice for use in cooking and baking where a subtler sweetness is desired. It also pairs well with hard cheeses such as Parmesan.
Cranberry: Cranberry honey is available in limited quantities because individual
cranberry bogs bloom no more than two weeks annually.
The honey is medium amber in color with a light red tint and a strong berry
flavor. While cranberries are tart, their honey is delightfully sweet and pairs well with apples, pork, poultry and
Fireweed: A tall perennial herb with large clusters of red-purple flowers. No other major honey plant grows as far north, and blooms from early July through late September. Water white in color and very mild, with subtle tea-like notes and a smooth finish. Its sweet, almost fruity flavor makes it a natural choice for fruit-oriented desserts.
Goldenrod The source for large quantities of amber honey with a slightly strong,
almost spicy flavor that is not overly sweet. Use it
Macadamia This exotic, harder-to-find honey from the popular macadamia nut tree
of Hawaii. Medium amber color with a sweet aroma and
Mesquite A southwestern tree prized for its sweet, smoky smelling wood. It
produces numerous golden-colored blooms during spring and
Orange Blossom: Orange trees bloom in March and April and produce a white to
extra light amber honey with a pronounced aroma of orange
blossoms. It has a sweet, fruity taste with a flowery perfume aftertaste. A
great table honey, it also excels in fruit and vegetable salad dressings, and in
marinades for fish and poultry.
Palmetto: Abundant along the southern Atlantic Coast, these trees produce
great compound clusters of whitish flowers. Light amber to
Pumpkin: Although cultivated throughout the U.S., this honey can be difficult to source. Amber-colored with a spicy, complex, almost squashy flavor. Use with fresh herbs to make a sweet vegetable glaze. It’s also the perfect sweetener for homemade pumpkin pies, dessert bars and other baked goods.
Raspberry: Light amber in color with a mellow, smooth flavor and unique raspberry finish. This sweet honey pairs well with vanilla flavors, champagne, chocolate, and with fresh fruit such as pears and peaches
Star Thistle: A one-foot high annual herb introduced from the Mediterranean
Region, star thistle is widespread in California where it
produces a white or extra light amber honey with a slight greenish cast.
Moderately sweet with a grassy, anise aroma and flavor, it is excellent for
cooking and pairs well with toasted nuts, strong cheeses and nut bread. .
Sourwood: The most well-known honey in Virginia, and arguably the best honey in the world. Extra light amber in color with a fine spicy and buttery flavor and characteristic twang. It has a sweet, anise aroma and lingering aftertaste. Prized by honey lovers worldwide.
Sunflower: Sunflower fields are a paradise for bees as their blossoms produce far more nectar than smaller flowering plants. Light to extra light amber, with slight herbaceous and citrus notes. Use it in sweet and savory baking, such as honey sesame shortbread, or serve with fresh fruit or yogurt.
Sage: Sage honey is produced in the western United States and is scarce because at least 15" of rainfall is needed for the sage flowers to produce nectar. Extra white in color, its taste is as delicate as its color, and it rarely granulates.
Tupelo: Tupelo Gum trees grow in southern wetlands. Florida beekeepers place their apiaries on high platforms or even boats in the wetlands to avoid losing their colonies to frequent floods. Smooth in texture, light amber in color, with complex floral, herbal and fruity flavors, tupelo honey is very sweet, making it an excellent choice for baked goods. It is the only honey that never granulates.
Tulip Poplar: One of the most important nectar sources in Virginia. Dark, reddish amber and with an assertively complex, robust flavor. Good in marinades and savory baked goods and of course, drizzled over biscuits.
Wildflower: Not actually a varietal, but a term used to describe honey from miscellaneous and undefined floral sources. Usually amber in color with complex floral overtones, the color and flavor varies with the region and time of year. Excellent all-purpose honey for cooking or the table.
Creamed Honey: "All the goodness of honey ... without the drip". Not a varietal, but a unique form of pure honey, usually wildflower, transformed by a special process which controls honey’s natural tendency to crystallize. Creamed honey is 100% pure honey in a smooth, spreadable form ideal for spreading on toast and wherever else you want your honey to "stay put".