Differences between Spring, Summer, and Fall Honey – Which to choose?
You’ve taken the first step to reward yourself with raw honey, but there are questions. Which do I choose? What makes honey raw honey? We’ve all purchased honey at a grocery store or used honey packets at a restaurant and got used to this universal “honey” taste. You know what I’m talking about. It always tasted the same no matter where it came from, and no matter where you got it (let’s keep it to the US). How is that possible?
The sad truth is that honey is one of the most bastardized products out there. It can be pasteurized (crazy!!) and most likely contains high levels of additives such as high-fructose corn syrup. Once this syrup blend is combined, it’s very difficult for the general public to tell the difference. This doesn’t happen across a few bottles but across millions of gallons of honey sold to the general public that expect some benefits from this wonderful liquid. So it’s super important to know the source of your honey and how your beekeeper, that’s me, ensures you’re getting the best from the hive to the bottle.
Spring honey foraging begins around the middle of May. The first sign of the nectar flow is spotting pure white wax around the tops of the frames and inner cover, plus crazy flight traffic in and out of the hive. The main sources of early nectar are Black Locust and Tulip Poplar, which in our area is found around the highways. Black Locust is more prevalent here and is covered with white flowers that blooms for a little over a week. It produces a fragrant, light-colored honey. There are other flower sources but this tree produces far more honey than scattered flower patches. As long as we have enough capped frames to pull by early June, we can have Black Locust honey available.
As we move further into the season, the next set of blossoms will again be wildflowers but main sources for be foraging will be Linden and Clover. Linden has beautiful small flowers that bloom for a couple of weeks, but doesn’t produce every year. Clover is quite abundant but can also be impacted by regular mowing of lawns. This honey is a light amber and also quite floral in flavor and aroma. It’s harvested from mid-June through First week or July, depending on the strength of the flow. We normally offer it under the Spring Honey category.
Fall honey is not often marketed by beekeepers since the prized honey is that of the Spring/Summer. In the fall, usually around mid-August, the bees forage for nectar from Goldenrod, Aster and Japanese Knottweed. This honey is a darker amber with a deeper flavor, that I can’t quite describe.
Regardless of the season, honey in its raw form provides phenomenal benefits for improved gut health, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammation support, and sugar substitute. Enjoy!