Images adapted from Flickr, alsjhc, CC BY 2.0

You’re in the baking aisle of the grocery store, and while shopping for sweeteners you see an entire shelf filled floor-to-ceiling with different types of honey: clover honey, alfalfa honey, orange blossom honey, wildflower … What are all of these honeys about, and where do they come from, you wonder? Is clover honey actually made from clovers? Is alfalfa honey made from alfalfa? The answer is yes. Here’s what the buzz is all about in decoding different types of honey.

What do avocados, blueberries, and oranges have in common? They’re all fruits, yes, but they are also listed among the numerous sources of honey. Honey, you ask? That sweet, viscous liquid bees make that I stir into my morning tea? None other!

The journey in the life of a bee is quite fascinating, and the production of honey no less interesting (check out our article here on that matter). In short, honey begins as the nectar of plant flowers, and honeybees convert that nectar into the condensed sweet stuff we know as honey.

According to the National Honey Board, there are more than 300 varietals of honey in the United States alone. Just a few of the many, many plants honey comes from include: avocado, blueberry, buckwheat, clover, cotton, cranberry, macadamia, pumpkin, and raspberry. Wild stuff indeed!

Each varietal of honey that you find on the shelves—labeled clover, alfalfa, and so on—has a naturally different shade, viscosity, and flavor, all dependent on the plant it came from. So in your recipes at home, you can experiment with the different types of honey for different results, and know that each variety is giving you an actual taste of the plant it stemmed from! Now that’s pretty sweet.

For more information on the specific varietals of honey, check out the National Honey Board website here.

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Image adapted from Flickr, alsjhc, CC BY 2.0