When it comes to honey, there IS a difference. Most of us are familiar with the types of honey you can find in any grocery store (who hasn’t had honey from the little bear?). I have to admit for a long time I, too, used to go to my local grocery store and buy whatever bottle I came across. It tasted OK and if I was using it in a recipe, on toast, or in tea it did the job. However, I was introduced to a family that runs an apiary and since then my views about honey have changed.
I learned the process that apiarists go through to produce the best honey. The bees are carefully tended to and provided an ideal environment, so they can safely congregate and produce honey. No two batches of honey are the same; the flavor, and appearance, of the honey changes depending on what flowers are available locally. The subtle flavors of citrus, sunflowers, or berries can sometimes come through to add more depth to the honey. The consistency differs too, from thick syrup to a lighter gel depending on when, and how, the honey was harvested. There is also a risk of over-processing the honey, so apiarists take great care in how they bottle, package, and ship their honey.
If you can buy locally-grown honey, do it. It may cost more, but this is one thing that is worth the extra cost. The honey from the Bear is OK in a pinch, but honey from an apiary like the Tanis Apiary in Pompton Plains, New Jersey is my go-to source for natural, local honey. Trust me, there’s a huge difference in taste and texture when you skip the Bear!
Featured photo by Jonathan Farber