Universal Sweetness: Types of Honey and Their Uses in Cooking

Looking at the assortment of this delicacy, you can lose your head. Each variety has its own properties and characteristics. One is a more astringent, rich amber color, with a slight bitterness. The other is a charming sunny shade with vanilla notes on the palate. The third generally resembles a thick mousse. And if it seems that in cooking they all open up in the same way, then this is not so. Some honey colors the baked goods more in a gingerbread color, some ideally complements cocktails, and some are completely incompatible with dairy products.

Of course, in many recipes it is not customary to indicate a specific variety, but it will be useful for every housewife to understand at least a small fraction of the honey variety. Indeed, even such insignificant nuances affect the final taste of the dish. So, what is the difference between this or that variety?

Buckwheat honey

This amber delicacy is made from the nectar of buckwheat flowers. The collection begins at the end of June and continues until the end of summer. Buckwheat honey has a deep dark hue, and its consistency resembles stringy caramel or toffee. Dense and spicy, it has a light malt finish and a pronounced bark aroma. It is this honey that is considered the record holder for iron content among other varieties.

Cooking application: it is an irreplaceable ingredient in the preparation of Tula gingerbread and any other baked goods with a characteristic honey taste and color: honey cake, cookies, biscuits. It is also suitable for tart meat and fish marinades or salad dressings, and will also add spice to fruit slices. However, due to the persistent bitterness in taste with buckwheat honey, you need to be careful and not add too much of it.

Acacia honey

A fairly early variety, obtained from the nectar of flowers of white and yellow acacia. The paradox is that although these flowers are considered strong allergens, the pollen from them is absolutely harmless, so acacia honey is acceptable in the diet of allergy sufferers and young children. In color, this is the lightest delicacy among its fellows. Sometimes it can be almost transparent. This honey is renowned for its crystallization resistance. It can remain in a liquid state for almost two years. But in taste, the variety cannot boast of characteristic features.

Culinary Uses: Acacia honey is dearly loved by pastry chefs and bakers for its humility. He does not interrupt other ingredients in baked goods and desserts, but only adds delicate honey notes. Since the variety does not crystallize for a long time, it is often used in dishes where liquid honey is needed: sauces, salad dressings, toppings. In addition, this honey is appropriate to use in the preparation of cooling drinks.

Flower honey

This is the name of the variety obtained from herb pollen. Usually, several types of flower honey are distinguished, depending on its place of collection: steppe, meadow, mountain and forest. It is very difficult to highlight the specific features of the variety, since it is based on a whole bunch of flavors. Basically, flower honey is found in a rich golden hue, however, depending on the herbs in the composition, it can change its color and turn out to be slightly darker than usual.

Cooking Applications: This variety can be called versatile. Of course, it will not show itself in dishes as brightly as buckwheat, but it will add the necessary honey flavor. It can also be used as a sweetener if you decide to cut back on sugar in your diet.

Linden honey

It is quite difficult to find a pure variety. Usually, in addition to pollen from linden flowers, nectar of other herbs also gets into honey, but in much smaller quantities. The product can be recognized by its distinct sweetish linden scent. Its color varies from light transparent to beautiful amber. It is advisable to have such honey on hand during the cold season, because it has a beneficial effect on the immune system and has expectorant properties.

Cooking Uses: The treat is often used in baked goods, added to dough for flavor. But linden honey is best revealed in its pure form, if it is slightly warmed up. Therefore, it is perfect as a gravy for warm desserts or as an ingredient for drinks that are planning to be heated: tea, warm milk and even alcoholic cocktails.

Chestnut honey

Like linden honey, it is very difficult to find this honey in its pure form due to the laborious collection. A natural delicacy without impurities can cost a tidy sum, and the more additives from other plants in it, the more affordable the price. Chestnut honey is dark in color and thick in texture. A slight bitterness is often felt in the taste. Like acacia, this variety retains its pristine consistency without crystals for quite a long time.

Culinary uses: Chestnut honey is especially popular in the Mediterranean countries and in France. Therefore, it is better to cook dishes of French, Italian, Spanish, Greek and even Egyptian cuisine with it.

Cotton honey

It got its name from the plant from which it is extracted. The peculiarity of cotton honey is that bees collect nectar for it not only from cotton flowers, but also from leafy and extra-flowered nectaries. As soon as the delicacy is pumped out of the hive, it has a specific aroma and flavor characteristic of the sap of the plant. However, as the honey ripens and crystallizes, and it is candied for four weeks, this flavoring feature disappears. The color of the sweetness also changes – from light amber it becomes milky white. Ripe cotton honey has a delicate and extremely sweet taste.

Cooking use: the variety is perfect for baking, where it is important to emphasize the subtle sweetness of the dish: cupcakes, light cakes, puffed cookies. In addition, such honey goes well with a cheese plate, especially with hard varieties. It also sounds good in cold summer drinks.

Cream honey

It is also called soufflé or whipped honey. It has become popular relatively recently, but very confidently it wins the sympathy of gourmets. It is produced in special equipment: ready-made honey is not whipped, as it might seem, but is kneaded for a long time at a certain temperature. This is the only way to break all the crystals inside the sweetness. As a result, the delicacy becomes more viscous and dense. Further, various fillings are added to it: melted chocolate, freeze-dried berries, nuts or fruit puree. Properly prepared natural cream honey retains all the beneficial properties, does not change its texture and does not crystallize.

Cooking use: in fact, this is a ready-made dessert that can be served with tea or coffee. Plus, due to its creamy consistency, such honey can be easily spread on bread, croissants or buns.

Melilot honey

This variety is obtained from the nectar collected from the medicinal plant of the same name. Therefore, it is especially appreciated for its healing properties. Honey has an analgesic, immuno-strengthening, sedative and antiseptic effect. The variety is quite light in color, its palette ranges from golden to milky. The delicacy has a sophisticated taste with hints of vanilla.

Culinary uses: This honey has one peculiarity – it does not go well with milk. This mixture can cause bloating and flatulence. Therefore, it is better to exclude his contact with dairy products. In other cases, the variety is good for baking and making alcoholic cocktails. 

Mustard honey

As the name implies, honey is extracted from mustard flowers. The plant belongs to early honey plants and helps bees to form the first honey reserves. The variety has a high iodine content, therefore it is especially suitable for people with endocrine diseases. This honey has a different color palette. Most often, the sweetness is golden or yellow-green, mustard hue. But sometimes honey is also light, almost milky in color. During crystallization, the variety turns slightly yellow and acquires a creamy texture. It tastes not as sweet as, for example, cotton or lime honey.

Cooking Applications: Due to the lack of sweetness, this variety is rarely used as a sweetener, but it makes good marinades for fish or chicken on its basis. 

Leave a Comment