Honey starts as flower nectar collected by bees, which gets broken down into simple sugars stored inside the honeycomb. The design of the honeycomb and constant fanning of the bees’ wings causes evaporation, creating sweet liquid honey. Honey’s color and flavor varies based on the nectar collected by the bees
For example, honey made from orange blossom nectar might be light in color, whereas honey from avocado or wildflowers might have a dark amber color.
On average, a hive will produce about 65 pounds of surplus honey each year2. Beekeepers harvest it by collecting the honeycomb frames and scraping off the wax cap that bees make to seal off honey in each cell. Once the caps are removed, the frames are placed in an extractor, a centrifuge that spins the frames, forcing honey out of the comb.
After the honey is extracted, it’s strained to remove any remaining wax and other particles. Some beekeepers and bottlers might heat the honey to make this process easier, but that doesn’t alter the liquid’s natural composition.
After straining, it’s time to bottle, label, and bring it to you. It doesn’t matter if the container is glass or plastic, or if the honey is purchased at the grocery store or farmers’ market. If the ingredient label says “pure honey,” nothing was added from bee to hive to bottle.
The story of honey is older than history itself. An 8,000-year-old cave painting1 in Spain depicts honey harvesting, and we know it’s been used for food, medicine, and more by cultures all over the world since.
But honey isn’t about humans. It’s the natural product made from bees—one of our planet’s most important animals. Honey bees visit millions of blossoms in their lifetimes, making pollination of plants possible and collecting nectar to bring back to the hive.
Lucky for us, bees make more honey than their colony needs, and beekeepers remove the excess and bottle it. Just like they’ve been doing since the beginning of time.
Forms of Honey – Delicious in any form
Most of us know honey as a liquid in a bottle, but there are lots of other ways to enjoy this natural nectar. Comb, crystallized, liquid, whipped, and beyond—it just depends on what texture and usage you’re looking for. Between the vast array of varietals and diversity of forms, there’s a perfect kind of honey out there for every occasion.
The color, flavor, and even aroma of honey differs, depending on the nectar of flowers visited by the bees that made it. There are more than 300 unique types of honey available in the United States alone, each originating from a different floral source.
Their shades range from nearly colorless to dark brown, while flavors go from subtle to bold; even the aroma of honey may be reminiscent of the flower. As a general rule, the flavor of light-colored kinds of honey is milder, and the flavor of darker-colored honey is stronger.
Varietal honey may be best compared to wine in terms of climatic changes. Even the same flower blooming in the same location may produce slightly different nectar from year to year, depending on temperature and rainfall.