We’ve been to a lot of tasting and trade events over the last few months and the majority of visitors to Gustare Honey’s stand had the same questions:
- How is our honey different?
- How is our honey produced?
- What is Eucalyptus honey?
- Why is our raw honey so different to the honey supplied in the UK and European supermarkets?
- Is it good for you?
A lot of questions right? And they made us think it was about time we provided a bit more detail and told you more about why our honey is so special.
Why does our honey taste different?
For a start, we don’t treat, heat or blend our honey. What you eat is as it comes out of the hive. We filter only once to remove debris (because you wouldn’t want to eat bits of bees legs would you?). The majority of honey on supermarket shelves are blends of honey from different countries or blends of honey and non-honey products such as syrups or processed sugar and are usually pasteurised.
Our current range of raw monofloral honeys are harvested from the flora of a number of species of eucalyptus trees native to Australia and popularly known as Yellow Box, Grey Iron Bark, Stringy Bark and Apple Tree. Because our honeys are monofloral, that is, sourced predominantly from a single plant species, they have a distinct taste, fragrance and flavour. We know the provenance of our honey because our artisanal beekeepers take their hives to forests where the individual species of eucalyptus predominate. Each of these Eucalyptus species have different pollen types which give our honeys their individual flavours.
- Yellow box or eucalyptus melliodora is a common species, found in the Australian states of Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. One of Australia’s premium sources of honey, it flowers from August to December (springtime in Australia). Yellow box honey is the most popular variety of honey in Australia.
- Grey Iron Bark or eucalyptus paniculata is found in the states of New South Wales and Victoria. It does not flower every year but has large flowerings every few years in the cooler months, making it an important source of pollen and nectar when other nectar sources are in short supply.
- Stringy Bark or eucalyptus caliginosa trees are found in the Northern Tablelands in northern New South Wales. It flowers during late autumn and into winter.
- Apple Tree or Angophora Floribunda, is also known as rough-barked apple or as eucalyptus florida. Found in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria, it flowers in the Australian summer months of December, January and February.
The individual taste of our honeys is influenced not only by the flora of each tree species butthe individual provenance and terroir of the sites where our bees collect their pollen. Different climatic conditions prevailing from year to year and in individual forests also affect the pollen and thus the flavour of the honey.
Unlike processed honeys, our honeys will have different tastes from year to year, depending on climate and conditions in the forests. We divide our honeys into four main flavour categories – delicate, mild, rich and strong – to help customers select a product to suit their taste.
Our bees are not exposed to antibiotics or chemicals which increase their natural resistance and health and ensures the honey they produce has a completely natural flavour.
Are Eucalyptus trees unique to Australia?
Eucalyptus trees are native to Australia and dominant in the Australian landscape. The seeds of eucalyptus trees were brought to Britain after European settlement in Australia. Some varieties of eucalyptus trees were introduced to other parts of the world in the early 20th century.
Other countries with eucalyptus trees, including Italy, Spain, Portugal and Israel also produce raw eucalyptus honey but they may have a different taste to Australian honey depending on the floral variety and prevailing and changing climactic conditions.
Are there any health benefits?
The common home remedy for sore throats and coughs of having a teaspoon of honey with lemon juice and warm water is a favourite across the world. But what you must remember; a teaspoon of honey from a processed, pasteurised or blended honey (the one bought from a supermarket and that you might have in your kitchen cupboard) does not deliver any health benefits. If you want to use honey for your health, you need to buy a jar of raw honey – like ours!.
Raw honey is known to have a number of health and well-being effects. Many of these are related to raw honey’s antioxidant, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Raw honey has been used widely in traditional medicine, including to treat respiratory illnesses, gastrointestinal diseases and fungal infections, heal wounds and aid in digestion.
Raw eucalyptus honey, in particular, is thought to have antiseptic benefits so are good for healing wounds, ulcers and sores, as well as being good natural remedies for respiratory ailments and energy boosters. More details on the benefits of eucalyptus honey are available here.
Australian raw monofloral honey has prebiotic potential. Research led by Dr Nural Cokcetin of the Oz Honey Project demonstrates that Australian honey supports the growth of good bacteria and suppresses the growth of bad bacteria.
Raw honey is also known to help in treating acne, aiding the recovery of hangovers, improving sleep and boosting memory. Check out these useful guides here, here and here for more tips on the advantages of eating raw honey.
So there you go! Hopefully, we have answered any questions you may have about our honey or raw in general. However, if you still have any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact us via our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages – we would be more than happy to answer your questions.
Coming up next on the Gustare Honey blog: Introducing Manuka Jellybush honey