Its rich, musky flavor was once considered too strong to be desirable but today, every honey aficionado is familiar with leatherwood honey, the variety unique to the Tasmanian temperate rainforests. In fact, in 2015 the Apimondia International Apicultural Congress voted leatherwood honey the best-tasting honey in the world.
Produced by your typical apis mellifera ligustica, it’s the flowering leatherwood tree endemic to remote parts of Tasmania that gives this honey its unique flavor profile.
Recognizable for its sharp and strong taste with low acidity levels and a buttery texture, leatherwood honey is packed with antioxidants and antibacterial effects and it’s an effective healing agent. But, since it’s endemic to Tasmania, acquiring this delicacy is no easy feat.
Read on to discover the leatherwood honey’s best features, including its taste and health benefits. We’ll also talk about the prices and the best online places to buy leatherwood honey.
What Does Leatherwood Honey Taste Like?
Leatherwood honey has a unique spicy and musky flavor with a full-bodied lingering aftertaste.
It has a strong taste that comes as a surprise to palates used to the mild flavor of traditional honey. But you’ll never regret giving it a try. With its robust aroma, it’ll awaken all of your senses and will surely please your palate. Its taste is distinctive, with balsamic notes that turn into a citrusy, flowery aftertaste.
It has a smooth and creamy texture with a sharp and savory taste. Leatherwood honey has a slightly liquid texture with an ochre-yellow color and low acidity levels. The buttery texture that melts in the mouth creates a pleasurable experience, reminiscent of the natural scent of exotic leatherwood forests.
Its unique taste, creamy texture, and low sweetness make it a perfect addition to coffee, bread, and many baked food recipes.
What Are the Benefits of Leatherwood Honey?
Honey, in general, has been a traditional source of health benefits for thousands of years, and leatherwood honey is no exception.
A Natural Healing Agent
Leatherwood honey has antibacterial properties that make it an excellent topical healing agent. It also keeps the wound moist and acts as a natural protective cover to prevent infection. This is why honey is common in treating a range of skin infections like ulcers and sores from burns and wounds.
Helps Relieve Diarrhea
Honey can help reduce the length and severity of diarrhea. This effect is also the result of antibacterial properties found in honey. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that help repair stomach and intestinal damage.
According to a study, honey can inhibit pathogens that cause diarrhea.
Reduces Acid Reflux
According to research, honey can line the esophagus and stomach, preventing the acid and undigested food from flowing upward back into the esophagus. It also prevents acid reflux by helping the sphincter tissues to regrow and heal.
Natural Cough Remedy
All types of honey, including leatherwood honey, are effective natural cough remedies. The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties are abundant in honey. The World Health Organization also regards honey as a potential remedy for cough and cold.
However, if you have an infant younger than 12 months, don’t give them honey since it can cause serious gastric problems.
Leatherwood honey contains a wide range of antioxidants known as flavonoids and phenolic acids. This antioxidant activity makes honey an effective disease-fighting agent that contributes to preventing heart attacks and cancer. Flavonoids and phenolic compounds can also help reduce blood pressure and improve the nervous system’s function.
Liver disease is another problem caused by oxidants. A study found that honey can enhance liver regeneration in rats. Plus, honey has a low glycemic index that can reduce blood sugar levels. This quality also helps people with liver problems by maintaining suitable glycogen levels in the liver.
A Healthy Sugar Replacement
Honey is a natural sweetener that can replace table sugar with similar sweetness and less adverse effects. It’s high in fructose and low in glucose, which makes it a superior alternative to sugar. However, since it contains sugar and carbohydrates, you should consume it in moderation.
Helps With Skin Problems
Honey has long been used in many cosmetic products with a host of benefits for the skin. Its anti-inflammatory effects help prevent and treat acne. It also contributes to skin rejuvenation by improving collagen building.
Where Can I buy Leatherwood honey, and How Much Does it Typically Cost?
Due to its unique flavor and a myriad of medicinal applications, the demand for leatherwood honey is increasing, with roughly 1,000 tons of the spiced honey produced each year. Although leatherwood honey is specific to Tasmania, you can buy it online from anywhere.
Local producers like The Stephens Family have been in the honey business since 1920, and they sell their products online. They have special carriages that take their beehives to the world-heritage leatherwood tree forests.
Other local producers include Simplehoney.com and The Tasmanian Honey Company that offer a wide range of Australian and Tasmanian honey varieties. The Tasmanian Honey Company’s products are also available on Amazon.
Leatherwoodhoney.com.au offers a wide range of leatherwood honey, including liquid, creamed, and candied honey.
Leatherwood honey is relatively expensive due to its limited production and uniqueness.
Prices vary depending on the producer, production styles, and shipping options. Since most producers are located in Tasmania and Australia, you should consider shipping charges, too. You can find a range of prices from $8/lb. to $35/lb.
In What Locations Is Leatherwood Honey Produced?
Produced by bees foraging the Leatherwood tree endemic to Tasmania, about 70% of all the honey in the state is of the leatherwood variety. The honey can be found on the International Ark of Taste, a list that features rare foods with exclusive cultural and historical links to a specific region.
Two leatherwood tree species produce leatherwood honey: Eucryphia Lucida and Eucryphia Milliganii. The latter is less common and grows in higher altitudes. Most of the leatherwood honey produced in Tasmania comes from the Eucryphia Lucida trees.
Leatherwood tree (Eucryphia Lucida) gets its common name from the leathery, waxy sheath on the leaves and petals. It takes around 70 years before a baby leatherwood tree reaches its nectar-producing maturity. Therefore, if anything happens to the trees, there’s no replacing them anytime soon.
The western part of Tasmania is home to more concentrated leatherwood forests, which are wetter and cooler. It’s a remote and unspoiled side of the Tasmania state island, away from large populations and industries. That’s why leatherwood honey is one of the cleanest and most organic honey types in the world.
Is Leatherwood Honey Seasonal or Available All Year Round?
Leatherwood honey may not be available all year round for multiple reasons. Beekeepers take their beehives to the deep parts of the forests through special rail carriages because no roads lead to those areas. The trees blossom in the spring and summer. Beekeepers transport their hives to the forests in January and keep them there until March when the harvest season is over.
Beekeepers export a portion of their products every year. But some years, due to different reasons like fires or low rainfall, they don’t have enough honey to export.
Does Leatherwood Honey Crystallize in Winter?
Most kinds of honey crystallize in low temperatures. Leatherwood honey candies into fine crystals, getting a firm texture, and losing its liquid and creamy form. So, make sure to store it at room temperature and keep it away from the cold.
If it does crystalize, heat it very gently for 2-3 hours until it turns liquid again. Put it in a dish full of warm water and don’t apply direct heat. It’ll remain liquid for several weeks after heating.
The Wrap Up
Leatherwood honey is a unique-tasting variety that comes from the depth of the pristine Eucryphia Lucida forests in western Tasmania.
It has a strong taste that surprises your palate the first time you taste it, but it leaves a pleasant, full-bodied aftertaste. You can use it in many food recipes, spread it on toast, or add it to water, coffee, or tea as a sweetener.
With its many health benefits, it can prevent a range of problems, from cough to cancer.