Its name seems like something just out of a fairy tale while the mere mention of it evokes the magic of summer. But what is orange blossom honey? Is it as magical as it sounds and how can you purchase some? Find out in this article dedicated to this fragrant natural delight.
Orange blossom honey is a widely known variety of monofloral honey made from the flowers of citrus trees. In addition to possessing a golden-amber hue, it also comes with a slight citrus fragrance. Interestingly it contains a small amount of caffeine.
In this article, we shall be discussing the key characteristics which make it what it is. We shall also be examining what makes it so good for you, and the best sources for obtaining it as well.
Orange Blossom Honey: Its Source and Characteristics
As noted above, orange blossom honey is drawn from the flowers of citrus trees.
Citrus Tree Flowers
These crops are actually believed to have first been cultivated in Asia’s warmer regions — southeast Asia, to be precise — before spreading to the rest of the world via trade and military conquest.
In spite of the widespread belief in citrus trees’ fondness for sunshine, they are, botanically speaking, considered to be subtropical plants — certain subtropical regions are also known to play an important role in the production of honey.
And while they generally thrive between temperatures of 70°F (21°C) to 90°F (32°C), they are actually capable of holding up remarkably well between temperatures of 55°F (13°C) to 100°F (38°C).
The appearance of their blossoms happens to begin in winter, and by spring, their flowers are in full bloom. Citrus trees are known for producing an abundance of scented flowers which typically possess five petals and are white in color. In fact, just 1% of them get to become fertilized and produce the immense quantities of fruit we all get to enjoy — a true testament to the vast numbers in which these blooms are produced.
Fun fact: Citrus flowers such as those of lemon or orange trees are actually self-pollinating. However, those which receive a helping hand from bees or butterflies will produce significantly more fruit compared to those which aren’t that lucky.
One key characteristic of citrus plants is their rather lengthy flowering period. Favorable weather conditions and ample time provide honey bees with an excellent opportunity to gather as much nectar as possible from these sweet-smelling blooms and to manufacture an abundance of the golden syrup known as orange blossom honey.
Orange Blossom Honey Characteristics
This variety of honey which comes with a mild citrus fragrance also has the distinction of containing small amounts of caffeine. This is due to the fact that the chemical compound is present in the nectar produced by citrus flowers.
Another distinguishing feature of this summer-scented nectar is its low pollen content which can make it an excellent choice for anyone who is allergic to it.
Orange blossom honey is also rich in antioxidants such as flavonoids. These chemical compounds are known to actively combat the adverse effects of free radicals (unstable atoms which are very likely to latch onto anything they can find causing cellular damage in the process), which include aging and numerous health conditions.
Due to its hydrogen peroxide content, it is also a rather efficient natural antibacterial agent capable of keeping harmful microbes at bay.
The marvels noted above are by no means all there are to be found in orange blossom honey and we shall be delving into a number of its main characteristics and some of the best spots which are known to sell this citrus-scented natural sweetener.
What Does Orange Blossom Honey Taste Like?
One of the main distinguishing features of this light golden treat is its slight citrus flavor.
This quality is hardly surprising due to the tendency of citrus plants to infuse just about everything associated with them with their characteristic refreshing, zesty fragrance — fruit, leaves, and nectar included.
Compared to other kinds of honey, this variety is rather quite sweet and has also been described as having a slight hint of acidity.
What Are The Benefits of Orange Blossom Honey?
In addition to its lovely citrus zing, this variety of honey also comes with the following benefits:
- Wound healing
- Antioxidant protection
- Varied mineral content
1. Wound Healing
Did you know certain health care professionals rely on the use of medical-grade honey to tend wounds?
One of the reasons it may be used as a natural healing agent is due to the high concentration of sugar it contains which enables it to draw out water from wounds, facilitating the healing process.
Bacteria are none too fond of acids and its rather low pH (between 3.0 – 4.0) means that orange blossom honey is capable of eliminating those mini bugs and keeping wounds infection-free.
Thanks to the presence of a handy little enzyme known as glucose oxidase, this pale gold nectar-like all other varieties of honey, will produce hydrogen peroxide as water accumulates in a wound. That’s right, bleach by any other name, and in this case, good for you, and bad for the invading army of bugs.
2. Antioxidant Protection
Orange blossom honey contains a number of potent antioxidants including flavonoids such as galangin, hesperetin, and luteolin. These powerful compounds have been proven to provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection, and may also play a role in cancer prevention.
3. Varied Mineral Content
Researchers which took a peek at the mineral content of orange blossom honey found boron, calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium, selenium, sodium, and zinc, present in it.
These minerals have numerous benefits which include the formation of red blood cells, the maintenance of the musculoskeletal system, the regulation of blood sugar, and the reduction of inflammation.
Where Can I Buy Orange Blossom Honey and How Much Does It Typically Cost?
It’s pretty easy to envisage orange blossom honey as a rather rare treat and one that’s only likely to be accessible to anyone lucky enough to live in close proximity to scented orange and lemon groves.
But nothing could be further from the truth. What’s more, it might even be closer to you than you think thanks to vendors specializing in different varieties of high-quality natural fare such as those listed below:
Savannah Bee Company: An outfit dedicated to helping bees and supporting local beekeepers, the Savannah Bee Company also specializes in a wide range of natural products, including several varieties of honey.
Its Orange Blossom Honey has been sourced from central Florida’s citrus groves and is actually the first harvest of the season.
Smiley Honey: Located in sunny Florida, a state renowned for its delicious Tupelo honey, Smiley Honey specializes in natural products including its Orange Blossom Honey also sourced from central Florida.
Winter Park Honey: An Amazon-based purveyor of an extensive range of unfiltered and unheated varieties of natural nectar, Winter Park Honey is a family-owned business dedicated to helping bees do what they alone do best: create amazing honey.
Its Raw Orange Blossom Honey has also been harvested from central Florida and is filled with the flavors of summer which make it an excellent choice of sweetener for your favorite beverages.
In What Locations Is Orange Blossom Honey Produced?
Citrus trees tend to thrive in areas that produce loads of sunshine (it encourages them to produce loads of fruit). They also prefer well-drained soil and plenty of rain. That said, they don’t do too well in the presence of extreme frost.
Certain nations that possess a winning combination of the specified climatic factors include France, Israel, Italy, and Spain. As a result, they are also renowned producers of orange blossom honey.
The United States also belongs in such a select group with sunny states such as California, Florida, and Texas, being responsible for most of the production.
Is Orange Blossom Honey Seasonal or Available All Year Round?
Although citrus trees start to produce flowers in winter, their white zesty blooms fully blossom in spring.
In warmer climates in the United States, beekeepers take their beehives to pollinate citrus groves between the months of March and April, i.e., the earlier part of the season. During this pollination period, the bees are collecting the nectar to make the honey.
As a result, orange blossom honey may be considered to be seasonal.
Does Orange Blossom Honey Crystalize in Winter?
Will your golden nectar swap its pleasant runny consistency for a more solidified form when the frost sets in?
As a matter of fact, it will. This is due to the citrus-flavored syrup’s relatively high glucose content.
Less soluble than fructose, this simple sugar will latch onto traces of pollen or propolis to create one crystal after another until the entire jar is filled with them.
Raw honey is particularly susceptible to such an occurrence due to its high content of pollen, propolis, and other particles which encourage crystallization. Honey which has been filtered, on the other hand, may take a little longer to morph from its smooth viscosity into a semisolid mass, since the majority of such particles will be absent from it.
If you want to know more about “what raw unfiltered honey is” we have a whole article on the topic that would be worth the read.
The Wrap Up
It’s filled with the magic of spring and comes in a delightful golden-amber hue reminiscent of summer. But it’s true claim to fame lies in its delicate fragrance and mild citrus flavor. One of the sweeter varieties of honey, it also has the distinction of containing a small amount of caffeine.
And although it’s prone to crystallization, it also comes packed with powerful antioxidants and minerals which are capable of keeping the damage caused by free radicals and infections at bay, while also keeping you healthy.
With all these amazing qualities, it’s little wonder that orange blossom honey is one of the most sought-after varieties of this marvelous superfood, on the globe.