You’ve probably heard about the exquisite taste and various health benefits of wildflower honey. But you don’t know what it is exactly and how it’s different from regular honey. We’ve done the research and have the answers to your questions.
As the name suggests, wildflower honey comes from nectar from flowers and blossoms that grow naturally in the wild. Its taste, color, and aroma vary depending on the season and region as different flowers are dominant in different meadows. Raw, unfiltered wildflower honey is healthier than commercial honey.
Read on to learn the characteristics of wildflower honey, including its taste and appearance as well its health benefits. And we’ll tell you where you can buy it.
What Is Wildflower Honey?
To make wildflower honey, bees collect the nectars from various species of flowers that are in bloom in local meadows. For this reason, this type of honey is categorized as polyfloral, that is, containing nectars from multiple floral sources.
The composition of the honey varies depending on season and location. Spring and summer harvests usually contain different proportions of clover, apple blossom, tulip tree, blackberry, raspberry, yellow rocket, and milkweed. In contrast, fall batches tend to have pollen from goldenrod, dandelion, peppermint, lemon balm, and chicory.
Given the diversity, even two batches from the same farm aren’t likely to be identical because they’re derived from different sources.
Since the nectars come from naturally grown plants, the honey isn’t affected by harmful chemicals, pesticides, or insecticides. Wildflower honey is the most natural form of honey available, as no agricultural machinery and operations are involved.
The main components of wildflower honey are fructose, glucose, and water. It also has small amounts of minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and proteins, depending on the exact sources the bees used to make it.
Wildflower Honey vs. Regular Honey
Raw wildflower honey comes directly from the beehive with minimal processing. It’s usually bottled after passing through a mesh or nylon filter that eliminates larger impurities such as honeycomb bits, broken bee wings, and dead bees. The natural pollen and nutritional compounds particles are still present and contribute to the health benefits of the honey.
Commercial honey, however, is usually processed and pasteurized to kill a bacteria known as Clostridium botulinum, which is dangerous for newborns and infants.
This bacteria can also lead to paralysis and death, in rare cases. While deadly for newborns, adults usually have enough gut bacteria to fight it. So, raw wildflower honey is unlikely to cause serious health problems among adults.
Apart from being safer, pasteurized honey looks smoother, doesn’t crystalize, and has a longer shelf life. But the process kills all the healthy nutrients, pollens, and enzymes in the honey, meaning that commercial honey has almost no health benefits.
What Does Wildflower Honey Taste Like?
Wildflower honey tastes rich and fruity, and because it’s polyfloral, its taste is distinct from mono-floral types of honey. Spring and summer pollen from blackberries, blueberries, and apple blossoms contribute to the fruitiness, while batches produced in fall often taste earthy.
However, each batch may taste intense or delicate, depending on its dominant pollen source. For example, tulip tree pollen gives the honey a crispy, rich flavor, while dandelion increases the sweetness and leaves an astringent aftertaste. Goldenrod, on the other hand, adds a mild buttery flavor.
Since wildflower honey contains no additives or artificial sweeteners, it’s not as sweet as the commercial honey you buy at the supermarket.
What Does Wildflower Honey Look Like?
Wildflower honey is characterized by its cloudy appearance. Unfiltered honey looks even cloudier because it contains impurities such as honeycomb fragments and pollen.
Like the taste, the appearance is determined by season and the predominant floral source of the honey. The color varies from yellow to amber, dark amber, dark red, and brown, with late summer and early fall batches usually having deeper tones.
What Are the Benefits of Wildflower Honey?
There are some that believe unprocessed wildflower honey can assist in the management of various health problems ranging from hiccups and fatigue to asthma, diabetes, and even cancer! However, remember that only unprocessed, unheated honey works this way. Regular, pasteurized honey isn’t all that beneficial. We recommend you always seek medical advice from a medical professional.
Here are some of the most significant health benefits of wildflower honey:
Rich Source of Antioxidants
Wildflower honey is rich in antioxidants (the molecules that prevent cell damage caused by free radicals—dangerous chemical compounds linked to cancer, diabetes, and heart disease).
The actual amount of antioxidants in each batch can vary from 3.5 percent to 15.8 percent of its weight, depending on the nectar sources. Therefore, having one or two teaspoons of wildflower honey every day can contribute to good gut health.
Dark-colored batches of wildflower honey tend to have a higher antioxidant concentration.
Natural Cough Remedy
Multiple research projects have evaluated the cough-soothing effects of organic honey and have reported similar results.
One study found that wildflower honey is just as effective as two of the most common over-the-counter cough medications: dextromethorphan and levodropropizine. The results showed that drinking a cup of milk with roughly a tablespoon of wildflower honey for three consecutive nights reduces coughing among children by 80%!
Relieves Seasonal Allergies
Airborne flower pollen is a major cause of seasonal allergies. Bees collect the same pollen and turn it into honey. So, consuming honey can be similar to taking allergy shots—taking low doses of an allergen to treat allergy symptoms.
According to a study in 2013, you need to regularly consume two teaspoons of honey every day for at least four to eight weeks to see improvements, which will last until almost a month even if you stop the treatment.
Interestingly, some people can be allergic to wildflower honey itself. According to one study, this type of honey has two specific proteins that may cause allergic reactions.
Kills Bacteria and Fungi
Scientists have known for a long time that honey has antibacterial properties. In a study on 57 blossom honeys, wildflower honey showed the highest ability to kill bacteria. This is because it contains ample amounts of hydrogen peroxide—a naturally occurring disinfectant.
Besides killing microbes and bacteria, honey keeps wounds moist, prevents reinfection, and promotes tissue regeneration thanks to its acidic pH. Moreover, the glucose and fructose in honey absorb the water in infected cells and prevent bacteria from multiplying.
Where Can I Buy Wildflower Honey?
The best way to get wildflower honey is to buy it directly from local producers. Most reputable sellers also offer their products online, either through their own websites or on Amazon.
According to New York Magazine, you can buy high-quality products from Andrew’s Honey and the Savannah Bee Corporation. Also, Beekeeper’s Naturals, Nate’s Nature Store, and Sandt’s Honey have multiple high-rated items on Amazon. Amazon itself offers a wildflower honey brand with many five-star reviews.
Regardless of the brand, always buy raw, unfiltered, and unprocessed products. Sometimes, farmers apply heat to their honey to improve its appearance and consistency. Steer clear from honey that looks darkened or burned because it’s been overheated and has no nutritional value.
How Much Does Wildflower Honey Cost?
The price of wildflower honey varies from one producer to another since each one has a unique method and scale of operation. Local farmers can set vastly different prices, but medium-sized companies often sell their products at around $0.70 to $1.40 per ounce. However, it’s not unusual to see prices that are slightly lower or higher. And if you buy larger containers (e.g., 1 gallon), you can usually get sweet deals!
Looking for more different and interesting honey varieties? We have done a ton of research for you. If you are interested the article is called, Honey Varieties You Should Discover.
In What Locations Is Wildflower Honey Produced?
Almost all US states produce some type of wildflower honey. North Dakota is the country’s top honey-producing state. Besides clover and alfalfa, its wildflower honey may include nectars from the state’s predominant wildflowers such as harebell, blue lettuce, and wild liquorice. So, it tastes mild and buttery.
Florida is famous for mild-flavoured floral honey. Montana, California, and Georgia also have delicious wildflower honey. The National Honey Board features a list of honey producers from around the country.
Is Wildflower Honey Seasonal or Available All Year Round?
Wildflower honey is produced in the spring, summer, and fall, but it’s available throughout the year. The honey’s taste, color, and aroma vary each season since different flowers are in bloom.
Spring and early summer honey can taste citrusy and mild, but late summer and early fall harvests are often earthy and have a stronger flavor.
Does Wildflower Honey Crystalize in Winter?
Like any other form of honey, wildflower honey is saturated with glucose, which can crystalize in cold weather or simply over time. Raw, unfiltered honey is more susceptible to crystallization, but the extent depends on the batch’s actual composition.
If your wildflower honey has crystalized, do not apply direct heat or put it in the microwave. Instead, place the jar in a pan of warm water—not hot or boiling—and wait until the crystals disappear. This way, you can retain most of the nutrients and preserve quality.
Maybe you’re like us and enjoy tasting honey from different origins and regions or maybe you’re just realizing that there is more to honey than what you see on the supermarket shelves.
We have done the research for you on a whole range of varieties of honey for you. Below is a list of different types of honey from different floral origins and regions. If you are interested check them out, Honey Varieties You Should Discover.
Other than the sources I’ve linked to in the text, I used these articles: