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Why Does Honey Taste Bitter? Because of This!

Bee honey is among the most important nutrients nature offers us.

It is added to drinks and food items, helping to improve the body’s immunity to infections and diseases.

We learnt about the anti-bacterial and other healthy advantages of honey a long time ago.

However, this article discusses why naturally sweet honey can be bitter.

Why does honey taste bitter?

When bees get their nectar from flowers such as rapeseed, lavender, dandelion, cornflower, linden, and heather, or from coniferous trees, the resulting honey is usually bitter. Honey’s color and flavor depend on the source from which the honeybees obtain their nectar. A honeybee hive tends to obtain nectar from the same kind of plant until they exhaust the resource. As a result, honey is bitter because the honeybees gather nectar from one of the specific plants that renders honey bitter.

Is it possible for honey to be bitter?

The flavor and aroma of genuine honey is affected by essential oils derived from nectar.

As such, nectar derived from specific plants can have a slight or sharp bitterness.

The honey’s color, smell, and taste depend almost entirely on the variety of plants from which the bees gather nectar.

The nectar from coniferous trees such as heather, linden, dandelions, cornflower, and rapeseed can lead to bitter honey.

Honeydew is the honey produced when nectar is harvested from chestnut flowers.

Mature natural bee products have the consistency of thick syrup, which can be prone to sugaring when stored.

Types of honey which are inherently bitter

In speaking about honey, the term buckwheat signifies that this kind of honey has come from bees that harvested their nectar from flowering buckwheat.

Indeed, the industry standard is to name honey by the source from which the bees obtained their nectar.

Buckwheat

So, buckwheat. Buckwheat honey has a distinctive appearance. Its color is nearly black, certainly dark brown.

Buckwheat honey crystallizes very slowly. All the while, its color grows more vibrant.

It has a strong and pleasant scent of buckwheat flower and a sweet, spicy, slightly burnt flavor.

Chestnut

Honey from the nectar of edible chestnuts has a color that is heavily influenced by the amount of honeydew within the nectar.

The color range of chestnut honey goes from tan to black.

In general, it is a dark brown hue but occasionally presents with an amber-colored accent.

The flavor of this variety is very distinctive, and few people would confuse it with honey produced from the nectar of other flowers.

The flavor of chestnut honey is herbal, spicy, and bitter-sweet. It is high in tannins, mineral salts, and it is also an excellent source of fructose.

Chestnut honey is not susceptible to crystallization.

Coniferous

Honey made from nectar gathered from coniferous trees has a gray-green hue and a strong, spicy scent.

It comprises honeydew sugar with many nitrogen compounds, dextrins, and other healthy trace elements.

The taste of this honey is mild, not overly sweet, yet ever-so-slightly bitter too.

Cornflower

It is distinguished by a deep, greenish-yellow hue and an intense flavor that lingers in the mouth for a long time afterward.

In this respect, it is much the same as honey from the heather.

The scent of cornflower is a strong indicator of the source of this honey.

Upon opening a can of cornflower honey, most people will instantly know the flower from which the bees harvested their nectar.

Dandelion

Dandelion honey has a light cream color, in a palette of shades ranging from yellow to a pale brown.

It is among one of the most delicious varieties of honey.

Dandelion honey is accompanied by the delicate yet strong scent of dandelion flowers.

Fall

Unlike other honey, this fall honey does not come from the nectar of a flower.

Instead, bees obtain this nectar from the saliva of certain insects that live on the leaves of trees.

Fall honey is black at first, but the color changes depending on the type of tree (coniferous or deciduous) on which the bees find the nectar-giving insects.

Once fall honey has crystallized, its color will be either light or dark brown.

Honey from nectar the bees get from insects living on deciduous trees has a delicate and gentle aroma.

However, such honey has a distinctive bitter taste that doesn’t please everyone.

The nectar gathered from conifers has a softer, slightly resinous flavor.

Goldenrod

Goldenrod honey is a rare honey variety from south Russia, predominantly from Crimea and the Krasnodar Territory.

The bees collect their nectar from goldenrod flowers, and their honey is a light yellow or light amber hue.

Sweet yet bitter and sour at the same time, goldenrod honey offers a complex taste that many people find highly enjoyable.

This makes it one of the most expensive types of honey on the market.

The scent of this honey is pleasant and smells a lot like fresh lemon.

Heather

Honey by bees that gather their nectar from heather flowers is characterized by a distinctive scent of heather.

Unfortunately, that scent fades rather rapidly.

The reason for the rapid disappearance of the smell of heather is that the nectar is home to several essential oils and over 120 aromatic compounds.

Honey from heather is distinguished by a soft, slightly bitter, herbal flavor.

The honey comes in various shades, ranging from light amber to amber as dark as tea.

The honey of heather has an unmistakable jelly-like texture.

Lavender

Lavender honey is widely recognized as one of the best kinds of honey. It is made from nectar bees get from tiny bluish-purple blooms of the lavender plant.

Lavender honey is a light cream, light golden, or yellow color. It has the sweet fragrance of lavender flowers.

However, along with its strong aroma, lavender has a slight bitterness.

Lavender honey is one of those types of honey which leaves behind a lingering spicy taste in your mouth for a long time.

Lime

Lime honey is regarded as the best quality honey for taste. In its liquid form, it’s sweet, but it gets a little sharper in its candied form.

Lime honey can be slightly bitter, but most people don’t seem to mind, as the bitterness is never very strong.

Liquid lime honey ranges from yellowish-green to an amber-like light hue, similar to lavender honey.

Rapeseed

In its liquid state, rapeseed honey is either straw-colored or nearly transparent.

After crystallization, rapeseed honey develops an ivory or white color.

One of the most distinctive features of this honey is its ability to crystallize rapidly.

The scent and taste of both the crystallized and liquid forms of rapeseed honey are light and fresh, similar to the scent and taste of the rapeseed flower itself.

Frequently Asked Questions About Why Does Honey Taste Bitter

How much honey does a single bee produce in its lifetime?

A single bee produces around a twelfth of a teaspoon of honey over the six weeks of its brief lifetime. Over the course of a year, beekeepers collect about 330 lbs of premium honey from a single beehive.

How long can honey last?

Archaeologists discovered honey within the burial chamber of the Egyptian Pharoah Tutankhamun. Astonishingly, the honey was still edible and fit for human consumption. This means that we have proof honey can last for at least 2,000 years.

What is the best practice for storing honey?

It is advisable to keep honey in a tightly sealed container made from ceramic, wood, or glass since honey absorbs water and foreign odors. Honey is best stored in a dry, cool space at temperatures between 40°F and 60°F.

Afterword: Why does honey taste bitter?

The aroma, color, flavor, and quality of honey are based nearly entirely on the kind of plants from which honeybees gather nectar.

When bees get their nectar from flowers such as rapeseed, lavender, dandelion, cornflower, linden, and heather, or from coniferous trees, the resulting honey is usually bitter.