Why Does Honey Vary in Color Texture and Taste?

It may have never crossed your mind but there are as many types as honey as there are types of flowers. And would you believe they can vary drastically in taste, color, and texture... keep reading to learn a little more about...

I alluded to what causes the variations in the paragraph above the graphic.  And the simple answer, taste, color and texture are determined by the nectar source the bees gather.

(Fun Fact:  Honeys "flavored" by the flowers they visit are known as varietal honey)  

For example, most people are familiar with clover honey.  Clover is an abundant flower that bees love to visit and gather nectar to take back to the hive.  The bees take this nectar and stir it and fan it until the water content drops and it becomes the thick syrupy goodness we love to enjoy in various ways.  This is the taste that most people associate with honey.  Mildly sweet with a pleasant taste.  (In the picture above the clover is second from the left.)  

Now picture instead a field of lavender.  Lavender has a very distinct smell.  The smell is one of the properties of lavender that makes it unique.  I'm sure you can imagine that honey produced primarily from this flower might taste drastically different than honey produced from clover blossoms.  

Taste can also be affected by the container and care taken during storage.  Glass containers maintain the honey's original taste (if cleaned properly prior to filling).  Plastic and metal containers can leach chemicals into the honey and can alter the taste.

So that accounts for the taste difference.  Color and texture can both be dependent on the same factors.  

Raw honey can vary in color from very dark to almost colorless depending on floral source.  Color can also be affected by age as honey generally gets darker with age.  Another factor in honey color is the crystallization process.  Honey generally appears lighter when cyrstallized.  

And that leaves us with texture.  Texture can be dependent on the floral source.  Clover honey tends to have a creamy consistency while almond and dandelion are very coarse.  This is caused by the difference in properties of the nectar source.  Some have a much lower water content and vary in chemical composition.

And that is why honey varies in taste, color, and texture.