Speaking of Honey… An Informal Taste Test

08/12/2011

Food

John and I just had an informal, amateur, after dinner honey taste test.  It was interesting.  We opened four jars and we liked four jars.  I must emphasize the word amateur, folks.  I looked up the word and saw this definition:   One lacking in experience and competence in an art or science.  (ME!  Perhaps a touch of art, but really, no science beyond watching bugs and worms in my garden.)

The four jars of honey we tasted were from:

  1. Norton’s Produce, Saint Charles, Illnois, beekeeper Reid Root  (does not say whether raw or processed)
  2. Hudon’s Honey, Genoa, Illinois,  beekeeper unknown (does not say whether raw or processed)
  3. Haw Creek Honey, Asheville, North Carolina, beekeeper Greg Rogers (raw, unfiltered)
  4. Raines Honey Farm, Davis, Illinois, beekeeper unknown  (raw, unfiltered)

First we tried Reid Root’s honey from Norton’s Produce in Saint Charles.  John said the honey from Norton’s Produce was the honey of childhood.   I knew what he meant.  Strong and sweet, with an all over the tongue hint of… something.  I tried to figure out what I was tasting, the way I do with wine.  I cannot claim my undeveloped palate singled out one flavor, but clover came to mind… and I’ve never eaten clover.  (Obviously, I am not a honey or clover or science expert.)  This honey is a little cloudy, like it’s unprocessed, but the label doesn’t say.  Anyway, it’s really good.

The honey from Hudon’s has crystalized, which is fine by me.  I actually like that texture a lot.  (When I need it in liquid form, I’ll just set the jar in a bowl of warm water for a while.)  Hudon’s honey is very light and maybe the bees have access to lemon balm?  If you made a cotton candy out of honey, I think this is what it would taste like.  I could not find anything about Hudon’s online.  Every search tried to turn me toward another name, in New York.  Hudon’s Honey is different and I like it.

Haw Creek Honey is darker and richer than the others.  I L-O-V-E love a tablespoon of Haw Creek Honey on my Greek yogurt and I have had it for several months.  It’s N.C. mountain wildflower honey, so I may be a little biased since that is where I long to be.  It’s really amber, rich, and heavy on the tongue.  It makes me think of baklava, so there must be something nutty in the area.  Maybe locust or hickory?  I have no idea, just guessing.  I couldn’t find a web site for Haw Creek Honey.

Raines is a new honey to our household.  John picked it up yesterday at a steam engine show out in the country, where they have a flea market, produce, and really cool old steam engines chugging away.  It’s interesting honey.  I think it would be good as part of a marinade, or salad dressing.  It is very light and a little tart and it keeps changing every time I taste it.  In doing a little online research, I found their web site very informative and they make the cutest beeswax candles I’ve ever seen.  I think this will be excellent in my citrus teas.

We agreed that the next step is to try each with different foods and herbs, the same way we try wine.  And we agree that Reid Root’s honey from Norton’s Produce wins our taste test, hands down.  Reid’s honey does not say whether it is heated or pasteurized.  I hope it’s raw – there are a lot of good enzymes in raw honey.  Haw Creek was our second choice, and it is raw and unfiltered.

Next, the salad dressing, tea, marinade, and dessert tests.  I have a strong hunch that each of these honeys will sing louder in their own way when we mix them with herbs and foods.  Like wine, I think this experiment is on-going and will change with the day, the food,  preparation.  Stay tuned.

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4 Comments on “Speaking of Honey… An Informal Taste Test”

  1. Laura Machin Says:

    Interesting taste study! I used to drizzle honey one toast, but had to cut that treat out for my dieting efforts… But it’s The weekend, and after reading your blog, I think I’ll revisit that treat this morning!
    Darn a made a few errors in my comment here, and my iPad won’t let me go back and correct them without erasing the whole thing! So, I meant to type ON toast…
    Jeez, just made another error! I not a in that explanation! I’m stopping here….need that honey treat bad, now!

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    • mentalfarmer Says:

      You made me laugh… Early. Thanks. I can’t tell you how many errors I find in my typing the day after I publish a post. It’s embarrassing, but I am learning to live with it.

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      Reply

  2. EC Says:

    Who has 4 different jars of honey in their house? Well, I guess the Mental Farmer does, that’s who. I don’t think I have any….but I do love honey so I don’t know why I don’t have any ( am adding it to my grocery list for today – thanks for the reminder!)

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    • mentalfarmer Says:

      Believe it or not, it’s the man that brings home the honey. The best I EVER had was from bees that lived in a cranberry bog. It had these incredible cranberry undertones. All gone, though. 😦

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      Reply

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