Now that the season has come to an end and our hives have been buttoned up for winter, we wanted to reflect a little on the product itself.
We have heard comments from people that have seen our honey and noticed its light color and then asked us questions. We didn’t have the answers, so decided to go looking into the subject. Below are a few things we discovered in our quest for answers.
In our pantry at home, we have 3 separate jars of honey and each is different in color. Because honey gets its color from nectar, and honeybees collect nectar throughout the year from plants that blossom at different seasonal times, hives can produce variations in honey color each season.
The honey samples pictured above came from 3 different sources. Notice the difference in color. The color differences are not indicative of product quality, just taste that is dependent upon nectar sources visited by the honeybees. Generally, lighter colored honey is the mildest while darker colored honey if the strongest in flavor.
Starting at the top of the plate, you’ll see this is the lightest color of the three. This is the honey we harvested from our own hives this fall. We are in New Berlin, so the bees would have collected nectar and pollen from nearby areas encompassing a few miles from this hive location.
Moving clockwise, you’ll see a slightly darker colored honey pictured to the right of the top. This honey originated from various beekeepers located in Waukesha County. The honeybees would have covered a much broader collection area.
The third honey sample pictured at the bottom of the plate, is considerable darker than the other two. This honey came from hives located in Georgia.
Color Classifications | Taste | Source
The US Department of Agriculture classified honey color into 7 categories ranging from “Water White” to “Dark Amber”.
This honey wheel below explores the nuances your taste buds may experience while sampling honey.
As mentioned above, the nectar the bees collect influence the color of the honey they produce.
Below are potential nectar sources the bees may be drawing from to create their own unique color of honey. This is not an all-inclusive list.
After reviewing other sources, we think our “Water White” honey came from area white clover and alfalfa fields. Our hives are near both a large park area as well as area crop fields, so the likelihood of these elements contributing to our batch seem pretty plausible.
We’ve since spread a lot of wildflower seed throughout the field grass areas on our property and will be curious if this has any effect on next year’s honey. Stay tuned.
Finally, we hope we’ve inspired some of you out there to give beekeeping a whirl. It wasn’t as difficult as we thought it would be and the rewards reaped by the environment make it definitely worth it. More BEE talk to come in 2022!
“If I was a flower growing wild and free
All I’d want is you to be my sweet honey bee…..”Barry Louis Polisar