Rosh Hashanah is right around the corner (Erev Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown on Sunday, September 9). I always look forward to the tradition of eating apples and honey, matzo ball soup, brisket, and cake! Every year, many of us focus on the apples at Rosh Hashanah, since they are an important symbol of the holiday (when dipped in honey to represent the wish for a sweet year). But, with so many other important traditions, why should the apples get all the love? Today, I’ve chosen to focus on the different types of honey (there are 300, but I’ll only spotlight a handful of them!)
For many people, their only experience with honey is the kind that’s sitting on the grocery store’s shelves in a cute little bear squeeze bottle or a glass jar with flowers on the label. But, there is so much more to honey. Here is a sampling of the varieties that are available:
- Clover honey is produced by both Canada and New Zealand. There’s a good chance that you may have enjoyed this honey previously, as it’s a very popular honey that is widely available. This type of honey will typically be lighter in color from white to light amber tones as the nectar from the clover comes from white blossoms.The taste of this honey is mild with a touch of floral sweetness. This honey is great for baking.
- Sourwood honey comes from sourwood trees that are located in the Appalachian Mountains which run from Northern Georgia up to Southern Pennsylvania. As the flowers the nectar comes from are white, you can expect this to be another honey that comes in a very light color. This honey has a scent that evokes anise, spices, and sweetness and will leave you with a pleasant aftertaste that lingers. Despite its name, some say that it has almost a butter or caramel flavor. This is very tasty when used as a spread.
- Buckwheat honey is a very dark honey that resembles the molasses and malt that it tastes like. This honey is another with a very strong flavor that is not popular with everyone, and it can have a lingering aftertaste that stays with you. This honey is produced in New York, Ohio, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania from buckwheat flowers.
- Acacia honey is a light and clear honey made from nectar collected from the blossoms of the Black Locust in North America and Europe. Acacia cleanses the liver, regulates the intestine, and is anti-inflammatory for the respiratory system. The sweetness of this honey perfectly balances the salty tang of cheese.
For more details on all the types of honey available, visit https://www.bjcp.org/mead/floral_guide.pdf.
Whether you enjoy your honey poured from a plastic bear, or try one of the 299 other varieties available, we wish you and your family L’shana tova — a sweet and happy Jewish New Year!