The slightly sweet yet tart blueberry has become an indulgent fruit flavor that many certified food enthusiasts find delectable. The blueberry plant is also an important food source for nature’s best pollinators, the honeybees, to produce blueberry honey.
The Blueberry Plant
Blueberry bushes are perennial, flowering plants with leaves that are oval in shape and can be either deciduous or evergreen.
Indigenous to Canada and the Northeastern United States, these bushes generally grow wild. But in the Pacific Northwest, people plant blueberry at home for their delicious fruit.
Blueberries bear indigo-colored fruits of 5–16 millimeters in diameter, with a flared crown at the end.
The blueberry fruit, much appreciated these days in our yogurt, smoothies, and desserts, contains anthocyanins, polyphenols, and flavonoids. Blueberries have the highest antioxidant capacity among common fruits and vegetables.
Typically, blueberry bushes flower sometime in June. They provide thousands of flower buds each year, and each bud containing up to 16 blossoms. The flowers are found in clustering bunches and have a unique bell shape.
For an optimal crop of blueberries, insect pollination is required. The pollination season lasts from April to June. The peak season of flower blooming ends in July. By then, the bees start to store nectar for the coming winter and make blueberry honey.
What is Blueberry Honey?
A genuine blueberry raw honey is made from the nectars gathered solely from the beautiful tiny blossoms of blueberry plants.
A jar of this honey variety has a color ranging from light to dark amber. Its texture would be thick yet smooth. It has a warm, distinct aroma reminiscent of green leaves with a hint of lemon.
But what does blueberry honey taste like?
Well-rounded with rich earthy undertones, this honey varietal finishes on a playful, buttery-sweet note. It has a delicate tangy hint as an aftertaste. Its sturdy character evokes the wooded surroundings and acidic soil where the plants grow best.
Its storage rate is average among other honeys. Raw honey from blueberry is easily spreadable. However, it crystallizes fairly quickly because of its sucrose content, plus its high count of large pollen grains. Just subject the jar into a warm water bath to bring it back to its natural liquid consistency.
What is Blueberry Honey Good For?
There are more ways than one to enjoy a jar of Blueberry honey.
One of the qualities of Blueberry Honey is its full-bodied flavor. It is a great addition to your kitchen pantry. It works great in cooking, baking, sauces, or swirled into plain yogurt for added flavor and sweetness. For any recipe calling for any variety of honey, it is a perfect choice.
The taste components match well with ingredients such as ginger, melons, nutmeg, sour cream, and walnuts in your recipes. The bold and buttery finish of this honey makes for dynamic pairings with Stilton, goat cheese, or blue cheese.
Its spreadable texture makes this honey ideal for use on pancakes. Or, drizzle on any type of biscuit or bread, particularly whole-grain varieties.
You will love the natural sweetness of this honey as a substitute for sugar in any recipe. It will definitely add zing to ice cream or melons and cranberry.
Mix this honey with vinaigrette for a great salad dressing. Blend it with any fruit for a delicious smoothie or add to your lemon juice for a refreshing lemonade. Or, add this honey to your tea and coffee for a healthier drink.
Try incorporating it in a honey cocktail. Its richness plays off the sweetness of dark rum and the fresh hint of lemon juice.
Health Benefits of Blueberry Honey
The high carbohydrate and calorie content of Blueberry honey mean it should be consumed in moderation.
Promoting overall health, its inherent immuno-boosting properties have made this honey a go-to choice for numerous health-related uses.
Just like buckwheat honey and manuka honey, blueberry honey has very strong antioxidant and antimicrobial powers compared to other honey.
Packed with loads of antioxidants and enhanced with intense healing properties, this varietal is known to treat not only daily issues but as well as chronic illnesses.
The antioxidants naturally help fight the damage that free radicals can do while preventing the illnesses they cause.
The anthocyanins, polyphenols, and flavonoids compounds in blueberries have anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic effect mechanisms. Hence, it may also cure chronic diseases, cancer, and heart disease.
Anthocyanosides help to prevent diabetics from injuries caused by malfunction of synthesis activities throughout normal diabetic medical treatment. Blueberry anthocyanins help in battling common everyday issues like gastrointestinal ailments and the flu as well. This honey is effective for dressing open wounds and burns and as a topical skincare treatment.
Parents in need of a good night’s sleep also credit raw blueberry honey as a remedy for common colds. It is also a natural cough suppressant, given its ability to soothe the throat.
However, only raw blueberry honey offers these benefits. Remember, most pollen and propolis lose their health benefits when honey undergoes ultra-filtration and pasteurization.
Difficulty in Finding Blueberry Honey
This honey possesses the same health benefits as the blueberries themselves. Thus, this delicious and medicinal honey is a way to introduce antioxidants into your diet without compromising on taste. But, there is a catch.
Eating hard-to-find authentic blueberry honey does not actually equate to savoring fresh blueberries.
Blueberry bush requires cooler, temperate climates to flourish. Hence, the production of this varietal is more common in a relatively small region of America or other nations. This honey is very common in Maine, Michigan, New England, Oregon, New Jersey, California, Florida, and Georgia.
Moreover, it takes a good amount of work for beekeepers to produce this honey.
When some blueberry honey do manage to make their way, it is more likely to have come from a secondary production state.
Pollens from blueberries are sticky and heavy.
It means that the plants are not self-pollinating and the wind does not help that much. Native bees often extend assistance and are better pollinators than honeybees.
Migratory beekeeping may help in producing more honey. When the blueberry bushes are in bloom, hives are placed in the blueberry fields. Beekeepers practice strategic apiary location to help our six-legged friends perform the necessary pollination.
These factors combine to limit the blueberry honey quantity and make it more of a regional than national variety. That is why the yield is low and the honey is rather difficult to find for purchase. It is still worth finding, though.
These are but a few reasons why it can be difficult to find Blueberry Honey.
A Word of Advice
Be wary of some sellers promoting their products as pure and raw honey from blueberry.
Be sure when reading the label as most are just blueberry-flavored honey. Only a few are real blueberry blossom honey.
Some may claim a jar as blueberry honey but it may only be a “blueberry-flavored honey’. It may just be another common varietal like wildflower or orange blossom honey mixed with blueberry extract to get that blueberry taste.
It is always best to check out local beekeepers for a jar of pure and raw honey of any variety.