Did you know that honey could be made from peas? Well, not directly. The clover plant is a short-lived herb and a member of the Pea family.
Its origins stem from subtropical lands' depths, making its flower one of the most commonly known to humans. In fact, the clover can be found in almost any country, except for Australia and Southeastern Asia.
You probably know it yourself. With such a high volume of this exotic annual-perennial available practically all year round, it’s no surprise that honeybees have developed a liking to its blossoms.
Clover honey is just a bit thinner than Manuka and milder than Wildflower honey. If you are conscious of what kind of honey you purchase at the supermarket - and you should be - you will notice that Clover honey is one of the lighter ambers available on the shelves.
People love it for its slightly sweet and floral flavor and take advantage of this in the kitchen.
And no, your batch is not spoilt; it is typical for the true product to follow with a grassy aftertaste from each serving.
Honey from the clover plant will make a great combination with teas, yogurts, cereals, and even salad dressings. It works well as a natural sugar source as a sweetener and syrup on toasts and pancakes, or practically anything that you would like.
While it’s excellent with food, that’s not the only good thing that comes with a bottle of Clover honey. So, what is all the craze really about? And what makes this honey so unique?
We have started from the basics to answer the questions and worked our way up to this famous Clover honey's actual secret. There must be a more significant reason behind its endorsement from so many trusted brands.
Let’s find out what that is.
As an annual plant, clovers are available regularly throughout the seasons. Unlike other bushes or gardens, they do not require repeated cultivation. The herbaceous perennials will also sprout out on their own from time to time.
Clover’s consistent growth is what makes it so preferred by the bees. You see, bees are used to having to be on the lookout for flower sources, mostly when spring has ended.
But with clover, the blossoms are ready from early March up until October. The plant is quite resilient and was created to withstand harsh conditions and sudden climate changes. So do not be surprised if you find a clover bush thriving in the hot summer.
The survival rate of the plant depends on the variety of clover being grown. For example, the red clover may not live to see the full summer blaze than the rose clover, which is better equipped to pull through droughts.
Likewise, you are more likely to notice certain varieties in the spring and others closer to the winter.
In any case, the honeybees are no discriminators and will freely feast on the nectar of these flowers. There is a bit of mutualism here between the two.
The bees love how convenient the clover is for their supplies and as multiple members of the colony join in the fields, they pick up tons of pollen to pass on to other areas. That, in a nutshell, is how clover became so common worldwide.
So, where exactly does the honey come from? Well, the bees carry the nectar back to their hives and pass on the task to their fellow workers.
The nectar is usually very watery and thin, so the bees use their wings to fan out the liquid and have the majority of the moisture evaporate. By the time they are done, thick syrup with a flowery scent is left for grabs.
The bees will store this within their honeycomb and return to it regularly when in need of an energy boost. The task of getting the honey into jars for packaging now passes on to the beekeeper.
Soon after the bees finish a batch, the keeper will come to the hive to extract the syrup. He first lightly smokes the nest to tranquilize the bees, then removes the frames of the comb.
Before setting off, he makes sure that no bees have been carried along and then heads out.
Back in the house, the keeper uses a heated knife to melt out the wax and honey mixture from the frame. The liquid is then released into an extractor so that the honey can be separated from the wax.
As the machine spins, the force of its speed sends out the sugar solution into a different compartment. The keeper can easily collect this at the end of the process and package it into airtight containers.
Otherwise, it would take a lot more work to get honey out of the mix. Technology makes everything so much easier; it is no wonder why clover honey sells at such affordable prices on the market.
The truth is, clover honey is pretty much regular honey. Whether it is specified on the bottle or assumed to be “honey”, the greater portion of commercial honey is mostly made up of clover extract.
Sadly, clover honey is not always as pure as you think. Although it is great in abundance, manufacturers usually mix it with other types like Wildflower honey or Orange Blossom honey. It is a strategy most often used to increase the yield of honey.
These are also probably added to enhance its light color and flavor and portray a sense of richness in the product, but that is unnecessary. Clover honey on its own holds more than enough benefits that many others fail to match up to.
Pure clover honey is usually stated precisely as that - pure - in its label. You should also note that the actual color of this honey is typically whitish to very light yellowish.
Different clover flower varieties will indeed give off a different hue of the syrup, but very dark shades are a sure sign that your purchase is not 100% authentic. So, beware.
Authentic clover honey is still attractive in its pricing but not as reasonable as the mixed versions.
Another common trick of producers is to substitute more than half of the jar of honey with sugar syrups high in fructose. From just the look of a bottle, it might be almost impossible to tell if it is the real deal.
Take a look at the nutritional facts at the back of the bottle. Ideally, pure clover honey should be free of any added sweeteners, gluten products, artificial flavors, or preservatives.
Gluten comes from wheat, barley, and rye; it would be extremely unusual to have these compounds in a batch of honey straight from the beekeeper’s.
Like other types of honey in the jar, artificial flavors will be used to give the product a more noticeable taste, but then your purchase will no longer be all-natural. Will it?
Remember, clover honey is lightly colored but thick in its consistency. Try scooping a spoon of it at home and allow the honey to drip back into a container. If it runs too quickly, chances are you just got duped.
Clover honey has two sides to its name. The first side is the ultra-filtered and pasteurized version made in the factories. The other is the raw, unprocessed, natural quality honey that most smart shoppers look out for.
But sometimes, it is not that easy to pinpoint whether your honey has been unadulterated.
While processed honey is sure to last longer on the shelves or in your cupboard (when not in use), the high temperatures implemented in the factories kill off the healthy compounds within the lattice of the syrup and leave you with nothing more than a container of sweet goo.
Besides, there are simple ways to keep honey fresh at home and free of crystals. Check our article and find out why honey crystallizes.
The right word of advice is to check out the product name. Most brands will call it “Clover Honey” or “Pure Honey”. But for a chance at the most authentic kind, there is, keep an eye out for labels saying “Pure Clover Honey”.
These are the ones worth your dollar because they are packed with real nutritional value.
Raw Clover honey is fat-free and nutrient-rich in every portion. But special caution should be taken - honey is also high in sugar. People with diabetes should be cautious with their consumption of all types of honey, just as they would be with any other high carbohydrate food.
However, the plus is that they will be able to reap health benefits from honey that granulated cane sugars will never come close to delivering.
Authentic clover honey, straight from the harvester, is overloaded with pollen and other natural compounds deposited from the plant itself. Many of the benefits of the clover herb are passed on in its honey.
If you have never had experience with the plant, bear in mind that it is well-known in Europe and Asia to treat skin, bone, and hormonal issues.
This is particularly true for the Red clover variety. Here is what its honey is good for:
Clover honey is packed with antioxidants and vitamins that help boost immunity and combat viral infections like the flu. Studies have shown that it has given positive results in fighting against the shingles virus and its predecessor, chickenpox.
The pollen trapped within the structure of the honey is the main reason behind this.
The more pollen, the more phenolic compounds present in the syrup, and this is especially beneficial in thick honey types like this one.
Research has proven that clover honey has one of the most potent antibacterial responses amongst the long list of honey types so far recognized by man. And while persons with diabetes should watch their honey intake, they can make great use of its antiseptic properties when treating cuts and bruises.
Clover nectar is packed with flavonols and phenolic-group antioxidants that counteract the effect body’s irritative and erosive responses to unwelcomed compounds. This makes the honey an excellent choice for coating the stomach lining for persons suffering from gastritis.
Since it is excellent at minimizing the extent of inflammation overall, the honey is also used to treat acne and replenish the skin. The richness of vitamins in the thickened nectar account for its ability to leave the skin supple and well-moisturized.
The anti-oxidizing chemicals in clover honey also protect cells and organs by reducing the level of damage caused by harmful molecules referred to as free radicals. These are some of the major cancer-causing agents in the human body. Kudos to anyone who uses clover honey to maintain a healthy heart, liver, and nervous system.
Because clover honey is such an excellent antibacterial and antifungal product, dermatologists often recommend using it regularly in hair treatments for dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis.
These scalp conditions are best targeted by applying the diluted honey directly to the affected areas for up to 3 hours, then rinsing. It would also be wise to include raw clover honey in your hair masks to help maintain healthy strands.
A teaspoon of raw clover honey will stimulate the brain to release a series of hormones that will cause a cascade of effects. The sudden uptake of syrup before bed will result in a slight increase in blood sugar, which promotes the release of tryptophan in the body.
This protein initiates the production of serotonin and melatonin, hormones mainly associated with sleep.
If you search for raw clover honey, you may want to try an organic farmers’ market over the conventional grocery store. That is where you will be most likely to get what you ask for. Just walk prepared to pay the price.
No doubt, clover honey has outdone itself for bees and humans alike. There are enough benefits to pass around for everyone.
If you are interested in boosting your health with the most guaranteed-to-find honey in the stores, add it to your list for the next trip. You could also search for some raw, unfiltered honey on Amazon.
Put your dollar where your sugar is. It won’t disappoint you.