For decades, Mexico has been famous for its Hispanic culture, burritos, and tippling tequila. But aside from all these apparent aspects, the Latin-American country is also well known for its oranges. Yes, these round citrus fruits are quite common in Central America.
Usually grown on acres of plantations, the oranges, leaves and flowers of these trees have a wide range of uses. You may find them in decor, scented candles, or - you guessed right - in honey.
As with all other varieties, the bees extract the nectar from the orange plant's flowers and use it to produce that sweet, natural syrup that we all love to eat on pancakes.
You would expect to get orange blossom honey from orange blossoms, and while that is true, it’s not the only source of the citrus nectar that the bees use to make this mixture.
Surprisingly, the bees also use other sister fruits to the orange like the grapefruit, mandarin, and lime. In the end, however, we still get the tangy honey that we have all come to enjoy.
Now with that slip of information, let’s clear things out:
If you’re a farmer, you might own an almanac or use the stars as a method of estimating crop seasons. In nature, not all fruits bear at the same time. This is why honeybees are often scavenging for nectar in unexpected places.
As a beekeeper, your goal is to try at best to ensure that your hive feeds off specific trees to produce a pure batch of your choice of honey.
You may set up fields upon fields of orange trees with millions of blossoms waiting to be kissed by the proboscis of the bees. The tricky side of this is that oranges do not bloom all year round, and even more so, different varieties don't all flower in sync.
For example, in Florida, oranges are in season from October until about June. On the other hand, Californian orange blossoms only fully develop by April.
And as we said before, bees may also find themselves suckling from the flowers of different citrus plants growing nearby.
However, note that this does not greatly affect quality because the bees usually make do with the flowers that are more readily available to them - so long as they are blooming.
Considering all this, can you see why you may not always find brands with the exact flavor of orange blossom honey? Or do you understand why one brand may not always be 100% consistent in its taste throughout the year?
Orange blossom honey generally holds to its name in terms of its taste and color. It is light yellow or, as most may call it, ‘amber’; and has a slightly citrus flavor, owing to its natural vitamin C content.
Orange blossom honey is excellent to sweeten cereals, baking cakes, bread and works well when mixed with plain yogurt foods. It is considered to be “classic table honey”.
Orange blossom honey shares many similarities in color, sweetness and primary uses with and clover honey. They are both mild and are produced from a diverse variety of their kind. But did you know that their availability depends on different conditions?
Clover honey comes from the clover blossom's nectar, while orange blossoms are the source of orange-blossom honey.
Oranges are climate-sensitive and thrive best in the subtropical to tropical regions of Florida and California and countries like Spain, Portugal, and Italy. You could also find them in the Caribbean.
This is because the fruit requires a relative amount of warmth to grow. Consequently, orange trees tend to be a bit dormant during the colder winter months and spring back up later.
So it might be a little challenging to find bees in search of orange blossoms during Christmas.
On the contrary, clovers - especially the White Clover - are better resistant to climate changes; and you are more likely to find this honey consistently on the market.
Hence, while these two are considered the most commonly available, clover honey would definitely be seen more often.
Another difference would be in the sharpness of the two products. Orange blossom honey is rich in Ascorbic acid; clover honey, not so much.
As a result, the nectar from the orange flower would have a more citrus tinge and make a better nutritional supplement than that of the clover.
Speaking of nutrition…
Honey from oranges is packed with essential compounds that make it beneficial to the body. Here are a few of its uses:
Orange blossom honey is a natural anti-inflammatory product and is often consumed to mitigate the effects of chronic gastritis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
Because of its high vitamin C content, orange honey is an excellent supplement for the flu season. According to Harvard University, not only does this nutrient improve overall health, but daily dosage also reduces the symptoms of the cold.
Orange blossom honey contains powerful antioxidants such as Luteolin, Quercetin, and Pinocembrin that have been proven to promote cell health. These chemicals are used to protect against cancer, allergies, and degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Orange itself has antiviral effects, so it is not shocking that its honey would help fight against cases of pneumonia and other respiratory infections.
The antimicrobial characteristics of this honey make it a good remedy for acne scars and fresh wounds. As astringent, orange blossom honey will reduce the amount of oil and overall moisture on the skin surface.
This aids in reducing the occurrence of pimples and bacterial infections on any part of the body.
As a standard citrus product, orange blossom honey should be one of those condiments that you never miss in your cupboard. Clearly, toast isn’t the only place where it shows off its greatness!