Orange blossom honey is white to pale amber colour monofloral honey that is produced by honey bees harvesting and converting the nectar found within the blossoming orange tree flowers. The trees blossom in the spring giving honey bees an important early food source after a long winter of living off of stored honey.
What Is Orange Blossom Honey?
Orange blossom honey is one of the most popular and common monofloral varieties. You can find it on the shelves of most grocery stores – however, it is important to pay attention to whether you are purchasing raw or processed honey.
It tastes like traditional honey but with hints of citrus and a light, refreshing sweetness. In addition to its delicate taste it boasts a thick and rich consistency.
Where Does Orange Blossom Honey Come From?
Orange blossom honey is produced in France, Mexico, Israel, Spain, and Italy.
Within the United States its predominantly produced in the states of Florida, Texas, and California.
How Is Orange Blossom Honey Produced?
Although orange blossom honey is described as a monofloral honey, it is commonly produced by bees that collect nectar and pollen from a variety of citrus trees that are in bloom at the same time and in the same region.
Often honeybees are relocated to an area where an orange grove is in bloom to aid in the pollination process.
The moment the honey bee collects the orange blossom nectar it is mixed with an enzyme within the bees mouth. The enzyme itself is otherwise known as invertase or the “bee enzyme” which is secreted from the bees glands.
When the honeybees return to the hive they will pass the nectar they have gathered between themselves further mixing the nectar with the “bee enzyme” reducing the water content and converting the nectar to honey.
They will then deposit the orange blossom honey into wax cells, but at this point, the water content will be too high. In order to reduce the water content the honeybees will fan their wings above the wax cell, this, in turn, will evaporate some of the water.
Once they’ve finished the process the orange blossom honey will have a water content roughly below 20%. It will then be capped and the honeybees will repeat the process all over again.
How Do Beekeepers Harvest Orange Blossom Honey?
Generally, beekeepers take a careful approach to setting up their operation to make sure that all of the conditions are in place to ensure that their bees produce a yield of orange blossom honey that is worthy of the name. This includes setting up their apiary in an area which is densely populated with orange trees. This allows the honeybees to pollinate and extract the nectar required for orange blossom honey effectively.
If beekeepers fail to establish their hives with a sufficient amount of orange trees nearby, the honeybees may extract nectar from other surrounding plants, flowers etc. This will alter the taste & texture you come to expect from good quality orange blossom honey.
Furthermore the beekeepers will go to great lengths, including removing old honeycombs with leftover honey, to ensure that the yield from orange groves results in a high-quality monofloral product.
Best Orange Blossoms for Honey Bees
The best orange blossoms for honey bees are grown in managed orchards where there is a dense concentration of orange trees blossoming to provide abundant nectar and pollen.
Clark Sloan from Clarks of Colorado (a leading honey producer based in Colorado) told us:
“Orange blossoms throw an incredible amount of nectar and very little pollen.”
“Upon making your orange honey crop it’s always a good idea to place the bees where there is an abundance of pollen available after the bloom has matured.”
The best orchards for bees are those that are grown using organic farming methods and without reliance on harmful pesticides or insecticides.
What Are the Benefits of Orange Blossom Honey?
This is based on raw honey, filtered or pasturised honey will break down and diminish these benefits.
|Reducing The Duration of Diarrhoea||According the NCBI consumption of raw honey has been shown to reduce the severity & duration of diarrhoea.|
|Preventing Acid Reflux||Research has shown that with honey lining the oesophagus and stomach, it actually can reduce the upward flow of undigested food and stomach acid.|
|Fighting Infections||Scientists in 2010 reported that honey through its protein (defensin-1) has the ability to kill bacteria.|
|Relieving cold and cough symptoms||Its been proven that honey may prove beneficial in relieving cold and cough symptoms. The World Health Organisation actually recommend honey as a natural cough remedy.|
|Rich In Antioxidants||Studies have tested the flavonoid content of Orange Blossom honey and found that it contains quercetin, hesperetin, luteolin, kaempferol, galangin, naringenin, and isorhamnetin. These antioxidants can potentially provide anti-inflammatory, anti-allergy, anti-cancer, and immune-supporting effects. They may also help to combat free radicals and reduce the risk of chronic illness.|
|Can Lower Triglycerides||Triglycerides are associated with insulin resistance and are a major driver of type 2 diabetes. Multiple studies have linked regular honey consumption with lower triglyceride levels, especially when it is used to replace sugar.|
| It's an Antiseptic ||It is a natural antiseptic that can help in treating topical wounds such as burns, ulcers, scrapes and more. It absorbs water and helps to dry out the wounds and inhibit the growth of bacteria.|
Orange Blossom Honey vs Regular Honey
Raw orange blossom honey contains propolis, bee pollen, and other beneficial composites. In comparison your standard plastic bottle supermarket honey is often pasteurised during the processing stage and the propolis and bee pollen often end up filtered out and destroyed.
Furthermore processing honey can decrease the antioxidant levels upward to 30%, making it less effective as a topical for wounds. Because of this, orange blossom honey should always be purchased raw.
When You Should Avoid Orange Blossom Honey?
Infants under a year old should never be fed honey, even when in a baked form, due to the presence of low levels of potentially harmful bacteria that can cause Infant Botulism.
Some believe that it is best to also avoid honey while pregnant or breastfeeding.
Can You Eat Too Much Orange Blossom Honey?
Unfortunately, too much orange blossom honey can be harmful. Overeating this highly concentrated, sugary substance can lead to gastrointestinal discomfort. Ailments such constipation, bloating and upset stomach are just some of the issues that eating too much honey can cause.
Long term effects of overindulging in honey can include high blood sugar and weight gain. Orange Blossom honey can be very beneficial to your health, just remember: moderation!
Is Orange Blossom Honey Vegan?
The Vegan Society do not consider honey vegan, this includes cornflower honey. They believe that because some honey farmers replace honey with a sugar substitute when harvesting, it will naturally lack the essential micronutrients of honey, thus being detrimental to the honey bees.
Furthermore, they believe that in conventional beekeeping, honey bees are specifically bred to increase productivity. Which they believe leads to a narrowing of the population gene pool and increases susceptibility to disease and large scale die-offs.
They also believe that many honey farmers will cull their hives post-harvest and clip the queen bee’s wings to stop them from leaving to start a new colony. Thus the Vegan Society does not consider honey vegan. That, of course, doesn’t stop some vegans arguing its fine if they source their honey from reliable sources that do not practice the above.
What Is Orange Blossom Honey Used For?
Orange blossom honey is used in all of the ways that people use other monofloral varieties. It is popular as a topping for bread and dairy products when you want something sweet. This can range from oatmeal to pancakes and waffles through ice cream or yogurt.
Orange blossom honey is also popular as a sweetener for beverages like tea and coffee. There are many ways to use orange blossom honey as a dietary supplement or home remedy. This can range from taking a spoonful of raw honey to boost immunity to using honey to treat a wound or a burn.
Because orange blossom honey is affordable and abundant, it is used as a featured ingredient in a variety of food products. There are micro-brewed beers, small-batch liquors, and artisan baked goods that feature orange blossom honey prominently.
Is Orange Blossom Honey Expensive?
Orange blossom honey is one of the most affordable varieties of raw monofloral honey on the market. You can find high-quality, raw orange blossom honey for less than $10 per pound through online retailers.
The market for orange blossom honey is very consistent across the various regions that produce it. At the same time, it is worth noting that orange blossom honey prices can be influenced a great deal by increased levels of purity.
It is important to choose raw orange blossom honey whenever possible. Cold packed honey is the best choice of the various raw products that are available.