Sourwood Honey

Sourwood Honey

Arguably the rarest honey, Sourwood Honey (the folks in Florida claim Tupelo is the rarest), hails only from the lower Appalachian Mountains.Sourwood is a Mono floral honey meaning it is a honey where the bees collect nectar from only a single type of flower.  This honey is more expensive than otherhoneys such as clover and wildflower because 1) it is in short supply due to the limited geographic region where it is produced and 2) beekeepers have more work to ensure the bees only have access to theSourwood blossom.

Sourwood honey is produced from the Sourwood tree (a.k.a. Oxydendrum arboretum) or also known as the Lily of the Valley tree. The Sourwood tree blooms later in the year (late June to August) and has white, fragrant, bell-shaped flowers.

Sourwood Honey in Bowl

The Sourwood honey crop is limited every year due to the short blooming period and the limited availability of Sourwood trees. In any given year, weather conditions can further limit the supply.

Characteristics of Sourwood Honey: Sourwood Honey is extra-light to light amber in color and extremely aromatic. It has a unique rich, sweet flavor and is considered a premium honey by honey lovers and is used with breakfast items such as biscuits and toast to salad dressings, ciders and used as a sweetener in coffee and tea.

Honey Pumpkin Mousse Recipe

  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup Sourwood honey
  • 1 can (16 oz.) solid-pack pumpkin
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

In top of double boiler, combine egg whites and honey. Cook over simmering water, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches 160°F; transfer mixture to a medium bowl. Using electric mixer on high speed, beat egg whites until cool and glossy peaks form; set aside. In medium saucepan, combine egg yolks, pumpkin, flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils; remove from heat. Gently stir 1/4 of beaten egg whites into pumpkin mixture; gradually fold remaining egg whites into lightened mixture. Spoon mousse into dessert glasses; cover and chill.

Tip: Make sure that all utensils used to beat egg whites are free of grease. Note: For kosher kitchen, always use certified kosher products.

Recipe courtesy of The National Honey Board

If you’ve never tried Sourwood Honey, you might want to give the sweet honey a try!

As the writer, Carson Brewer wrote:

“Most honey is made by bees. But Sourwood is made by bees and angels.”
For additional reading, refer to the following resources:

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