I’ve finally got round to tasting Heather honey, which is synonymous with Scotland. However the one I’ve been eating is a Great Taste award winner from hives located in North Yorkshire, County Durham and Northumberland and produced by The Honey B Company.
One of the first things I noticed about this honey was its consistency, it is gel like, thick and has air bubbles. This is partly a characteristic of Heather honey, which has a higher water content than most honey and needs to be coaxed out from the honey combs using an air agitator (to loosen the honey from the frames before being extracted). Once in the jar it doesn’t take much to loosen up the soft set texture as simply stirring it immediately makes it more runny.
The colour is a beautiful amber with a lovely reddish tinge. The honey has a woody caramel taste and has much more flavour than some lighter honeys. This honey is made from Ling Heather flowering in late July, with the honey being collected in August. The open moorland and generous forage allows many more hives to be placed together and The Honey B Company have up to 2000 hives collecting honey made from the nectar of these brilliant purple and pink flowers.
Glasgow University have successfully been testing the properties of Heather Honey, which has antiseptic qualities. There is a view that Heather honey can be as effective as Manuka honey when it comes to beating bacteria, which would be very welcome given the extremely high price of Manuka honey (Heather honey would be a very affordable alternative at a quarter of the cost). Heather honey is one honey to watch!
It taste great in porridge however today I added a spoon of it to some homemade oat biscuits. It doesn’t take much honey to add a little something to any dish.