The Color Of Honey Changes From Season To Season; Here's Why
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When you visit the grocery store, you will see rows of bottles of honey that look the same but are actually available in a myriad of colors. Honey may range from transparent or white to a deep amber color. In fact, you will be surprised to know that honey exists in red or blue-green varieties as well.

How do bees collect honey?

Honey bees collect both nectar and pollen to eat as sources of energy and protein. When foraging, honey bees collect pollen and deposit it in pollen baskets on their hind legs, which are covered in hair-like bristles called setae.

As the bee forages, pollen grains accumulate on its head. The bee then transfers the pollen to the pollen baskets using its front legs. Pollen is compacted into pollen baskets by mixing dry pollen with sweetened nectar. 

Pollen collected by bees is used to nourish the colony's young. The honeydew honey produced is one of the most unique and exotic types of honey in the world.

You must be wondering why the shade of honey varies. Well, it actually depends on the foraging activities of honey bees and other factors.

Why is honey dark or light?

The color of honey can range from transparent through various shades of amber to very dark and even black. This color is determined by the pollen gathered by a hive to make it. Because plants bloom at different times of the year and bees collect honey nearly year-round, honey from one season can be quite different from another. Depending on the species of plant from which the bees are gathering pollen, the pollen basket can appear white or dark blue.

Region and season

The chemical and mineral composition of honey can be affected by the region and season of foraging bees. Some types of honey, like Linden and Acacia, get darker when they are stored for a long time. When honey is crystallized, it is lighter in color. Flower sources contain minerals such as sulfur, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, copper, iron, and manganese, which also impact the color of honey.

Types of Honey Colors

Honey colors are classified as:

    White (colorless) 

    Extra White 

    Extra Light Amber 

    Light Amber 


    Dark Amber 

Does the color of honey affect its taste and quality?

Yes. The quality of honey depends on several factors, including the color. The lighter shades have a milder flavor, while the darker shades have a stronger, fuller-bodied, and more generous taste. However, there are exceptions, like the light basswood or linden honey that has a powerful taste and the mild-tasting, dark tulip honey.

The quality of the honey is significantly affected by the color, particularly the taste. The lighter-colored honeys tend to have a milder flavor, while the darker honeys have a more significant, full-bodied, and rich taste. However, this general rule is not always true, as the light honey from basswood or linden has a significant taste compared to the dark, yet mild-tasting, tulip honey.

The 8 Different Types of Honey Colors in India and Their Flavors

1.    Lychee honey

A light-amber raw honey, lychee honey is excellent for breakfast cereal, toast, and even green tea, as it has a sweet flavor and a pleasant aroma. This honey is processed as white to light-amber honey and is sourced from local beekeepers working on lychee farms in Uttarakhand. The local honey has been found to have a number of health benefits, including boosting immunity, healing wounds, and promoting bone health.

2.    Sunflower honey

Sunflower seeds produce nectar that has anti-microbial properties and energy-boosting qualities. This honey is popular in France and Spain and is also gaining popularity in India. It is harvested from sunflower fields in Maharashtra and produces the same delicious flavor as in France and Spain.

3.    Multi-flora honey

Multifloral honey is created in mountainous areas by exploiting nectar from wildflowers at high altitudes. Multifloral honey is sourced from Meghalaya, where beekeepers in various villages work together to provide it. This honey has a unique flavor as a result of the amount of rainfall and warm summer weather in the region.

4.    Rapeseed honey

Buttery-yellow, mild-tasting, less acidic rapeseed honey is churned out by bees from the rapeseed flower. The honey is recognized for its low acidity and suitability for treating indigestion.

5.    Eucalyptus honey

Eucalyptus flowers produce honey without additives or colors that has a lifespan of 540 days. It is sold in India, Australia and other countries. It is sourced from beekeepers in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, and nearby areas. Although this honey has a menthol aftertaste, eucalyptus is used for its medicinal properties as a remedy for headaches and the common cold.

6.    Forest Honey

This honey is sourced from the tropical forests of central and eastern India. It has a dark appearance and a warm taste.

7.    Jamun Honey

In northern India, Apis dorsata honey bees collect jamun nectar and pollen during May and June to produce raw honey that bears 70% jamun flavor. Eating one spoonful of raw jamun honey daily will improve your sleep and keep your skin healthy.

8.    Acacia honey

Acacia honey is a monofloral honey produced in the Kashmir valley in India from the nectar of acacia flowers. Its cleansing properties and therapeutic qualities make it popular among people with diabetes and respiratory problems. To get this light-colored honey, you will need to buy it from Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.