Clover honey is a monofloral honey, meaning it is made from the nectar of a single type of flower. It is the most common type of honey in the United States, and it has a light, delicate flavor that is not as strong as some other types of honey.
What is Clover Honey
Honey comes exclusively from the nectar of clover flowers, which grow in meadows across the United States and Europe. Clover honey has an aromatic, complex flavor with a distinctively earthy undertone and a slightly bitter aftertaste. It is one of the most popular forms of honey on Earth, due to its versatility as a sweetener for foods and beverages alike. In addition, it is also recognized for having several significant nutritional benefits that make it a particularly healthy food choice.
Where does Clover Honey come from
Before modern beekeeping techniques became available at the end of the 19th century, honey was harvested exclusively by wild bees. Today, however, more than 2.7 million honey bee colonies are maintained on Earth for that specific purpose. These colonies are housed in roughly 5 million apiaries that provide the nectar necessary to create clover honey. The flowers of clover are some of the most prolific producers of nectar found anywhere on the planet.
How is Clover Honey made
Once the bees have finished storing their pollen and reserving their honey for winter consumption, they begin gathering nectar from nearby clover plants. Beekeepers have traditionally used what was once called a ‘bee smoker’ to keep their bees safe during this time period so they could harvest them without being stung. Nowadays it is more common to use a bee excluder between the hive and the smoker. This clever device allows bees into the hive but keeps them from getting out again once they’ve passed through.
Once the bees have been kept safe during this time of year, they can commence their important work of converting nectar into honey for storage. Bees begin by adding enzymes to break down complex sugars in the nectar so they can be more easily digested and converted into energy for other bodily functions. Next, they deposit those enzymes directly onto the flower’s stigma—the female part of a plant, which is analogous to a human’s ovaries. These enzymes quickly dissolve as soon as they come into contact with air, which means that the process of converting nectar to honey must occur quickly.
After depositing enzymes onto the stigma, the bees use their legs to fan their wings and agitate the nectar in order to further facilitate its conversion into honey. This often results in drops of water evaporating from the surface of the nectar as it is moved around by airflow so that it reaches a state known as ‘super-saturation’. In this stage, more solids have been suspended within a solution that can safely remain so those solids begin coalescing. That happens because sugar molecules are lighter than the now airborne pollen particles and other impurities that were introduced through contact with pollen or dirt.
The precise details may vary depending on local conditions at a given time of year, but this process is typically completed within three days. Bees will deposit the resulting clover honey into their hive for future harvesting by beekeepers.
What are the benefits of Clover Honey
Since clover honey contains both water and pollen, it has a number of nutritional benefits made possible by these components. For example, some studies suggest that consuming small amounts of pollen may help strengthen the immune system against bacteria while also improving digestion.
This variety of honey is particularly rich in antioxidants due to its high fructose content–as much as 2% compared to no more than 1% found in most other types of honey. These antioxidants have been used to treat everything from arthritis to cancer with varying degrees of success.
It is also believed that clover honey might help reduce inflammation throughout the body, which is an important step in fighting off conditions like arthritis and type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, it can be used topically to treat various skin disorders including eczema and shingles.
Clover honey is light and delicate honey that has a sweet, grassy taste. It’s produced by bees that feed on clover flowers and it has a slightly lower sugar content than other types of honey. Clover honey is often used as an ingredient in recipes or as a spread on bread and muffins.