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Ingredient Spotlight: Honey

Discover our guide to the diverse world of honey—and sweet sous vide recipes to try.

By Craig Viera

It’s little surprise that honey, a traditional culinary and medicinal staple, has reemerged as a buzzworthy sweetener. Modern advancements have allowed beekeepers to control pollen types and processing methods to influence flavor, crystal structure, texture, and nutritional properties. At home, sous vide can elevate nature’s sweetest gift, whether you’re decrystallizing honey that has been sitting on the shelf too long, sealing in your favorite variety to marinate proteins, or infusing honey with flavors—the hardest part is deciding which kind to choose.

Study up on the breadth of varieties of this natural sweet stuff, and then try a few of the sous vide recipes below!

Honey jars

Also known as churned, spun, or fondant honey, clover creamed honey is light in color and mild in flavor. It’s the subtleness that makes it thrive as an all-purpose honey—perfect for plugging into just about any recipe or simply spreading on toast. Clover creamed honey’s smooth texture comes from the high volume of smaller crystals, which lend it a thicker, whipped consistency.

In the honey world, raw acacia is liquid gold. Sought after for its beauty and its versatility, raw acacia is one of the best varieties available. Its unique sugar profile, rich in fructose, makes it resistant to crystallization and more easily absorbed by the body. Better still, its mild scent and lack of aftertaste make raw acacia the perfect flavorless sweetener.

While the full extent of its health benefits is still up for debate, the culinary and scientific communities both agree that bee pollen is rich in vitamins and minerals, high in protein, and, when added, offers a natural, floral sweetness. On its own, bee pollen can be sprinkled on yogurts, soups, or salads—as well as mixed with honey.

The first thing you’ll notice about eucalyptus honey is its darker hue—a deep, unmistakable amber that distinguishes it from other honey varieties. Eucalyptus honey offers herbal tasting notes rather than the floral flavors of clover and acacia honeys, making it the perfect choice to mix into a cup of tea or use in glazes and marinades.

Close your eyes and you might not be able to tell the difference between honey and this vegan substitute. Made from sugar, powdered pectin, lemon juice, water, and dandelions, this animal-free alternative may seem like an odd choice to replace honey, but when you consider that bees make honey from wildflower pollen, the similar flavoring makes sense.

Lighter than eucalyptus honey, but darker than clover, Manuka honey is made with pollen from the manuka plant, and while it can be thicker and trickier to spread, its non-peroxide antibacterials give the honey exceptional wellness and healing properties. It can be used as a sweetener, or to help anything from sore throats to topical cuts.

Know Where Your Honey Comes From
When buying honey, support ethical, safe, and legal businesses by buying honey from reputable distributors and manufacturers. Educate yourself about honey quality control and testing methods, and buy pure, unadulterated honey. Even better—buy from local beekeepers, and learn about their efforts to promote healthy beehives. Read our interview with VA-based beekeeper Michael Hott, of Hott Apiary, here.


Long Island Iced Tea

Honeycomb is the star ingredient in this innovative sous vide cocktail. Cheers!

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