Perhaps you’ve heard a honey lover raving about Sourwood Honey and wondered what all the fuss is about. From this article, you’ll come to understand why this special honey is highly sought after and admired for both its culinary and health properties.
Location: Where Does Sourwood Honey Come From?
Sourwood honey is produced when bees feed on sourwood tree flowers. The sourwood tree is part of the ericaceae family and can be found across North Carolina, Virginia, parts of the Midwest, and on the coasts of Louisiana and Mississippi. The tree bark is distinctly scaly, and the trunk is narrow and spindly. The sourwood tree can reach up to 30 feet tall. The leaves are dark green, except for in the fall when they turn to a brilliant shade of red. The sourwood tree blooms in early summer with fleecy white flowers that will turn into urn-shaped fruit in the fall.
Since the bees strictly feed on the sourwood tree (and not a combination of trees as is sometimes the case), it is considered a pure, monofloral honey.
Sourwood Honey Flavor Profile & Aroma
Sourwood Honey tastes like buttery caramel and has a beautiful amber color. The aftertaste has a slight twang that has been likened to gingerbread. Sour honey smells like cinnamon and cloves and has a smooth and syrupy texture.
Sourwood Honey Health Benefits
In general, raw honey is known for its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. As with other pure local honeys, Sourwood also has a reputation for helping allergy symptoms, especially those related to pollen found in the sourwood tree’s native areas.
Where to Buy Sourwood Honey
Sourwood has been deemed North Carolina’s most famous honey. Every August, Black Mountain, North Carolina, hosts the Sourwood Festival, celebrating the beautiful Appalachian native sourwood tree, and its delicious, unparalleled honey. Hundreds of vendors and families attend the festival, which has everything from music and dancing to arts and face painting. In addition, local beekeepers attend the festival to sell their praise-worthy Sourwood Honey. But you don’t have to travel all the way to North Carolina to experience the taste: Asheville Bee Charmer Sourwood Honey is available for purchase here on our website in a variety of options.
Enjoy This Sourwood Honey Recipe
In case you haven’t stopped reading to go and put some Sourwood Honey in your tea or on your toast, here is a recipe from the Old Favorite Honey Recipes cookbook to really get your mouth watering.
Sourwood Honey Buns Recipe
(Requires overnight refrigeration)
- ¼ cup warm water
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cake compressed or 1 packet dry granular yeast
- ½ cup shortening
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups sifted flour
- ¾ cup water
- 1 egg, well beaten
- ½ cup Sourwood Honey
- ½ cup chopped nuts (your choice)
Step 1: Combine warm water and 1 teaspoon sugar. Sprinkle granular yeast over warm mixture, or crumble compressed yeast over lukewarm mixture. Let stand five minutes.
Step 2: Combine shortening, ½ cup sugar, and salt. Mix in 1 cup flour and ¾ cup water. Add to yeast mixture and stir in 2 cups of flour and 1 beaten egg.
Step 3: Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Step 4: Grease muffin pans, enough for 24 buns. In each cup, add 1 teaspoon of honey and 1 teaspoon of nuts. Drop 1 tablespoon of dough in each muffin cup. Let rise in warm place until doubled. Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes.
Step 5: Serve upside down.