What Is White Honey?

Honey is produced in beehives by bees that have traveled thousands of miles to collect nectar from blossoms. Various blossoms give honey distinguishing colors and flavors. White honey is one of those distinct colors produced by bees in Hawaii's Kiawe Forest. However, through a process called controlled crystallization, honey producers can also create a spreadable honey ideal for toast, pancakes and muffins with the same characteristic creamy white hue as Kiawe honey.

A boy dribbling honey onto his tongue. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

White Kiawe Honey

Pure, white honey, although rare and not readily available throughout the world, is harvested in the Kiawe Forest from the deep tap roots of the Kiawe trees on the island of Hawaii. The sandy and desert-like conditions of the Kiawe forest are ideal for the bees to collect their nectar. Kiawe honey naturally crystallizes, creating a pearly white color with exceptional taste and creaminess. Harvesting Kiawe honey requires careful timing to assure the honey does not crystallize in the comb. Once the honey has crystallized, it can only be extracted by using heat, which destroys the honey's natural white color and unique flavor.

Whipped and Creamy White

All honey naturally crystallizes and turns white over time; however, it is still perfectly safe to eat, and with a little heat restores quickly back into a liquid state. The creamy white honey generally found in the jam and jelly isle of your grocery store is also crystallized, although prematurely, through a process called controlled crystallization. This controlled crystallization allows the honey to spread at room temperature easily on toast, similarly to butter.

Lighter and Milder

Clover honey, readily available in most supermarkets, ranges in color from water white to light amber to amber. The color and flavor depends on the blossom from which the nectar was extracted. Clover honey is generally mild in taste, and the lighter the honey is, the lighter the flavor will be. The mild taste of white clover honey is exceptional for sweetening tea and coffee, baking cakes and cookies and adding to barbecue sauces.

Baking, Cooking and Sweetening

Many recipes that use traditional white sugar may be substituted with honey. However, adjustments are often required to compensate for the extra sweetness, moisture and browning that honey provides. When baking with honey replace a portion of the sugar with honey. Too much honey may produce a denser texture than desired. Furthermore, liquid should also be reduced for a lighter texture. Honey, also sweeter than sugar, can be reduced, depending on the recipe. To keep baked goods properly leavened add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda for each cup of honey. Honey caramelizes at lower oven temperatures than granulated sugar; therefore, reduce baking temperatures by 25 degrees Fahrenheit.

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