Monofloral Honey: Harvesting, Nutrition, Benefits
Lots of people enjoy honey and are interested in the process of harvesting it and how the honey that’s readily available to us is gathered and prepared, but the different kinds of honey generally aren’t very well known about.
Specifically, the difference between monofloral, which is also known as unifloral, and polyfloral. The latter being the much more common of the two although perhaps lacking in certain benefits that are associated with monofloral.
What differentiates the two is the fact that monofloral honey comes from the nectar of a single flowering plant as opposed to a number of different ones. And as you can probably gather, polyfloral honey is a blend of a wider variety of nectar.
So monofloral honey would usually come from things like chestnut, pumpkin, thistle, thyme and polyfloral might be a big mix of all of those things. Now as you can imagine, this is not the easiest thing in the world to achieve.
You don’t gather this nectar yourself. Unless of course you’re a bee, in which case I congratulate you on developing the ability to use the internet and I also beg you to spare me in the inevitable bee uprising that must be happening if you’re reading this.
But the thing is, bees will just collect honey from any plant that they can get their hands on. There’s no rhyme or reason to it, they just collect from the flowers that are in their environment and that’s why most of the honey out there is polyfloral.
So harvesting monofloral honey is a tough enough process but it is doable. So before we go into the benefits of the stuff, let’s talk a little bit about the harvesting process:
For a beekeeper, harvesting is a very specific operation and it requires quite a bit of planning and preparation. You can’t really force bees to only gather pollen from one kind of plant, but what you can do is try to manipulate the situation a little bit.
For this to work, the plant that you want you honey from needs to dominate the environment in which the bees are gathering pollen. They don’t need to be the only plants there, they just need to be the most desirable.
Bees are smart creatures and they have their own system in place. A hive will send out bees that basically serve as scouts who will search for the best nectar out there and they will all flock to that.
So the timing of this procedure is very important. While it would be a whole different story to try and attract bees to a specific area, a beekeeper will have control over when they introduce the bees to the environment.
To achieve the best results, they should be introduced as soon as the target flower is in bloom and then removed as soon as the blooming period ends. This isn’t a huge window because once another plant starts blooming that will become the target for the bees.
It’s also important for the hives to be cleaned out before this happens so that the new honey doesn’t mix with any residue of the old honey, thus rendering it polyfloral. A tricky situation but success is definitely possible.
Honey will inherently have a number of health benefits regardless of whether or not it’s monofloral or polyfloral. It’s antifungal, anti-inflammatory and demulcent, but the monofloral variety will also provide health benefits from the specific plant.
Let’s take a look at Manuka Honey for a moment, because this is one of the most popular monofloral varieties out there and also one that has a ton of added benefits on top of what you would normally expect from honey.
It has a lot of benefits for your skin. It can help to hydrate dry skin, correct an uneven skin tone and it can work well against acne. It’s also helpful in speeding up the healing process for cuts and burns.
It’s good for your immune system and is beneficial for your digestive system in a number of different ways. It can improve your appetite, it’s a natural treatment for gastritis and effective in neutralizing constipation.
And then of course it’s also extremely soothing for a sore throat or an irritating cough. And while not every variety of monofloral honey will have this many positive effects, some will have benefits that manuka honey can’t provide.
So whatever is going on in your body that you feel like you need to deal with, you can seek out what kind of plant will be helpful in tackling said problem and then find the corresponding honey for the job.
There are some varieties that can help with sleep, joint pain, chronic headaches and probably any ailment that you can think of. Considering how healthy honey is in and of itself, it’s definitely worth trying monofloral honey for all of that extra stuff.
In short, monofloral honey is great for a number of reasons but it’s understandable why it’s not more commonplace when you consider how difficult it is to harvest. But that doesn’t mean that it should be avoided, the effort is worth it in the end.