Australian honey is prized for its flavor, color, and quality, and is sourced from several varieties of native eucalyptus trees. Honey is a sweet, syrupy, golden substance that bees produce from the nectar of flowering trees. It is stored in honeycombs, and some honey is sold with a piece of the waxy comb included. Honey is used as a sweetener in drinks, sauces, desserts, and more, much like sugar.
- Shelf life: Indefinite
- Common types: Blue gum, bush mallee, meadow, orange blossom, leatherwood
- Substitutes: Non-Australian honey, agave, brown rice syrup, simple syrup
- Storage: Original container in a cool, dry, dark place
Australian Honey vs. American Honey
The main difference between American honey and Australian honey is what varieties are available. Australia has different plants growing in the wild for bees to pollinate, resulting in different types of honey, most notably eucalyptus varieties. While the flavors can vary depending on variety, American and Australian honeys can be used interchangeably in recipes.
While all honey is the same basic substance, the flavor and properties can vary widely. Different types are determined by the plant that the bees pollinate in the process of making honey.
Popular Australian varieties include blue gum honey, an earthy and herbal variety produced by bees that feed on blue gum eucalyptus. Assertive blue mallee and delicate meadow honey are more common in Southern Australia. Orange blossom honey, with a citrusy flavor, is popular in Australia (much like in the U.S.). Leatherwood honey from Tasmania comes from bees that feed on leatherwood eucalyptus trees in the rain forest. It is strong, floral, and complex.
Honey can be used directly from the container and does not need to be cooked. It is commonly used as a sweetener in tea and sometimes coffee, and it dissolves in hot liquid easily. Drizzle honey over biscuits, crumpets, pancakes, and more for added sweetness. Add to a cocktail (before shaking) or a smoothie (before blending). Honey can also be used in baked goods like cakes and works nicely in dressings and sauces.
Different varieties of Australian honey are best suited for different uses. Blue gum is good for drizzling, cakes, and ice cream, while bush mallee's assertive flavor is best in punchy sauces and marinades. Meadow honey is lovely on fresh toast or drizzled onto yogurt, and orange blossom adds a nice flavor to pancakes and salad dressings.
The flavor of honey will vary depending on the variety, but all honey is thick, viscous, and very sweet. The syrupy substance easily drizzles, and some honeys are thicker while others are thinner. Varieties can be smoky, herbal, floral, or citrusy. Some kinds of honey eventually crystallize during storage, developing a granular, sugarlike texture. It is still safe to eat and can be melted.
Australian honey can be used just like honey from the U.S. and other countries. Its high quality makes it a good option for recipes that really spotlight honey as an ingredient. Try using it in baked goods, like a spiced cake, or showcase the sweetener by glazing nuts or crispy, sticky chicken wings.
Where to Buy It
Australian varieties of honey can sometimes be found in grocery stores, especially organic and health food stores. It is sold in glass or plastic jars and in packages of honey sticks. It can also be ordered online. If you live in Australia, honey can be found from a variety of retailers, including farmers markets.
Look for honey that is all-natural, raw, and sustainably sourced. Ensure that the packaging is intact with the jar tightly sealed.
Store honey in a cool, dry place away from sunlight in its original packaging. Honey does not need to be refrigerated or frozen and will keep indefinitely if uncontaminated and stored properly. If your honey begins to crystallize, set the container in hot (but not boiling) water until the honey starts to melt and stir.
Nutrition and Benefits
Honey contains 64 calories and 17 grams of sugar per tablespoon, with little to no fat, fiber, or protein. While the amount of vitamins and minerals in honey is negligible, honey does contain some antioxidants, which may be good for your health. The darker and higher quality the honey, the more health benefits it may provide. Note that honey is still very high in sugar and should be consumed in moderation.