Tupelo Honey - Gourmet Guide

June 12, 2019 | By Dave Mattingly

Rare Tupelo Honey only comes from Georgia, where it is harvest in a fleeting two-week period of spring. Exceptionally buttery, subtle, and fruity, Tupelo Honey will conjure up summer in Savannah every time you drizzle some in tea, on toast, or over goat cheese.

Tupelo Honey is a variety of Honey that is produced in the northern Florida Panhandle and Southern Georgia. Honey is produced where Tupelo Gum Trees grow, and while these trees are found in regions throughout the Southeastern US, Tupelo Gum Trees that grow along the Apalachicola, Chipola, Ochlockonee and Choctahatchee rivers produce the purest and most coveted Honey in the world. The Nyssa Ogeche, also known as the White Tupelo Tree produces exquisite Tupelo Honey. These trees blossom for only a few weeks during the spring, which make harvesting the honey a time-sensitive and delicate process. The White Tupelo Tree may grow from 50 to 75 feet in height and between 2 to 3 feet wide. It blooms from April to May depending upon the weather. Black Tupelo (Nyssa Biflora) Trees also produce honey, yet its honey is a lower quality granulated honey. Black Tupelo Trees bloom prior to White Tupelo Trees and are used to strengthen bee colonies and their stores.

In order to produce the purest Tupelo Honey, beekeepers must strip the bee colonies of all of their stores as soon as the White Tupelo Tree begins to bloom. Beehives are placed along the river swamps near Tupelo groves which allows the bees do their work and collect nectar from White Tupelo blossoms. Enzymes in bees' saliva mix with the nectar creating honey which the bees deposit into the cells of the hive walls. The beekeepers must promptly remove the hives from the swamps and empty them before any other honey supplies mix in which would contaminate the pure Tupelo honey. Through chemist analysis, The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is able determine whether or not a honey is Tupelo based on microscopic pollen counts, thanks to the distinctive shape of Tupelo pollen. This intricate harvest process, along with supply and demand allows Tupelo honey to sell at premium prices.

Pure Tupelo Honey has a light gold color with a light greenish tint. Tupelo Honey is distinguished by the fact that it does not crystallize. Tupelo Honey has a very mild, herbal and floral flavor, with a light vanilla aroma. Tupelo Honey's high fructose to glucose ratio means that the honey will release energy over longer periods of time, making it a good choice for athletes. In addition, like other honey, Tupelo Honey contains antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties, raises antioxidant levels in the blood, and may help improve blood sugar control compared to other sweeteners.

To find the best gourmet foods and gift baskets online, begin your search at igourmet.com.