Meadowfoam honey?

Last time I was in Oregon, I picked up a sample of meadowfoam (Limnanthes alba) honey and it’s been sitting on the shelf. Three days ago, I opened it for a taste. My first thought was “bubble gum.” Hmm, not good. I put it away and tried it again yesterday. My first thought was “marshmallow.” Not good at all. Today was my third try, and I’m going to stick with marshmallow.

The primary flavor is just over-the-top sweet with a slightly artificial taste, almost metallic—what pennies must taste like only sweet, sweet, sweet.

I tried meadowfoam honey once before and I don’t recall this flavor. I looked up the ingredients for marshmallows and they are made primarily from high-fructose corn syrup. How interesting. I’m not accusing anyone of anything, I’m just saying.

Does anyone know what meadowfoam honey is supposed to taste like? Has anyone else noticed a cloying sweetness with no floral overtones? Does anyone who produces this stuff have some insight? It was probably my worst honey experience ever, but now I’m really curious. I will try to find another source so I can compare.

Comments

HB
Reply

I tried meadowfoam at the Portland Farmer’s Market. Definitely marshmallow, which I liked. Very unique. The purveyor only had a sample jar, so I wasn’t able to buy any. It was a disappointment, although I’m not sure what I would’ve enjoyed it with, other than dark, dark chocolate. It’s kinda assertive. I don’t recall a metallic taste. (BTW, the way I make homemade marshmallows is essentially making meringues: beaten egg whites cooked with a hot sugar syrup, and flavored with vanilla.)

Rusty
Reply

HB,

This is really good news! At least it proves I’m not crazy (as far as tasting marshmallows) and it suggests I bought the real deal. I looked up the ingredients for commercial marshmallows; I’m sure yours are much better. Thanks for the info.

Cathi
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Rusty -

I have not had Meadowfoam honey, but a search on it indicates that yes, it has a marshmallow-like flavor to it. Meadowfoam is apparently only found out your way – we don’t have it out here on the East Coast. I think I’m ok with that. lol

Rusty
Reply

Cathi,

So interesting; I thought that taste couldn’t be natural. And, yes, meadowfoam is native to northern California and Oregon. Fields of it are breathtaking–very beautiful.

Morris
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Heike Williams produces and packages meadowfoam honey. She suggests that it has a slight vanilla taste.

Rusty
Reply

Morris,

That makes sense, too, because marshmallows are flavored with vanilla extract. Very good.

boyd young
Reply

Color me too new to beekeeping to have heard of meadowfoam honey…. Are you using different vocabulary for creamed honey? Or honey that has been infused with micro-crystallized honey causing it to all crystallize into a very uniform crystalline base> I may be sitting on a broom stick here, but I think I remember someone saying they whip it to introduce micro air bubbles to keep it softer. Or is there another product I have not yet been introduced to?

Rusty
Reply

Boyd,

Meadowfoam is a plant, considered an industrial crop, with seeds that are loaded with oil. According to Purdue University, “The oil from meadowfoam seed has unique chemical properties that make it one of the most stable vegetable oils known.” The oil has many industrial applications, and is used in lubricants, detergents, plasticizers, and rubber technology. It is very cool because it is renewable and sustainable source for high-grade oil. It’s been around for a long time. I remember a whole chapter about it in my industrial crops textbook at Oregon State University many years ago. It didn’t receive much attention back then because petroleum was cheap and readily available. But now with all the environmental concerns, it is becoming more popular.

Anyway, the plant has white flowers that are extremely attractive to honey bees and produce large crops of honey that apparently taste like marshmallows. The fields in bloom are amazing to see.

suz
Reply

Curious….. I bought some clover honey on ebay that was listed as raw. It is exceedlingly thick, which makes me wonder if it’s totally honey. My own honey is somewhat runny and this honey takes awhile to slowly meander off a spoon. I looked at corn syrup in a jar at the store, and it is much runnier than the honey. Is there an honey that is so thick that it almost doesn’t run? It came from Zilah, Washington (Yakima Valley).

Rusty
Reply

Suz,

Honey that is about to crystallize gets like that, and clover is a honey that crystallizes easily. That is my guess.

Jordan222
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I’m guessing you got it from mt. Adams honey? They’re good ppl, they have snowberry in there area, and thats where you get that glossy texture, I seriously doubt anything has been added to their honey ( except love…lol)

Larry S
Reply

I live in N Las Vegas and my bees make very thick honey
This is my second year with the bees here
I assume it is thick because the humidity in the summer can get down in the single digets

Lori
Reply

Thanks for the info on Meadowfoam, Rusty.

There is also the charming Limnanthes douglasii, or poached egg plant which I’m seeing in a lot of wildflower bee mixes. It seems to grow well here and is great for children’s gardens.

Lori
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“Here” being Vancouver, BTW. (-:

Lisa
Reply

If it is cooler outside and the honey is thick, it is usually because the beekeepers supplement the honey with sugar to “winter” them, which means that the honey they produce is extra thick. If you are buying honey from somewhere and they have to keep it warm for sale, it usually means the bees have been wintered with sugar. If the farmers would leave them some of their honey honey that they have made to winter the honey won’t have that extra sugar and won’t crystalize, nor will it be super thick. The clover honey is most associated with this thickness only because it tends to be the most popular kind. And the meadowfoam is supposed to have a vanilla/marshmallow flavor going. It is a fantastic desert honey, and my favorite thing to use it for is with some lemon in water before bed; in fact I’m drinking some right now :)

Rusty
Reply

Lisa,

It is good to hear about meadowfoam honey.

However, I disagree with your other statements. Viscosity and crystallization are due to the relative proportions of fructose to glucose in the nectar, and that ratio varies with the plants the bees foraged on. The example you use, clover, is high in glucose, so it tends to crystallize quickly. You can’t assume that if honey crystallized the beekeeper fed sugar. Also, leaving honey for the bees—although it is really good practice—does not affect the viscosity of the next season’s honey.

Crystallization is explained more thoroughly in this post: “Why did my honey granulate?

Jordan222
Reply

Try flying bee ranch, zspecialtyfoods or southern hive honey company’s, meadowfoam honey, marshmallow and vanilla are the upfront flavors with a medium to medium – plus sweetness, but I think you must have gotten a bad batch because it is a premium honey with a delicious flavor, the thing is the primary batch is only made once every 3-4 years with smaller (thus diluted with other floral sources) batches made in the off seasons. It does usually sell at a permium so you have to trust your source.

Rusty
Reply

Jordan,

My meadowfoam honey came from Flying Bee Ranch. They have great varietals and I trust them implicitly. I think it’s more a case of me not liking the taste of marshmallows. I didn’t care for the over the top sweetness, either. I don’t think it was a bad batch, I think I just didn’t like it.

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