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I have bought two bottles of honey from a single honey producer. One bottle before, and one recently.

  • The honey I bought earlier is less viscous, has darker color, and has a smooth texture
  • The honey I bought recently is more viscous, has lighter color, and has a rough texture

Which honey is of higher quality? What might be the difference cause?

Bottles

Spoons

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    Which of them do you like more? – Sneftel Jan 2 at 21:44
  • @Sneftel The darker, less viscous one =) – user3405291 Jan 2 at 21:45
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    Then you have your answer. :-) – Sneftel Jan 2 at 22:06
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    Many years ago I was strolling through the Santa Barbara (CA) farmers market when I happened upon someone selling avocado blossom honey. It was very dark (much more than your example) and was the best honey I ever had. As long as the honey you buy only contains actual honey (no corn syrup, etc.) then it is up to you what is "best." – Steve Chambers Jan 3 at 0:56
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    The FDA requires ingredients labels, if you buy honey without that on the label (in the US) you have no way of knowing.I Presume other jurisdictions have similar requirements ingredients, but have no direct experience. – Steve Chambers Jan 3 at 13:05
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As to your second question:

What might be the difference cause?

The simple answer is: time and sugar content.

Natural bee honey is an over saturated sugar solution with some additional ingredients the bees pick up from the blossoms. Over time, especially if some of the water content evaporates, the remaining liquid cannot dissolve the amount of sugar that's already in the solution any longer. The liquid sugar is forced into a solid state and forms small crystals. That is the "rough texture" you observed in the lighter colored honey.

The darker honey will start crystalizing as well, but when exactly that proces starts depends on the sugar and water content and on the variety of honey. Wikipedia states:

Within a few weeks to a few months of extraction, many varieties of honey crystallize into a cream-colored solid. Some varieties of honey, including tupelo, acacia, and sage, crystallize less regularly.

In that respect, I see no difference in quality between the two samples of honey. This is simply how natural honey behaves.

It's possible to dissolve the crystals in the lighter honey by putting the whole glass (without a lid) into a water bath / bain marie and gently heating the honey until it's liquid again. The sugar will start crystalizing again after a few weeks. Adding a few drops of water (and i mean individual water drops, else you risk turning the honey into sugar water) can keep the consistency smooth for longer.

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  • So, the honey with the rough texture implies more sugar, right? Just double-checking whether I understood correctly =) – user3405291 Jan 4 at 14:13
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    @user3405291 Objectively yes, but in reality the difference between both kinds of honey is probably marginal. Very runny honey is of low quality because it has too much water and too little sugar. I just read on Wikipedia that "Within a few weeks to a few months of extraction, many varieties of honey crystallize into a cream-colored solid. Some varieties of honey, including tupelo, acacia, and sage, crystallize less regularly." – Elmy Jan 4 at 14:21
  • I think the sugar content is what I needed to learn =) – user3405291 Jan 4 at 14:25
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It is impossible to say which honey has higher quality. The difference is likely to be due to the honey coming from different plants. Other sources of difference is in the processing done to the honey after gathering, the one which crystallized has obviously not been treated against crystallization, while the other either has such treatment or is made from a plant which doesn't tend to crystallize.

It is entirely possible that the two honeys are off different quality, but all we can tell from your question is that they are two different types.

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Color and texture by themselves aren't indicators of quality in the honey. Quality comes from the diet of the bees, how well the bees are kept and how the honey is collected and processed. As the seasons change the food sources for bees change, the color and the taste of the honey depends on what the bees are gathering. Honey from the same hive can vary dramatically throughout the year. The only way to gauge quality is to taste it.

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  • That taste test only tells you which you like best. Either honey looks good and if they are from the same producer and produced in the same way I would say the quality is likely the same level but in a different way. – Willeke Jan 2 at 22:00

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