Clover Honey: Uses, Nutrition, and Benefits
What Is Clover Honey?
The name “clover” comes from the Latin word clavus meaning “grass.” It’s a common name because it’s one of the most widely used honeys in Europe. It was first introduced to America in 1776 when British soldiers brought back some from their European adventures. They called it “honey of the grasses,” which became known as “the American honey.” It wasn’t until 1834 that Joseph Priestly published his seminal work on bees, “On Bees,” which described the importance of honey production and its role in human society. Since then, the use of bee hives has been widespread throughout history. Today, there are over 2 billion colonies worldwide (2) . The honey industry is worth $20 billion annually in the United States alone (3).
Honey is produced from nectar collected from flowers by bees. Nectar contains pollen, water, sugar and enzymes that bees need to produce honey. Bees collect nectar from flowers by flying into them or by landing on the ground near them. Once they’ve gathered enough nectar, they deposit it onto a small wooden comb made out of wax or another substance such as leaves or plant fibers.
While on the comb, the nectar is ‘face’ and flavored by small bees called ‘house bees.’ After some time, the water content evaporates, leaving behind a thick liquid with a rich flavor.
The house bees will continue to add nectar to the same comb until it is full. At this point, the bees cap it with more wax or plant fibers to seal in the honey. Then it can be used as needed (4).
Clover honey comes from the flowers of the common white clover (Trifolium repens), a plant that is widespread in all areas of the world except for the polar regions. Since it is first and foremost an agricultural crop, its growth, harvesting and processing are poorly regulated, which means that it is prone to contamination with other types of pollen.
The average clover flower produces about 1 mg of pollen per flower, while other types produce much less (5).
The taste of clover honey depends on what plants the bees used to make the nectar, but most types of clover honey have a light color and a very sweet flavor. It is also known to cause severe allergic reactions in those who are highly sensitive to it.
There are many different types of clover honey available and each has its own unique flavor profile. Some of the most popular types are:
1. Blueberry honey comes from bees that feed on the nectar of the blueberry flower.
When consumed, this honey is known to have antioxidant and antibacterial properties.
2. Buckwheat honey is dark in color and has a strong, rich flavor that slightly bitter.
It is mainly found in Spain, where it is known as ‘miel de azucar’.
3. Eucalyptus honey is very popular in Greece and is known for being highly medicinal.
It has a very strong flavor and scent.
4. Lavender honey is a light colored, lightly scented honey that is made from the nectar of the common garden variety of lavender (Lavandula angustifolia).
It is known to have a very sweet taste (5).
5. Orange Blossom honey is a light color and has a mild, sweet flavor.
It is made from the nectar of the blossoms of the common European orange tree (4).
6. Rose honey is made from the nectar of various types of rose flowers.
It is very dark in color and has a very sweet taste. This type of honey should not be fed to infants, as it can cause a life-threatening condition known as infant botulism (4).
In some parts of the world, honey is also produced from other types of flowers, such as the:
1. Acacia honey comes from a type of acacia tree that grows in India and Australasia.
It is light in color and has a very delicate taste.
2. Eucalyptus honey comes from eucalyptus trees that are native to Australia.
This type of honey is known to have many medicinal uses (5).
3. Heather honey comes mainly from the heather plant that is common to Europe.
It has a very delicate, light taste (5).
Clover honey is made from the nectar of the common white clover flower (Trifolium repens). It gets its name from the three leaves that grow at the base of each blossom.
This type of honey is very common in North America and in temperate climates throughout the world. Its flavor is light and delicate, not quite as sweet as some other types of honey, with a very mild scent (5).
Clover honey has long been used as a folk remedy for a variety of medical conditions and has even been found in some ancient Egyptian tombs. Other types of honey found in ancient tombs include:
1. Acacia honey was found in the tomb of Pharaoh Ramses III.
It has a very distinctive flavor and is quite thick (5).
2. Heather honey is a common type of honey found in ancient tombs, such as those of the Greeks and the Romans.
It is commonly found in areas where heather grows and likes cool, damp weather (5).
3. Laurel honey was found in the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun.
It is light in color and has a very delicate taste (5).
Sources & references used in this article:
Inactivation of Clostridium sporogenes in clover honey by pulsed UV-light treatment by SL Hillegas, A Demirci – 2003 ASAE Annual Meeting, 2003 – elibrary.asabe.org
The origin of methylglyoxal in New Zealand manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) honey by CJ Adams, M Manley-Harris, PC Molan – Carbohydrate research, 2009 – Elsevier
Comparative antibacterial and antibiofilm activities of manuka honey and Egyptian clover honey by HA Abbas – Asian Journal of Applied Sciences, 2014 – python.zzx.us
Effect of processing and storage on antioxidant capacity of honey by XH Wang, N Gheldof, NJ Engeseth – Journal of Food Science, 2004 – Wiley Online Library
Assessment of losses in honey yield due to the chalkbrood disease, with reference to the determination of its economic injury levels in Egypt. by OA Zaghloul, AK Mourad, MBK El… – … in agricultural and …, 2005 – europepmc.org