Avocado Honey Deserves A Place At Your Dinner Table

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Did you know that avocados make honey? It may not be the honey you're used to — but it's not entirely different, either. We may not think about avocado trees as producing flowers, but they grow small, light greenish-yellow blossoms from March to May every year. Bees come to pollinate them just as they do for other flowers, although they tend to have a preference for different types of citrus trees. Apparently, bees try to steer clear of plants that contain high levels of salts — and since avocado trees are full of phosphorus and potassium, they're not the insects' first choice.

But occasionally, bees do harvest nectar from avocado blossoms, and we can reap avocado honey from their honeycombs. This version is much darker in color than what we're used to — if you saw it in stores, you may mistake it for molasses. It's typically a dark brown, almost black nectar due to the antioxidants polyphenols. 

Not only does it look like molasses, but it tastes a bit like it with its rich, deep, strongly-flavored nectar sans the bitterness. It is also less sweet than most honey. Surprisingly, it doesn't taste like avocado at all, although some report it has a creamy texture like the fruit.

Avocado honey vs. other types of honey

There are a whopping 26 types of honey out there, and avocado honey may be one of the most rare since the tree's blossoms are low on the totem pole of bees' preference. The most common type that we'll see stocked on grocery store shelves is clover honey. Unlike the potent flavor of the avocado variety, the clover type is light, super sweet, and flowery, which aligns perfectly with clover flowers' strong floral scent. Its texture is thicker and syrupy in nature, making it easy to incorporate into various dishes. 

Another variety that has been increasing in popularity in the U.S. is manuka honey, which bees make from the tea tree in Australia and New Zealand. Like with avocado flowers, tea tree flowers are only in season for a short time, up to six weeks, and like avocado honey, the manuka kind is monofloral, meaning it only comes from one type of flower. Depending on where it's sourced, the flavor can be pretty light, or it can have a more robust and earthy taste. Manuka honey is probably the most interesting in texture since it will remain thick and gelatinous no matter what it's mixed in.

Buckwheat honey may be one of the most similar in appearance and texture to the avocado variety. It's rich in polyphenols from the buckwheat plant and, as a result, has a dark brown shade similar to molasses and is considered creamy in consistency. Unlike other types, it's not super sweet and has a more earthy and bitter flavor profile.

How to cook with avocado honey

Because it has such a deep, unique flavor, avocado honey is perfect for a simple snack where its flavors can truly shine, so you may want to try spreading it on toast, freshly baked bread, rolls, oatmeal, yogurt bowls, or crackers. It's also a great option to drizzle over a variety of desserts where you want a little sweetness and richness — think cake, pie, waffles, and oven-baked blueberry pancakes. You can even use it instead of regular honey in baking recipes, but just keep in mind that avocado honey's darker color may impact the shade of your final product.

But that's not all avocado honey can do — because it's not overly sweet, it also works in a variety of savory dishes. Try substituting it for your typical honey in a glaze, such as the one in these honey-glazed chicken thighs or honey-glazed carrots. Or use avocado honey in a marinade for your protein of choice, like the one in this honey-soy baked rainbow trout recipe. You could also use it as a sweetener in a fruit salad recipe or as an ingredient in a salad dressing when combined with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, dijon mustard, and black pepper.

Where to buy avocado honey

Since U.S. avocados are primarily grown in California, you'll be the most likely to find their honey on the West Coast. You may be able to get it in specialty grocery stores or at farmers markets in the spring, and some Trader Joe's stores may occasionally carry it too. If not, you can order it from a plethora of local farm websites online, such as cold-packed avocado honey from Honey Pacifica Pure Virgin or raw local avocado honey from Temecula Valley Honey Company or San Diego Honey Company

Some online retailers, like Top Butcher, also sell it with other specialty honey like blueberry blossom and sweet orange blossom. If you're really willing to shell out some dough for a large quantity of avocado honey, you can even buy a 60-pound pail of it from Bee Natural Honey. However, it's also possible to buy small bottles from major retailers like Amazon and Walmart

Once you do get your hands on a bottle, avocado honey can last a good long time. Unlike other types of honey, the avocado variety doesn't crystallize as quickly, meaning it has a lower risk of fermentation.