Coffee has its Kopi Luwak, cheese has its Pule, and a strong contender in the honey world is Tupelo Honey.
What do all these things have in common?
Let’s put aside their monetary value for a second…
What makes these items special is the way they are made.
With regards to Kopi Luwak coffee, a unique cat-like animal has to eat and partially digest the coffee beans before collecting and processing them for our consumption.
That means that it can only originate in a small part of the world where this creature, a wild civet, thrives.
Let’s look at the cheese.
We rely on cows, goats, and sheep to provide the milk we use to make most of our cheese. Pule cheese, the most expensive cheese in the world, comes from the milk of the Balkan donkey, which is native to Serbia and Montenegro.
That indeed makes it a rare delicacy.
Following this pattern, let’s look at the unique way we get Tupelo honey and uncover its benefits.
Why Tupelo Honey is So Special
Most beekeepers do not have a specialized product.
Unless you control everything that grows within a 3-mile radius of the apiary, it can be difficult to have a crop of honey from only one type of plant.
Bee Hive Placement
Most of the honey we consume comes from a range of flowers. If the hives are out in the wilderness, you could get honey that tastes reminiscent of certain wildflowers.
To specialize in a crop of honey, the beekeeper has to situate their beehives strategically so that the bees focus only on the flowers the beekeeper wants them to target.
You need to ensure that the honey you harvest is only from your target Tupelo blooms. That means your beehives have to be in place, with empty supers at just the right time.
If you move them in too early, the bees may forage on other flowers in bloom, which will mix up with the target nectar source.
For honey to be considered as single flower honey, like in the case of Tupelo, it is subject to pollen analysis.
A similar analysis is done for internationally recognized single-flower honey such as Manuka honey.
The pollen content must be over 51% of the pollen found in the honey. Anything less would not be considered a single flower.
Where Tupelo Honey Originates
Tupelo honey comes from the nectar of the White Ogeechee Tupelo trees. The Tupelo tree, also known as the swamp gum tree, is abundant in only a few places in the country, including Northwestern Florida, Southern Georgia, and Louisiana.
Alligators inhabit some of these swamps, which makes it difficult to set up apiaries there. So, what do the beekeepers do?
Beekeepers load their beehives on barges like what you see in the image below and float them in the swamp for the 3-week blooming period.
Now, that’s a pretty slim window that mother nature can reduce if she’s temperamental. The little flowers are very delicate and can be easily destroyed by high winds or severe rain.
This is why the demand for Tupelo honey will always exceed the supply.
6 Key Tupelo Honey Benefits
1. Fantastic Buttery Flavor
It is thought that people are attracted to exclusivity, but one of the main reasons why Tupelo honey flies off the shelf is its unique flavor.
The beautiful golden hue just adds to the consumer experience.
The flavor is fruity. Some even say it has a peach-like quality.
This raw honey is very pleasant and appeals to a wide variety of people because of its mild taste.
Most consumers say Tupelo honey does not compare to any other type of honey and is unique.
2. Buy it Liquid, it Stays Liquid
Although crystallized honey can be a great product to eat or use as a spread, some people prefer their honey liquid.
If you fall into this group, Tupelo honey is precisely what you need.
Crystallization is a natural process, and there are many myths out there about it. Many equate it to adulterated honey. That simply isn’t true.
To combat this, there are many honey sellers who heat their honey in order to reduce the rate of crystallization.
Unfortunately, exposing honey to such high temperatures kills many of the nutritional qualities of honey.
With Tupelo honey, you never have to worry about that. Tupelo honey can remain as liquid gold for years, even if kept at room temperature.
This is just one of the benefits of Tupelo honey, especially when you need a honey drizzle.
3. Can be Used by Diabetics
The reason tupelo honey doesn’t crystallize easily is that the ratio of sugars that make up this exceptional type of honey is in favor of fructose.
You see, regular honey is made up of two types of sugar: fructose and glucose.
The fructose-glucose ratio will determine how easily the honey will crystallize without any intervention.
Clover honey, for instance, is rich in glucose and is, therefore, prone to crystallization.
Tupelo has the opposite quality, which keeps the honey liquid. This raw honey has a high fructose content.
Fructose is a healthier sweetener and is easier for the body to break down than glucose. Acting as a natural sugar, this rare honey is an alternative sweetener that does not affect a person’s blood sugar level.
This is why Tupelo honey benefits diabetics. They resort to tupelo honey as an alternative sweetener.
4. Has Several Health Benefits
Forget the “an apple a day.” Tupelo honey will keep the doctor away. There is scientific proof that honey has medicinal uses.
Its anti-microbial properties make it ideal for keeping wounds from getting infected. To be fair, this isn’t completely new information.
Although more research in the field is required, honey has also been shown to reduce the symptoms in asthmatics and people with bronchitis.
Honey has anti-inflammatory properties that help to open up the airways.
It has also been proven that children who take two spoons of honey daily fare better with regard to health than those who don’t.
Honey has antioxidant properties as well. This helps the body fight various problems caused by those free radicals roaming about within us. Why should we care about free radicals?
First, they are the reason we age physically.
Personally, I don’t mind the aging process too much. I actually look forward to that because there’s a lot I plan to get away with during my sunset years.
Unfortunately, that’s their best attribute.
Free radicals have been linked to a myriad of diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular diseases, and even cancer.
These are all areas that create healthy profit margins for pharmaceutical companies.
It goes without saying that natural remedies like honey that can help prevent such illnesses are a much better alternative to a lifetime of pills and experimental treatments.
As science continues to explore the treasures locked in the golden capsules found in beehives, who knows what other discoveries we will make about the health benefits of honey?
5. More Than Just a Sweetener
This is where honey, especially tupelo honey, knocks out the sweetener competitors.
Tupelo honey is a natural source of various minerals that we do not find in processed sugar.
- Vitamin C helps to repair damaged cells.
- Iron is literally our lifeline. It is a vital component of our red blood cells, without which our blood wouldn’t be able to do its job.
- Thiamine helps the body absorb vital minerals.
- Amino acids provide energy and boost the immune system.
This makes tupelo honey the complete healthy package.
6. Preserving the Habitat
There are few single-flower kinds of honey left that aren’t from cultivated crops.
Tupelo trees are found in their original habitat and the swamps are a vibrant ecosystem that supports various organisms.
Tupelo honey allows us to appreciate this rare treat from nature that we can only enjoy if the trees and surrounding environment are preserved.
In recent years, it has become harder for beekeepers to report a bumper Tupelo harvest.
There could be any number of reasons that contribute to reduced harvests, but that conversation remains relevant as long as we continue to appreciate and consume tupelo honey.
The best things in life may be free, but the really good rare stuff is pricey.
Tupelo honey is a treasure made available once a year.
It’s such a short window of opportunity that having tasted and appreciated this type of honey, you can understand why the price tag is at a premium rate.
How often do we come across something healthy that actually looks and tastes good? Not often enough, if you ask me.
Now that I know the benefits of Tupelo honey, I would trade this honey for vegetable smoothies any day.
If you haven’t tried Tupelo honey yet, you should. It is anything but overrated.