Whenever the sunflower is predominant the honey is pure. If there happens to be any harmful substances, like pollutants in the soil, they don’t reach the flower. The reason for this is because the plant actually retains them in the stems. This means the nectar that the bees gather is 100 percent unspoiled.
Bees can't get enough of the oily sunflower. It's not like they can miss this large, brightly colored plant, which drowns out all other blooms calling for attention. In fact, some plants can get as tall as 14 feet though the average is around nine feet. Add to this their bright yellow petals and it’s easy to see how they can dominate. The sunflower blooms around July in a typical year and last for about 20 days give or take a day or two either side. The warmer the day, the more nectar the flower secretes. Because sunflowers are such large daisies, they produce a lot more nectar than any of the smaller plants.
Characteristics of Sunflower Honey
- Color: light to extra light
- Flavor: fresh, herbaceous, maybe even citrusy
- Aroma: floral, slightly oily
- Crystallization: twenty days to two months (large crystals)
Sunflower honey is popular in both sweet and savory baking. Some people enjoy the honey drizzled over fruit, or to add a little something extra to cheese or yogurt. It's also popular as a natural sweetener.
Health benefits of this honey are similar to that of most other honeys. Some people who have used it for medicinal purposes swear by its effectiveness. Others are more skeptical. There is quite a bit of ongoing research into most of the popular honeys, though the scientific community has not yet confirmed many of the claims. Even so, sunflower honey, like other honeys, shows a lot of promise in regard to its medicinal properties. Here are a few of the health claims for this particular variety.
- Helps with stomach-intestine conditions
- Helps with lung and kidney diseases
- Helps with heart conditions
- Contains anti-microbial properties
- Wound healing
- Helps with dermatitis
- Helps with rhinitis
- Helps with sinusitis
- Lessens symptoms of cold and flu
- Promotes hair growth and maintenance
- Helps with spastic constipation
Further reading of interest: As pointed out in the opening paragraph, sunflowers can hold all contaminants from the soil in their stems. It's not like this for many other plants though. The scientific study below looks at the pesticides that can get into some honeys.
Pesticides in honey: A review on chromatographic analytical methods.
Talanta. 2016 Mar 1;149:124-41. doi: 10.1016/j.talanta.2015.11.045. Epub 2015 Nov 19Z
Souza Tette PA, Rocha Guidi L, de Abreu Glória MB, Fernandes C.
Sunflower honey is well-respected in the world as a quality produce. The biggest manufacturers of this honey are France and Spain, though some other countries also produce it too. It has good antioxidant properties, like other honeys, which makes it a good natural treatment for common colds, sore throats and for easing flu symptoms. Anyone who enjoys sweeter honeys will find a place for sunflower at their table.