Gallberry Honey

Ark of taste
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Gallberry honey is sourced from a small evergreen holly bush (also known as inkberry) that grows along the South Atlantic and Gulf coast and produces the most honey in the piney woods and swamps of southern Georgia and northern Florida. In the springtime the bushes blossom with white flowers, which drip nectar and then turn into little black berries. The honey is amber in color, on the lighter side. Its flavor is thick and aromatic, a perfect table honey, and also recommended for baking. Gallberry honey is known for its lack of granulation. Gallberry honey is desirable for its rich, elegant taste and is prized for its honeycomb. It is also high in pollen and enzymes, and it is slow to crystallize. According to Florida beekeeper Doug McGinnis, gallberry is a favored blending honey in Europe, because it blends with other varietals and punches up the amount of diastase enzymes in the blend. Gallberry is one of the highest honeys for diastase enzymes. Gallberry honey is harvested from naturally growing holly bushes in dwindling habitats—the untamed forests of south Georgia and north Florida. Says McGinnis, “Gallberry blooms late April until early June. Ideal production, according to beekeepers, occurs when the gallberry bush has ‘feet in water, head in sunshine.’” Single-varietal honeys (honey made from the nectar of a single flower variety such as gallberry) and their bee colonies have yet to be affected by CCD (colony collapse disorder). Still, this increasingly widespread and mysterious disease is a danger and could put small, artisan, and single-varietal beekeepers out of business or cause them to turn to less sustainable, market-driven practices. Mites are also a problem.

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