There are several methods to classify honey, and each of them is used for special purposes. Consumers of this product find the scheme of honey classification by its origin and kinds to be the most necessary. This systematization explains which plants the nectar was gathered from. It also illustrates the properties of different honey kinds, both organoleptic and healing. Moreover, honey is classified by its marketable condition, consistence, transparency, colour, aroma and technological properties.

Classification by origin

  • Floral honey is produced by bees in the process of gathering and processing the nectar of both flowering and non-flowering plants. It can be monofloral and polyfloral. In the former case bees gather honey mainly from one kind of plants and in the latter it is mostly various herbs, bushes and trees that they use.
  • Honeydew honey is made of honey dew (floral sap processed by some species of insects, for instance, aphids). This honey is considered as valuable as floral but it is not suitable for feeding bees in winter. Honeydew honey can be consumed by people without limitations because of its good healing properties due to the high amount of mineral substances. Honeydew honey is procured in the same way as floral but special indication “Honeydew honey” is made on its packages.
  • Mixed honey consists of both floral and honeydew types. Depending on the prevailing source mixed honey is called either honeydew-floral or floral-honeydew.

There are tens or even hundreds of monofloral honey types — from classical white honey to exotic eucalyptus and coriander honey. In the climatic and natural conditions of Ukraine the most wide-spread types are acacia, buckwheat, sunflower and white honey. Valuable honey types with high content of glucose, fructose, vitamins and other biologically active substances are prepared from the nectar of the plants that grow in our country.

Polyfloral honey is usually classified by the place where it was gathered — mountain, meadow, steppe, forest, etc.

Aroma, taste and consistence of this product also depend on the place of gathering.

Classification by color

According to its color honey is divided into light and dark with plenty of transiting shades from white to reddish-brown. Color of honey depends on the plants from whose nectar the product was made. Basswood, acacia, sunflower give honey a light color, and buckwheat or milkwort make it look dark. Consequently, the color of polyfloral honey can fall within a wide range of shades, from light yellow to dark.

Furthermore, honey color is influenced by the time and place of its gathering: honey gathered in spring is lighter than honey gathered in the second half of summer; honey gathered on the hills has a lighter color than honey gathered in lowlands.

Classification by consistence (thickness)

  • Liquid honey — this is a normal state of fresh honey after its extraction from honeycombs. Liquid honey has various degrees of thickness (viscosity). Honey viscosity depends on water content and, to some extent, on ambient temperature and humidity (honey gathered during nasty weather is more liquid than honey that was got when the weather was dry). Liquid honey can also be produced by heating solid honey but in this case most of its useful properties will be lost.
  • Solid honey can naturally appear from liquid honey and all its properties are still preserved. Crystals of honey can be of small size (granules smaller than 0.5 mm), large (more than 0.5 mm) and lard-like (crystals are not discernable by a naked eye). Honey of high quality always gets solid evenly throughout. Sometimes a syrup-like fluid can be seen in solid honey suggesting high content of fruit sugar that can hardly get crystallized. Honey crystals are influenced by temperature. At 13 to 14°С honey gets crystallized quickly but at 27 to 32°С this process stops and at 40°С crystals are dissolved and honey becomes liquid.

Classification by production method

  • Comb honey is delivered to the consumer in its natural condition together with honeycombs in the form of small rectangles. Inside these combs honey can be liquid or of thick consistence.
  • Centrifugal honey is produced in the process of extracting it from comb cells with the help of honey extractor. As a rule, the term “honey” designates centrifugal honey.
  • Pressed honey is made by pressing honeycombs with or without moderate heating. Honey of high viscosity (e.g. heather honey) is pressed because it is not possible to extract it using honey extractor
  • Chunk honey means chunks of comb honey covered with centrifugal honey. Honeycombs are cut in pieces and put in glass jars. Space between these combs is filled with liquid honey of a low crystallization degree.