Acacia honey stands out from the other types of honey with quite an impressive "portfolio". And though it is the most demanded variety on the market and is classified as “the best honey” by the mass consumer, it is wrong to consider it as the best and most useful. There are over 300 different types of honey, depending on the plants from which bees collect nectar, as each type has its own distinguishing features and advantages. As a matter of fact, there is no bad quality honey (if natural), as well as it is hard to single out the best variety, yet it's true that acacia honey is the most preferred type.
It crystallyzes slowly, 1-2 years after being extracted (read more about honey crystallization here). Its capacity to remain in a liquid state for a long time, combined with its light color, gives it a great commercial appearance and leads to an irresistible desire to dip your finger right into the acacia honey jar if placed among other varieties.
It has an unobtrusive taste and you can consume greater amounts without having the sick feeling of overdosing which comes after taking 1-2 spoons of other types of honey. Highly preferred to mix with drinks, as it does not affect the overall taste (no aftertaste).
Its color depends on whether it has been collected from white (Robinia pseudoacacia L.) or yellow acacia (Caragana arborescens Lam), as yellow acacia honey is light yellow, whereas that coming from white acacia is lighter, almost transparent. In Bulgaria white acacia is most common.
Apart from its appearance, acacia honey stands out with a number of other characteristics.
It is readily absorbed by the body. Since it is much richer in fruit sugar than other varieties, it has a low glycemic index (does not burden the pancreas) and is quite suitable for people suffering from diabetes (type II).
Due to its low pollen content, no allergic reactions are caused.
People usually associate its healing properties with "cough suppressant" and "good antiseptic," but in practice its activity spectrum is much wider.
When consumed regularly, acacia honey leads to blood pressure normalization and blood composition balance, increasing the level of hemoglobin (check "How Does Honey Affect Your Blood Counts?"). Sleep is improved. It has calming effect and is beneficial upon stress, nervous tension and mental disorders. Acacia honey also stimulates brain activity and is quite suitable for those who labor intellectually (and physically, in this line of thought, as it facilitates faster recovery). It energizes the body.
It is used in the treatment of ophthalmic diseases and conjunctivitis. Because of its strong antiseptic effect, it is also applied in cases of eczema, sores, skin problems, neurodermatitis, diseases of the oral cavity.
Acacia honey purifies the liver. It acts as a diuretic and antimicrobial agent, and is often defined as a natural antibiotic.
It is beneficial in cases of bronchial asthma and is also used for the treatment of rhinitis, bronchitis, laryngitis, tracheitis, etc.
Like any other type of honey, it has a strong beneficial effect in the treatment of gastritis, ulcers and other gastrointestinal diseases.
Apart from being a source of easily digestible carbohydrates, without straining the pancreas, acacia honey is a natural source of a rich complex of vitamins and microelements, antioxidants, flavonoids, phytonutrients, substances with anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties, antibacterial compounds, biogenic stimulators, organic acids and minerals.
Why is it more expensive?
In practice, it could be said that acacia honey is among the most expensive varieties on the market. That, of course, is not accidental.
It is partly due to the greater demand for that product. Besides, it is harder to obtain and is produced in scarce quantities. In order to have acacia honey, there should be a good year and a combination of favorable factors. During the so-called "dry periods", there are not acacia honey yields for several consecutive years, and purposeful yields imply more risks and costs for the beekeepers.
Acacia starts blossoming in May. That is when bee colonies have not "picked up momentum" yet and are not strong enough to fully assimilate the forage, as is the case with the sunflower forage, for example. Their strengthening requires a lot of additional costs and cares, which at times is risky for a number of reasons.
One of them is that such bee strengthening in May coincides with the period when bee families tend to hive off (part of the bees leave the hive when the family becomes too strong and there is “shortage of space” in the beehive – a natural reproduction instinct), which causes great losses for beekeepers (not only do they lose bees, but the main bee family that has remained in the hive gets weak and is unable to prepare for the next major forage).
Another risky issue is that acacia blooms for 10-15 days. It is within that short period of time that several factors depending entirely on nature should not only exist but be in certain combination so that bees may collect honey. Nectar secretion requires moisture. If it rains, though, it shouldn’t be for long, because rain washes away the nectar from the blossoms. Whereas wind dries them off. On the one hand worming facilitates nectar secretion, but on the other hand in spring time (especially in North Bulgaria) sharp cold spells tend to follow worm weather which damages the blossoms.
When acacia honey finally ends up in the glass jar after so many twists and turns to its appearance into the world, one could say it is definitely worth the price and waiting.