If you’ve been a Savannah Bee Company fan for a while, you’ll notice our Palmetto Honey looks a little … different.
Actually, all our honeys (and, shortly thereafter, all our body care) soon will be sporting new labels and packaging, but Palmetto Honey also got somewhat of a promotion as well: Its name has changed to the more specific and proper Saw Palmetto Honey, it is now included in our line of specialty monofloral honeys, and it will be available in a 20oz flute bottle.
The redesign process inspired us to take a closer look at every one of our nearly 170 products, and we quickly realized this unassuming honey was deserving of a little more love. Here’s why …
Honeybees make Saw Palmetto Honey from Serenoa repens, a short palm tree topped by an enormous crown of fan-shaped leaves. If you've been anywhere along the coast from southern South Carolina to Florida or along the coast of Alabama and Louisiana, you've probably seen it. The saw palmetto flourishes along this very thin band of subtropical lowland scrub, but it reaches its greatest abundance in the pine flatwoods and dry prairie ecosystems in Florida.
The land area where saw palmetto grows is not very large — and it’s getting smaller and smaller by the minute due to urbanization and new understory clearing practices in the farmed timber industry. Less open space for wildlife means fewer saw palmettos, which means even less of a honey that is already in short supply. Ted had a heck of a time trying to find some this year.
Another reason this honey is only produced in small quantities is because the saw palmetto’s growth rate is extremely slow. Here’s the really amazing part: It takes 100 years for this palm to grow big and strong enough to produce nectar for the bees to start their honey-making process. It also lives a very long time — especially in Florida, where some saw palmettos are pushing 700 years. Some people say even older.
From such a remarkable plant comes a remarkable honey. In fact, Saw Palmetto Honey is the oldest known honey in the Sunshine State and is thought of as a hidden treasure in those parts. It is packed with enzymes, antioxidants, vitamins, acids, and phytonutrients, making it good for our digestive and immune systems. This can be said for all high-quality honey, but darker honeys can contain up to 20 times more nutrients than lighter honeys. Some even say Saw Palmetto Honey rivals Manuka Honey for antimicrobial effectiveness.
Saw Palmetto Honey is a light to deep amber in color. It is full-bodied, citrusy, smoky, with woody overtones. Some people say they even taste a little caramel in there. Its boldness an
d complexity make it a great complement to cooked or cured meats (such as prosciutto, sausage, pepperoni, and capicola) and salty, hard cheeses (like asiago, manchego, and gouda). Try it with a sharp black tea or strong Earl Grey. We’ve also heard it makes great mead or a tasty honey beer. Most importantly, it's the perfect sweetener for the South's signature drink, Sweet Tea.
So there you have it: the why and how of Saw Palmetto Honey’s journey from humble obscurity to sweet superstar. We hope you’ll try it if you haven’t already. And for those of you who have, try it again! We’re certain you’ll agree it deserves to be up there with our other Specialty Honeys.