Sourwood Honey

In the Southern section of the Appalachian Mountains, there is a tree that honey bees use to create one of the most interesting honeys in the world. With a rich, smooth taste that has hints of maple and caramel, Sourwood honey is a staple in many people’s kitchens around the Southeast. Sourwood trees blossom in mid to late summer when few other flowers are blossoming. Honey bees gather nectar from its petite white flowers and produce a honey that you have to taste to believe. With a light amber color that darkens over time, Sourwood honey goes well on anything ranging from pancakes and biscuits in the morning to vanilla ice cream at night. Brussel sprouts and bacon, collard greens and grilled asparagus, Sourwood makes it all better.

sourwood flower

Sourwood Flowers

Named for the sour tasting leaves (not its sour tasting honey), Sourwood trees typically grow to about 30ft in height. The long bell shaped white flower clusters make it attractive during the summer, and during autumn it is of one of the only trees in Georgia that changes color with the season. Driving through the mountains in the fall, it is a beautiful sight to see all of the reddish brown leaves down the sides of the hills. At Savannah Bee Company, we all look forward to late summer when can get a taste of the new season of Sourwood. The barrels come in the back and everyone waits until the first bottles come off the line.

Growing up in the South, I have found that when most people think of honey it is Sourwood honey that is on their mind. It’s that honey that was on their pork tenderloin that one time, or the honey they remember from breakfast at their mother’s house. At Savannah Bee we have been lucky enough to have visitors from all over the world. People from all parts of the US and abroad all ask for Sourwood honey. It’s not surprising that it has won so many awards over the last few years. It is truly a honey that others should be judged by.


Submitted By: Usher Gay

Featured Recipe – Ginger, Garlic and Sourwood Honey Grilled Baby Back Ribs

Comments (3)

  1. Katie says:

    Sourwood honey is the most unique, delicious tasting honey I have been fortunate enough to encounter! Something else interesting is that the Sourwood tree (Oxydendrum arboretum) is believed to possess supernatural powers among Cherokee herbalists and is used in Appalachian folk remedies in a similar manner. Sourwood leaves impart a sourness that is renowned for quenching thirst while hiking by stimulating salivary glands.

  2. Teresa Fivek says:

    I am so in love with this honey and you guys are always out of stock. Please tell me there is no shortage and when I can get some. I am having withdrawals. Hurry worker Bees!

    1. brantley says:

      Hi Teresa! Sourwood honey comes in each year in late August. Last year was a terrible production year because of some regionally bad weather during the August bloom. This is why we were unable to keep Sourwood honey in stock all year. Check out the blog post linked below for more information about Sourwood honey and please keep your fingers crossed for a strong Sourwood honey production season in 2015!

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