I had never heard of borage honey before coming to the UK. I wasn’t sure what the plant even looked like. Well now I do: it is a blue flowering, edible plant mostly used for medicinal purposes – especially when processed into oil. Both honeybees and bumble bees love it.
Mick Smith is a beekeeper I know personally here in the UK, who not only was friendly to me when I joined the Association, he was also very supportive in helping me get involved in the local activity, festivals, fly-overs and networking. So naturally, when I had the opportunity to purchase borage honey, I chose to buy a jar from the man himself.
This is an interesting honey, mostly because my first impression was disappointing.
To say the smell is light is an understatement, it is almost non-existent to me. It didn’t have the usual engulfing smell that other honeys have offered me so far. I twisted and twisted the lid, until I finally opened the jar and…nothing. It might as well have been a jar full of dry sugar grains. What do you do with honey that lacks in one of the vital sensory features?
Well, you give it a go and avoid reviewing it as long as possible.
The best way to describe the flavour of the honey (to me) is standard. It tastes like what honey would taste to someone who has heard about it, had it in throat pastilles and in teabags already infused with honey. Like what you imagine the honey in a “Greek style yogurt and honey” magazine advert will taste like. Plain, simple and just what the Cambridge English dictionary defines it as:
“honey • noun / ˈhʌn.i / a sweet, sticky, yellow substance made by bees and used as food”
However, the longer I had it for and used it, the more I started noticing how nicely it spreads on your lips in a syrup-like manner, very similar to a drizzle or thin toffee sauce. It was satisfying in its simple way.
And then, I hit the jackpot. I found the perfect spot for this honey: in tea, smoothies and food or cake recipes. It occurred to me that when you read a recipe, it only calls for “honey”, without any mention of which type. I can only assume that it is because chefs, either don’t have the knowledge (which I doubt), or because they think cooks in home kitchens will just use a simple flavoured, box standard honey. In this scenario, the borage honey is perfect, better than a mixed blossom honey, exactly because it delivers this exact flavour without overpowering the other ingredients in the recipe.
Although I will not be having this one by the spoonful, it is my go-to honey for adding in a mixture of other ingredients.