Honolulu, HI

One of the rarest types of honey in the world comes from the big island of Hawaii, White Kiawe Honey.

Sara B

White Kiawe honey is one of the rarest honey found in the United States, specifically on the Big Island of Hawaii. White Kiawe honey comes from Puako, 1000 acres of forest, and is also a natural bee habitat as the forest is home to Kiawe, a desert mesquite tree.

However, Kiawe is native to the South American countries of Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia, and it is believed that the tree was brought to the big island in 1828 by Father Alexis Bachelot, a Catholic missionary. It is said that he planted a Kiawe seed in what is now downtown Honolulu.

The tree thrives on the islands, creating wispy elongated lemon-yellow flowers and a perfect place for the bees to collect nectar, producing the rare, award-winning Kiawe honey. In South America the Kiawe tree is considered ¨the mother tree¨.

In addition, the trees can flower all year long, creating a 99% monofloral honey, meaning the bees exclusively feed off the Kiawe flower. The result is a smooth, creamy white honey. However, the extraction process must be timed perfectly; if removed too early, the honey ferments, and if collected too late, the honey crystallizes and needs to be melted by applying head, affecting the natural floral flavors.

Some report that honey has an aftertaste of menthol, yet others claim the honey has a vanilla almond flavor. It is a natural food source and is best eaten fresh.

In 2007 a forest fire destroyed half of the Kiawe trees in Puako. The same year the varroa mite wiped out a large portion of the island bee population.

Kiawe honey is sold as raw honey, and some of the benefits of raw white honey are:

  • Raw honey contains antioxidants called flavonoids and phenolic compounds. Antioxidants help protect your body from cell damage due to free radicals.
  • It can act as a cough suppressant and helps soothe a sore throat. In addition, the Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that honey is as effective as dextromethorphan, an over-the-counter cough suppressant.
  • Honey contains protective phytonutrients, which possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
  • Honey can assist in skin care and wound healing and can be found in beauty products. In addition, research on raw honey has found that it can kill harmful bacteria and fungi and act as a natural antiseptic.

So if you are ever on the big island of Hawaii, pick up a jar of Kiawe honey.

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