Honey was the first sweet thing to touch our lips, and in the cases of some of our dead, the last. Though the golden color of it is frequently associated with the hazy glow of summer, true connoisseurs know that it is the duskier, deeper colored honey offered up in autumn which gives the richest delight.
Rare and valued because so often there is not enough honey produced to both sustain the beehives through winter and sate the tongues of people, these honeys are typically of a much darker, amber hue than the summer varieties. More than any other honey, these rare batches are truly representative of abundance, wealth, and the enduring power of the sun.
There are four types of autumnal honey that you are most likely to come across, should you be fortunate enough to find any at all:
Bamboo Honey: Coming from the invasive Japanese knotweed, this plant flowers in the autumn long past the time many other flowers have given up the ghost. The color is very dark, but the flavor is surprisingly light. Use this to instill tenaciousness in your craft, but also to evoke a sense of being a stranger in a strange land for those uncertain times.
Aster Honey: Light, bright, and sweet as candy, you’ll want to keep this honey fairly warm to prevent it from firming up on you. Asters are representative of love and faith, so their honey is perfect to incorporate into comfort foods for your loved ones during times of fear and stress.
Buckwheat Honey: Deep and dark as sin, you could almost mistake this honey for molasses (and can use it in place of it for some recipes). There’s a strong malty flavor here, as with a good beer, and this may be your go-to honey for hearty breads. Drizzle this onto your workings to instill a strong will and drive to endure, even in the hardest of times.
Goldenrod Honey: Cunning folk will recommend this honey to help overcome seasonal allergies, as goldenrod is purported to be a common irritant for many people. And though it be based on florals (as all honeys are), the flavor is said to be rather spiced. Blend this into your practice when you need to cure what ails you (spiritually or physically) and your health has become your focus.
If you want to truly take the magic of autumnal honey into yourself, there is no finer method (in my opinion) than through a dollop in your tea of choice.
[Ashley Nicole Hunter is a founding editor and regular contributor of ev0ke. She also serves on the board of directors of Bibliotheca Alexandrina.]