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Sandt's Pure Honey Clover honey is honey produced by bees which feed primarily on the nectar of clover plants. The United States, New Zealand, and Canada all make high volumes of clover honey, with varying levels of quality. Many markets stock clover honey, because consumers like the mild, slightly floral flavor of this honey, and it can also be purchased directly through apiaries. Clover is a creeping plant in the pea family which produces large amounts of nectar.
In many regions of the world, people use clover to control erosion on banks and hillsides, because the plant roots well, holding back the soil, and clover is also used for animal fodder. Beekeepers who want to make clover honey place their hives in an area with a lot of clover, and they may also plant clover around their hives to encourage their bees to feed specifically on clover. The quality of clover honey is dependent on several factors.
The first is the time of year. Late spring and summer honey tend to be the best, with the strongest and richest flavor. The second is the diet of the bees; because bees are allowed to roam free, beekeepers have little control over the flowers the bees chose to feed from. In an area with a high concentration of clover, the bees may feed primarily on clover, but they can also introduce other flavors into the honey by feeding on plants other than clover. If the bees feed on plants with a strong flavor, like eucalyptus, it can markedly alter the flavor of their honey.
The handling of the honey is also very important. Many companies pasteurize their honey to reduce the risk of selling honey with potentially harmful bacteria, and the honey may also be subjected to a filtering process. If the honey is heavily pasteurized, the delicate flavor may be cooked out. This leads some consumers to eat raw honey, which has a fuller flavor, but raw honey still needs to be filtered and handled carefully for the best flavor and to ensure safety.
Pure clover honey is essentially impossible to find, because bees can range across great distances in search of nectar. Clover honey from bees who eat mostly clover will be pale amber to almost white in color, with a grassy floral scent and a subtle flavor. The honey can be sold in liquid form, but it may also be whipped or packaged with honeycomb.
Many honey producers blend pale honey varieties and sell the resulting mixture as clover honey, which explains why the flavor of this honey can vary so widely. If you have an opportunity to taste honey before purchase, this is highly advised, because you may find that some clover honeys taste better than others.