hist-brewing: Leatherwood honey

Dan McFeeley mcfeeley at keynet.net
Tue Jan 23 08:10:00 PST 2001

Dean wrote, in reply to Tom's query about leatherwood honey meads:

>As you probably know leatherwood has a very strong taste.  As such it
>tends to dominate the mead and cause it to taste very harsh and rough.
>I would think that it would take a while to age.  I have some UK friends 
>who liken it making mead with heather honey.

I got curious about leatherwood honey and found a description (tacked
on below) at this URL:

If leatherwood honey is somewhat like the heather honey of the British
Isles, you might have an opportunity to make an Aussie version of
Brother Adam's famed heather honey meads!  Give it a try Tom and
let us know what happens in about eight years.  :-)

Dan McFeeley
mcfeeley at keynet.net


What is Leatherwood Honey?

Leatherwood honey is, as its name suggests the honey that bees produce 
from the nectar of the Leatherwood(Eucryphia lucida) plants' flower. The 
Leatherwood plant is endemic to Tasmania and is found in the wetter 
forest regions throughout the Western portion of the state. Leatherwood 
is the single most important nectar plant in Tasmania accounting for 
about 70% of all honey produced. Other sources of nectar include 
clover(in pasture), Eucalyptus blossoms and Blackberry. The variety of 
plants available to bees in nectar foraging may be used as a supplement 
to the Leatherwood plant in times of poor flowering or in parts of the 
season when Leatherwood does not flower, this is a preferable diet to 
feeding the bees sugar. Pure(unblended) varietal honey(such as 
Leatherwood) is analagous to single malt scotch whisky, even though 
flavours may vary from one season to the next and from batch to batch 
the flavour and character of the unblended product is superior enough to 
fetch a premium price. Unblended Leatherwood honey has a unique taste 
and smell which is quite different from that of blended honey and to 
many people consider it an acquired taste, some people swear by it 
others swear about it. This distinctive spicy flavour has made 
Leatherwood honey a reputation as a fine gourmet product both in 
Australia and overseas. Leatherwood honey may be bought either in its 
normal form or as a creamed(aerated honey). Honey is composed of two 
main sugars levulose and dextrose which are easily absorbed and used by 
the body, there are also many other minerals and vitamins in small 
quantities which give the honey its colour, flavour and physical 
properties. Honey also has a mild antibacterial effects and has been 
used as a salve for burns and an antiseptic for cuts in the past. 
Leatherwood honey may be used for a variety of purposes such as
•as a spread on toast •as an ingredient in recipes Leatherwood honey is 
ideal as it not only sweetens but adds a fantastic flavour(cakes, 
muffins, slices) •over Cornflakes or Weetbix •in coffee or tea •
dissolved in water as a sports drink(easily absorbed sugars). 

Generally anywhere that normal honey would be used but for a much more 
exciting flavour!

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