Tupelo honey includes table and baking grades of honey made from the blossoms of the tupelo gum tree, Nyssa aquatica. The tupelo gum tree grows in flooded forest areas in states such as Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, and Virginia as well as along the Mississippi River, but the honey is mainly only produced commercially in areas along the Choctawhatchee, Apalachicola, and Ochlockonee rivers. Honey made from the white tupelo gum tree, Nyssa ogeche, is top quality table honey and is valued for its uniquely delicious flavor and its inability to granulate.
White tupelo honey is sometimes called fine tupelo honey and is the most expensive honey because it is the most expensive to produce. Care must be taken by the beekeepers to clean the combs at the right time so that when the white tupelo gum tree blossoms, only the honey from these blossoms is collected. It is a prized, sweet and delicious light amber table honey with a greenish hue to it and it won't granulate or crystallize.
Black tupelo honey is made from the blossoms of the black tupelo gum tree, Nyssa sylvatica, and it produces a darker honey that will granulate. It is not prized for table honey and is often used as a bakery grade honey. Both white and black types are produced by placing bees on platforms on the tupelo gum trees in the spring months. As the bees travel through the swamps, they produce the honey from the gum trees' nectar.
If top quality white tupelo honey is mixed with any other type of honey such as black tupelo, wildflower or gallberry, it will granulate. Only fine white honey won't granulate or crystallize. The delightful taste of the pure white variety can be savored on hot buttered toast or cold vanilla ice cream as well as on or in many other foods.
This honey was mentioned in the 1997 movie, Ulee's Gold, that stars Peter Fonda as a beekeeper who also battles bank robbers and looks after his abandoned grandchildren. Many aspects of honey production and beekeeping were taught to Fonda by the Lanier family of Wewahitchka, Florida. L.L. Lanier and Sons produces fine tupelo honey and some family members were extras in the movie. Tupelo Honey is also the name of Irish singer Van Morrison's song and album released in November of 1971. The song declares: "She's as sweet as tupelo honey. Just like honey from the bee."