(*This article has been updated 2019.)
Honey bees feed on flowers, collecting the nectar in their mouths. The nectar reacts with enzymes in the bees’ saliva, an alchemical process that turns it into honey. The bees bring the honey to the hive and put it into the cells of the hive’s walls. The temperature control and ventilation in the hive comes from the fluttering of the bees’ wings. How cool is that!
Let’s state right off the bat that honey is delicious. Its texture, aroma and color make it infinitely superior to plain old white processed sugar. Honey is often referred to as nature’s sweetener. There are claims of many health benefits. We aren’t scientists so we can’t verify their veracity, but they are interesting!
- On WebMD we read about a study that claims honey kills bacteria including staph and the dreaded MRSA.
- Another study showed that honey helped heal cuts, burns and wounds. It appears to draw fluid from the underlying circulation, providing both a moist environment and topical nutrition that enhances tissue growth.
- Honey is a natural source of carbohydrates that provide us with strength and energy. If you’re feeling lethargic, honey can quickly boost your energy level as well as reduce muscle fatigue.
- Honey can be a powerful immune system booster. It’s antioxidant and anti-bacterial properties can help improve the digestive system and help fight disease.
- Honey soothes sore throats and kills certain bacteria that cause the sore throats.
- Honey, combined with milk, is calming and can induce sleep.
- When I was little I drank a little tea with lemon and lots of honey to calm a cough.
Honey takes on the flavors of the blossoms the bees gathered nectar from. The darker the honey, the bolder the flavor. Honey in supermarkets has been pasteurized and filtered and becomes translucent. Raw honey, on the other hand, looks creamy. It will get hard and grainy when exposed to moisture so keep it well sealed. Stored in a cool, dry place, raw honey will keep indefinitely. Even if it has hardened and crystallized it is fine to eat. It can be liquefied by heating in a microwave or a warm water bath.
Here are some of our favorite honeys:
Bee Raw Honey partners with local beekeepers, supporting artisan beekeeping in each region of the United States. Bee Raw honey comes in ten flavors. The raw unfiltered honeys are made from a single flower variety. The flavors are among some of the most unusual and difficult to find including buckwheat, basswood, sage, sourwood, star thistle and sweet yellow clover. A 10.5 oz. jar is $17.00.
MtnHoney produces Sourwood honey from bees in the mountains of North Georgia and Western North Carolina – areas rich in native Sourwood trees. The honey is 100% pure and raw.
A 32 oz jar is $32.95. You choose between strained or with comb.
Support your local beekeepers by buying their honey at your local farmer’s markets.
The National Honey Board offers a ‘Honey Locator’ at: www.honeylocator.com.
Check out our earlier article on honey bees and Colony Collapse Disorder.
“Isn’t it funny
How a bear likes honey?
Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!
I wonder why he does?”
Check out our article on Artisanal Butters for pbh ideas