What is honey?
Honey is primarily composed of nearly equal proportions of fructose, glucose, plus other sugars and water.
Why is honey so sweet?
Honey is one of the sweetest foods found in nature. Flowering plants secrete a sugary substance called nectar. Nectar is made of simple sugars. Bees collect nectar, and take it to the hive where they evaporate water from it by fanning it with their wings. Honey tastes much sweeter than any other sugar. This is why it makes a great substitution for sugar in baking, cooking and as a drink sweetener. Remember to use half the amount of the sugar called for when substituting honey.
Does honey have any health benefits?
There are many health benefits of honey!
- Eating honey has a stabilizing effect on our body’s blood sugar levels. It does not stimulate as rapid insulin production as table sugar.
- Honey has an antibacterial effect and inhibits the growth of many bacteria strains, including the bacteria responsible for ulcers.
- Honey has been used in topical dressings to treat infected surgical wounds, burns, and skin grafts.
- Honey significantly increases antioxidant levels in the blood while improving immune system activity. A tablespoon or more of honey consumed at bedtime promotes natural restorative sleep by preventing metabolic stress**. Without metabolic stress during rest, stress hormones are not released, maximum fat-burning during rest is possible, and natural restoration of body tissues and immune system functions occurs naturally.
- Honey, when consumed on a regular basis, can actually help with some allergies. These health benefits and more are the same for all unpasteurized honey including liquid, creamed, crystalized and honey comb.
Should individuals with diabetes eat honey?
Honey is the sweetener of choice for diabetics. Honey actually stabilizes blood sugar and lowers HbA1c levels, something refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) cannot do. Honey does not trigger an immediate or excessive insulin release which occurs after the consumption of most artificial sweeteners, and thus does not promote fat production, fat storage, and weight gain commonly associated with the use of these highly processed products.
What is “raw” honey?
Raw honey is natural, unpasteurized honey; nothing added or taken away. It is what bees produce in the hive. It is ready to eat after it has been extracted and run through a fine sieve to remove foreign particles such as bee parts, pollen and wax. All pure unpasteurized honey is raw honey.
Is honey safe for infants?
As with any raw, unprocessed foods, honey is not recommended for infants whose immune systems are not fully developed. Therefore health professionals do not recommend honey for children under one year of age.
Is all honey the same?
No, there are many varieties and flavors of honey, depending on the flowers from which bees collect nectar.
Does all honey that is sold in retail stores produce the same health benefits as pure, unpasteurized, natural honey?
No. Natural honey contains pollen and other constituents that are removed in heating and filtering processes. Pasteurized honey does not have the same enzymes and health benefits of unpasteurized honey.
What about the healthful enzymes found in honey? Aren’t they affected by heating?
Most enzymes found in honey are heat stable, therefore heating honey to 160 degrees for short periods of time does not affect the enzymes naturally found in honey. When honey is not heated past this point, it remains unpasteurized and has the healthful enzymes intact. We do not pasteurize any of our honey, including that which is in the creamed mixtures.
Is your honey pasteurized?
No, our honey is not pasteurized; this is called raw honey (unpasteurized). Raw honey will retain its natural sweet, full bodied flavor. Compare it to processed store bought honey, you’ll immediately tell the difference.
How should I store my honey?
Honey can be stored anywhere at any temperature however different temperatures can cause it to crystalize (if it is cold) or liquefy (if it is hot). It is one of the few products in the world that never goes bad, due to its unique chemical composition. We recommend storing your honey between 15 – 24C, or at room temperature whenever possible.
How do you prevent liquid honey from crystallizing?
Unpasteurized honey will granulate over time. To increase its shelf life, store your honey in the freezer. If it does granulate, screw the lid on tightly and put it into hot water (not boiling). Gentle heating below 115 degrees F does not destroy the natural flavor or attributes of the honey and your product will return to its lovely, liquid state.
Does honey spoil or go bad?
As long as it is unpasteurized, no. Honey stored in sealed containers can remain stable for decades and even centuries! It has been found in Egyptian tombs and is still edible.
Then why are there “best before” dates?
Honey never spoils and has an unlimited shelf life, but for practical purposes and government requirements, a “best before” date of two or more years is often stated. Raw honey has a very low water content (normally less than 18%), and a fairly high acidic level, which makes for very unfavorable conditions for bacteria to grow. If bacteria cannot grow in honey, then it cannot spoil.
What is the difference between creamed and liquid honey?
Both liquid and creamed honey are pure honey, nothing more, nothing less. The word creamed, refers to the smooth, creamy texture of solid honey that has been processed for this purpose. Honey is “creamed” by mixing fine honey crystals into liquid honey, pouring the honey into the container, then placing it in cool storage to promote rapid granulation. This process produces a small crystal structure, which gives a smooth creamy texture – hence creamed honey.
Have a question for us? Contact us and ask away!
Our thanks to Western Sage Honey for providing some of the above information.
**The term metabolic stress refers to the physiological effects of critical illness, severe injury, infection or trauma on the body. Metabolic stress inhibits the ability of the immune system to protect against outside invaders, slows wound healing, and may diminish muscle strength.