The best honey, in my opinion, is raw unfiltered pure honey. How do you know if it’s pure? Read the label. Check the ingredients list. There better not be a drop of corn syrup in it (for example).
Honey is a natural source of sugar, made by bees using nectar from flowers. It has been a staple ingredient for thousands of years for its benefits as both a food and a medicine. It has approximately the same relative sweetness as that of granulated sugar.
First, a caution in case you didn’t know… It is advisable NOT to feed honey to infants below one year of age. They have not built up adequate immune system tolerance yet (more on that below).
Pure Honey versus Processed
Most honey in grocery stores has been processed in one way or another – having removed the pollen itself and/or ‘watered down’ with other ingredients – but still labeled “honey.” Without pollen there is no way to determine whether the honey actually came from legitimate and safe sources.
Much store-bought honey will have other ingredients added. Examples include glucose, dextrose, molasses, corn syrup, starches, and other substances. Most honey at the grocery store is not pure raw honey and has been altered in some way.
With that said, you often can find ‘real’ pure honey. You just need to look at ingredients /labels. One clue is that it will cost more $.
You might consider looking for pure & natural local honey (to support your local community). Check your local farmers market for a beekeeper selling raw honey. For example, our tiny town has a small ‘corner store’. They always have some jars of raw pure honey from a local beekeeper.
Natural honey will vary in taste depending on the local region, season, and what the bees are feeding on (the variety of flowers, etc..).
Raw honey may change its consistency over time, sometimes crystallizing. Don’t worry though – the honey is still ‘good’. Warm it up and the crystals will dissolve (place the container in a pan of very warm water for awhile… details below).
Here’s one very popular pure honey, sourced from Arizona:
Pure Raw Unfiltered
or from Florida
Buzzn Bee Raw & Unfiltered – Bees from Orange Blossom Groves
How To Store Pure Honey
Microorganisms would have an exceedingly difficult time growing in honey. Note that honey ‘never spoils’ because it inhibits the growth of bacteria (and fungi and viruses).
It can be stored safely at room temperature.
The water content of honey is normally about 18%. If it reaches 25% then yeast spores that are in honey will activate the fermentation process. This doesn’t make the honey go bad, however it will change the flavor as it ferments. This is why it is important to keep your raw honey covered. To prevent moisture from the air diluting the honey and increasing the overall water content percentage.
Honey should always be stored in a closed container with a tight lid to keep humidity and moisture out.
Note: Always use a dry utensil when scooping honey out of it’s container to avoid adding moisture.
Shelf Life Of Pure Honey
It will essentially store forever under the right conditions. Store in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and away from heat sources.
How-to Reconstitute Crystallized Honey
Place the crystalized container of honey into a tall enough pot to nearly cover the honey container with water. Slowly heat the water, but don’t let the water get above 160-F so as not to accidently pasteurize. I would use a meat thermometer into the water and keep the temperature around 120-F. Ideally the container should not sit on the bottom of pan (direct heat will be hotter at the bottom) — you might use a pressure canner stacking tray for this.
If you use a microwave oven, it will destroy the ‘good stuff’ in the honey.
Pure Raw Honey Nutrition
It contains roughly 80% natural sugars (glucose & fructose), about 18% water, and 2% vitamins, minerals, pollen, and proteins.
Vitamins in honey include riboflavin, B6, thiamin, niacin, pantothenic acid, and a variety of amino acids.
It is a strong antioxidant, specifically one named Pinocembrin.
Honey has a lower glycemic index than other sugars and is more slowly absorbed preventing spikes in insulin levels. But lets face it, it’s still sugar – albeit natural.
Antimicrobial Benefits of Honey
Non-pasteurized for medicinal purposes/benefits – with the enzymes still intact.
Honey draws fluid out of the cells of most germs like bacteria and fungi (osmotic effect). So these germs can’t grow in honey.
The exception is the dormant endospores of Clostridium botolinum. Therefore children under the age of 1 should not be given honey because their immune systems haven’t evolved enough.
Since nothing can grow in honey due to it’s antibacterial and antiviral properties, it is good to use on wounds. In fact the ancient Romans discovered this and widely used honey to treat troop wounds.
Because honey is so thick (viscous), when applied to a wound it has a strong pull to carry debris, dirt, bacteria, etc. away from the wound into the dressing.
Note: It’s best to apply the honey directly to the dressing and then apply to the wound.
Honey also has an attractive effect upon water. Also, when honey combines with water it will steadily produce hydrogen peroxide. This has a strong antiseptic effect promoting wound healing.
You might use honey for an upset stomach. Combine with ginger and lemon juice to treat nausea and vomiting or gastric distress of any kind, including ulcers.
Will Eating Local Raw Honey Help With Allergies?
Some say yes, some say no. It is apparently possible that consuming local honey may help you build up an extent of tolerance to allergies. If you have had success with this, let us know in the comments below…
Manuka Honey Superfood
From New Zealand or Australia, the Manuka flower (of the Manuka or ‘Tea’ tree) is the sole source for honeybees producing Manuka honey.
It is the thickest honey in the world (highest viscosity) and therefore has a very strong antibacterial effect. The following is said to be a “golden superfood, straight from New Zealand”. It’s quite expensive, but it’s also incredibly popular.
Raw Premium Manuka Honey