MINI Honey School with Red Bee Honey

January 8, 2019

It's a new year everyone! This year I am committed to writing more about honey as a way to share what I've learned over the years with each one of you. Have you noticed that there is so very little good information available about honey? Crazy? Considering honeybees have been making this liquid gold for thousands of years! Honey was always nature's raw, perfect and unadulterated sweetener until this century when the demand became much more than we actually produce. In reality, there is just not enough honey for everyone of us on the planet to enjoy fresh local honey everyday. Consider, 95% of beekeepers are hobbyist running 1-5 colonies of bees, a honeybee produces 1/12th teaspoon of honey in her life. According to USDA reports, 2.67 million honey-producing colonies in 2017 generated1.47 million pounds of raw honey. According to the National Honey Board, per capita consumption of honey in the United States is approximately 1.51 pounds per year. It is no surprise that more than 50% of the honey sold is not pure. Much of it is imported, blended, cut, ultra-filtered, or pasteurized so that there appears to be enough for everyone. So if you're a honey lover and have questions about what you're putting in your tea, here are a few hard facts about honey...

 

 

 

 

 

1) Honey never needs refrigeration and will not spoil if stored in a dry, cool place out of direct sunlight. Archaeologists have discovered clay vessels filled with honey, wine and olive oil – more than 3,000 years old – in the tombs of the Pharaohs. The wine and olive oil had spoiled but the honey remained intact and still edible. (it may not taste great, but it was edible)

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2) If your honey has crystallized, that does not mean it has gone bad. Crystallization, in fact is a sign of quality. If you gently warm the jar — in a pot of hot water —with gentle stirring, it will return to its liquid state. Take care not overheat it as this compromises the delicate flavors. Microwaving is not recommended. Hot honey can scald your skin like oil.

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3) All honey is not equal, and each honey’s color, aroma and flavor varies depending upon the type of blossom nectar gathered by the honeybee, as well as its terroir – region, soil, and climate the honey was produced. Honey is an agricultural product of nature. Like apples and tomatoes, each harvest will be different.

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4) What’s the buzz about local honey? Local is always wonderful to endorse, but in truth, any good quality honey has amazing benefits because of its chemical composition and partly from the immune boosting properties of its pollen. These qualities are: low, acidic pH, water absorbing properties and antibacterial properties added by the bees. Many people swear by Manuka honey from New Zealand for stomach bugs and ulcers. Look for honey that is not entirely transparent, which often means the pollen has been filtered out.

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5) If honey relieves allergies, how much should I take? There is no set dose for taking natural remedies. To each his own and only you know your body and what makes you feel well. A teaspoon a day is a good start. It can boost your immune system and relieve scratchy throats, symptoms of hay fever and allergies. Always consult with your medical professional before making any decisions bout your health.

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6) What is raw honey? Pure honey is the only unprocessed sweetener found in nature. It has naturally occurring minerals and vitamins not found in other sweeteners and heating it at 120F for as little as a few seconds can destroy them. Commercially made honeys are often heated to high temperatures to prevent crystallization.

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7) Each worker honeybee will make just 1/12 teaspoon of honey in her entire life. So “pure” honey is truly rare! Buy from reliable sources and ask questions about the bees and the local flowers.

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8) Honey is naturally hydrating to the skin, making it the perfect ingredient to add to your daily skin care routine. Try a honey facial mask for 10 minutes – your skin will glow!

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9) Can I eat the honeycomb and wax? Yes, you may eat the wax! Beeswax is a pure plant-based wax made by honeybees to build the cells that keep their honey clean and safe. For a special treat, spread honeycomb on a piece of warm toast.

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10) Is there truly such a thing as organic honey? Honeybees will forage up to 4 miles from their hive to gather nectar to make honey. It’s not possible to prevent them from visiting flowers that have been sprayed with chemicals whether by farmers or private homeowners. Organic standards vary so be sure to read the label.

 

 

 

 

 

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