Today, I thought we’d talk a little about honey. We have several hives here on our property and Gabriel (16) is the beekeeper in the family. In addition to selling the honey, he also has a bee removal business. I tell you that to let you know that I am not the beekeeper. I’m not an expert on beekeeping. I’ve read many books on bees, beekeeping and honey. I’ve talked to Gabriel a lot about the things I’ve read and gotten more information from him. All of that to say, we’re on a journey and here’s some things we’ve learned.
What is Raw Honey?
Raw honey is honey minus the comb (or maybe with the comb). The National Honey Board has this to say, “While there is no official definition of “raw” honey, it generally means honey that has not been heated or filtered.” I’m here to tell you that if honey has not been heated or filtered, there will probably be some bulk to the honey. It won’t be like syrup. It might (probably will) chrystalize quickly and it may even have some wax cappings in it.
When you buy honey at the store, it’s been pasturized which means it’s been heated up to over 160 degrees. Commerical honey producers do this for several reasons. It reduces the possibility of the honey crystalizing, it kills yeast which could lead to fermentation and (this is what most honey producers don’t mention) heating the honey makes filtering go so much faster. Most of our food system is based on looks and quantity. So this makes a lot of sense for those large scale honey producers.
The problem with this is that the benefitial baterial and microbes are destroyed at 140 degrees. That means that although pasturized honey is fine as a sweetener, it no longer has it’s medicinal benefits.
*A note about fermentation – Fermentation will happen whenever moisture gets into raw honey. There is often yeast in the pollen and when the moisture content rises above 18% the yeast can multiply. So, you’ll want to keep you honey in an airtight jar (like a canning jar) and not double dip your teaspoon. For the most part fermenting honey is just fine, it just has a stronger flavor.
You probably won’t find raw honey in a store. If you do find some labeled “raw”, I suggest calling the company and asking about how they process their honey to determine if it’s raw enough for you. Your best bet for finding raw honey is asking around for a local beekeeper or raising your own.
How to use Raw Honey
Sweetener – Honey makes a great sweetener as it’s sweeter than sugar so you use less. If you have limited access to raw honey I would suggest not using it in things liked baked goods that are heated above 140 degrees.
Wound Care – Because honey has both antibaterial and antifungal properties it makes a great salve for cuts, scrapes and sunburns. I’ve even read that some people use it on their acne.
Allergies – If the raw honey is local to you, it can be used to help with seasonal allergies…maybe. You need to make sure the honey was made during the time that whatever you are allergic to was blooming. If a beekeeper harvests several times a year this is something to ask about. If he only harvests once a year it’s not an issue. Also, you need to take a teaspoon (both morning and night) for several months to see benefit. So this is something you will need to do BEFORE you start having allergy symptoms.
Cough Suppressant – Honey makes a great cough suppressant and sore throat soother, especially when added to warm lemon water.
Anti-inflamation – A teaspoon of honey and a teaspoon of raw apple cider vinegar make a great combination to help with inflamation or arthritis.
Indigestion Relief – Raw honey can also be used to help with indigestion. I wish I would have known this when I was pregnant with Esther.
My friends from Spring Mountain Living are giving away some Mohawk Valley Trading Company Raw Honey. You can enter below.