Best Ways to Use Raw Honey
Honey is a natural sweetener that almost everyone has enjoyed at some time or other. Even if you are not a fan of eating it, you can still find some interesting ways to use raw honey. It is much more than a sweet treat for the table. Honey uses even extend into beauty and health products. How much do we really know about this magical substance? Sure, honey tastes great straight off the spoon. However, that’s only the beginning.
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There are so thing you can do with honey, it’s hard to know where to begin. Therefore, let’s start at the beginning with a quick look at what honey really is and where it comes from.
What is Raw Honey?
Honey is a sweet liquid substance that is made by honey bees mainly from the nectar of plants. It is a natural sugar composed of mainly hexose sugars, including glucose and fructose. Though honey may contain bits of pollen, pollen is not used to make honey.
Honey bees are the only insects that make food that is directly used for human consumption. Collected plant nectar is transformed into ripe honey by enzyme action and water evaporation. It is the perfect type of food for bees to store for Winter.
Unfortunately, due to the mystery of the honey making process, people sometimes get the wrong idea about what honey really is.
Worker bees bring nectar back to the hive, in a special organ -called a “honey stomach” or crop. This has lead to some misconceptions about raw honey and the rumor that honey is bee vomit?
Honey is certainly not bee vomit as no real digestion takes place in the crop. This debate is only one of many honey facts, that people often get terribly wrong.
Ways to Use Honey
Honey plays a larger role in our everyday lives than you may think. In addition to being used in the baking industry and in many cereals, cookies and snacks it appear in other products too.
Honey is Used :
- in special forms (liquid, creamed, comb)
- as monofloral varieties with special flavor
- in many food recipes
- for natural health products such as salves
- in many skin and beauty products
- a healing agent in wound care
Honey is Edible in Several Forms
Okay, raise your hand if you have ever had a chunk of honey fresh from the hive! Or maybe, you like to enjoy a big spoon of honey right from the jar? Yes, eating liquid honey is the most common way it is used…but there is more so much more!
Eating Raw Honeycomb
In addition to producing honey, bees also make beeswax. This is shaped into wax sheets of honeycomb. These sheets of comb are used to raise brood and store food for Winter.
One of the most natural wax to consume honey is to eat it right in the comb! Yes, honeycomb is edible and creates a tasty food experience.
Even though comb is just beeswax, it gives raw honey a different taste. If you are ready for the total honey experience, I encourage you to buy a chunk of fresh honeycomb.
Enjoy it straight or in yummy combinations with other foods. In fact there are many interesting ways to enjoy eating honeycomb.
Crystallized and Creamed Honey
Most jars of real raw honey crystallize over time. This is a natural process and does not mean your honey has gone bad. However, some folks do not prefer gritty honey so don’t fear – you can decrystallize honey without a problem.
For others, crystallized honey is actually a desirable thing. They enjoy a smooth spreadable crystallized product. Also called, whipped, spun or creamed honey, you can make your own creamed honey to enjoy.
Special Raw Honeys Impart Flavor in Food
Basic honey is made from a mixture of many kinds of plant nectar. We call this a “poly-floral” honey. The term Wildflower Honey is often applied because it contains the nectar from thousands of different flowers.
In some regions, you may find specialty honey made from one predominate nectar source. One popular example is honey made from our regional sourwood trees. Sourwood Honey is a special taste experience.
Other types of monofloral honey include: Orange Blossom, Tupelo, Blackberry, Clover and other. Because these varieties of honey have special flavor, they are often used a sweeteners for coffee or to create topping for waffles or pancakes.
Create Infused Honey
While regular honey offers a wide variety of flavors, we can go beyond the work of the bees. Many honey lovers like to create special infusions using raw honey, various herbs and spices.
A local favorite is Hot Honey. If you like honey with a kick – give this one a try. You can adjust the “heat” in the recipe by the number of peppers used. Make your own Jalapeno Honey but don’t blame me if you burn your tongue!
Raw Honey Recipes
Of course, we all know that honey is great straight from the jar – or even right out of the hive. However, honey is also a great addition to many popular recipes and can be used to create some great healthy snacks.
You can often substitute honey for some of the sugar in your recipes. Because honey is sweeter than sugar, you may end up using less of it.
Some recipes will advise that you reduce the amount of liquid used when substituting honey for granular sugar – so be sure to follow the directions.
From main dishes to the best tasting cookies, candies and more, you can find a lot of easy honey recipes.
Honey Uses for Good Health
Honey has long been used in the treatment of illness. In fact, it is one of the earliest natural remedies.
If you feel that next cold or cough coming on, you may already have something in the pantry to help ease the discomfort. This nice honey and cinnamon drink won’t cure you but it will your cold symptoms.
Another wise use of raw honey during cold season is to pair it with lemon. When a really nasty sore throat arrives, try this – infuse honey with lemon and ginger.
I also enjoy making my own cough drops. They provide some symptom relief and I can pronounce every ingredient in the recipe.
Honey is a common ingredient in many natural remedies used by people for hundreds of years. Scientists may not confirm these effectiveness but don’t tell that to the folks who swear by them. The most common ones are : Fire Cider with Honey and Apple Cider Vinegar and Honey .
Ways to Use Honey for Skin Care
Honey has many attributes that aid in having healthy skin. It is antibacterial, antifungal and is a humectant that seals in moisture.
A common ingredient in salves and creams, it is often used for treatment of minor burns or scrapes. You can make your own honey salve with Aloe to have on hand for minor burns.
Looking for a nice homemade bath product? Enjoy the gentle exfoliation and moisturizing properties of this sea salt and honey scrub . Make a batch of Himalayan Pink Sea Salt Honey Body Scrub to use and share.
Honey can even be added to soap making recipes. This one allows you to make soap without lye. Make your own Goat Milk & Honey Soap.
Where to Buy Real Honey?
Food marketing is a tricky business. Natural and raw may not mean what you think it does. The more you know the better decisions you can make.
Real, pure, raw, natural not every word means what you think in regards to honey being sold. The easiest way to buy pure honey is to find a local beekeeper or co-op in your area. If that is not possible, read the label very carefully.
!s it better to buy light honey or dark – does it really matter? In fact, honey color can give you a hint about the nectar source used to make that particular jar. However, it does not mean that one honey is better than the other.
How to Store Honey
Pure raw honey does not go bad – it never spoils. However, honey does change form over time . It may crystallize or “turn to sugar” forming a solid mass of honey in the jar.
Storing Honey to Prevent Crystallization
If you enjoy eating honey in its liquid form – proper storage can slow down the natural process of crystallization. Find the best place to store your honey to maintain the viscosity that you want.
Are you a traditional honey lover? You may enjoy a piece of real honeycomb occasionally. Biting down on a sweet chunk of honeycomb is a pleasant experience. After your snack, it’s time to safely store your honeycomb leftovers for later. They will keep for a long time.
For some people, freezing honey is a viable option as it prevents crystallization and does not cause the honey to darken in color.
If you are a beekeeper or someone who practices bulk food storage, you may experience crystallized honey in small jars.
When you have several jars to reliquify, you may consider building a warming cabinet to decrystallize your honey. This is a common tool for beekeepers who sell honey.
Final Thoughts on Best Ways to Use Raw Honey
Wow that’s a lot of information about honey and this is just the beginning. Raw honey can be used in so many ways in the kitchen and beyond. You can even make your own honey powder to sprinkle on ice cream.
If you would like to try some pure honey from my farm – I have some available seasonally in my Etsy Store. Don’t confine that jar of sweetness to food recipes only, it has a lot more to offer. This bee produced product has a story to tell and something to share with everyone.