How to Eat Honeycomb

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For anyone unfamiliar with it, the idea of eating honeycomb may come as a shock. But, it is absolutely okay and there are many ways to enjoy this sweet treat. You can eat it straight from the hive (my favorite) or use it to dress up a meal or appetizer. Here are some great ideas for those of you wondering how to eat honeycomb in the most enjoyable way.

Chunks of honeycomb on  a plate ready to serve image.

In a world of plastic honey bears, the idea of chewing down on a piece of wax comb does tend to freak people out just a bit. But, beeswax is edible and safe to consume for most people.

Ways to Enjoy Eating Honeycomb

Most modern jars are sadly lacking in pieces of bees wax comb. This is mainly due to the expense required to produce and sell honey in the comb. But, if you are lucky enough to get some – you are in for a special culinary experience.

If you are not a beekeeper, you are likely to buy a pack or square of comb and pair it with other foods.

Selecting the Right Honeycomb

As with any raw food product, check the source when buying honeycomb. The label will give you the origin of the product – purchase fresh honeycomb from a USA source when possible.

Of course, you may choose a variety or type of honey that is not made in the US. That’s okay – just make sure the packer seems to be a reliable source.

Of course, if you are lucky enough to have access to a local beekeeper – that is a wonderful source too. Nice comb should show all of the wax cells as capped and should not look too dry. It is natural to have a little bit of liquid honey in the bottom of the clear container.

Preparation

Honeycomb is delicate and should be handled gently. If it is too warm, it will bend and sag with the weight of the honey. But, if it is cold or dried out – it can be rather brittle.

Choose the Right Knife

When cutting honeycomb to eat, use a sharp knife with a thin blade. You want to cut the comb into smaller sections without breaking the capped cells of honey outside of the cutting line. A sharp cheese knife or paring knife works well.

Cutting Techniques & Temperature

Use a gentle downward motion when cutting the comb. Start at an outer edge and cut inward to form smaller squares or slices.

Some liquid honey will run out as you cut and open capped cells adjacent to your cut line. This is fine in most cases, but you can place the comb on a cooling rack (or similar) and let that liquid drain if desired for your presentation.

When preparing your honeycomb to eat, it is best to have it at room temperature. If it has been refrigerated, let it warm on the counter for a while before cutting.

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Jar of honey with a chunk of honeycomb inside image.

Pairing with Foods

The construction of beeswax honeycomb is one reason it goes well with other foods. The individual wax cells hold the honey until you bite into them. This allows the flavor to really stand out and not be lost in the other food flavors.

Cheese and Honeycomb

Honeycomb makes a beautiful presentation when paired with a cheese. You may place a large section of comb on a tray and let guests slice off the amount of comb they desire.

Small sliced bread pieces or crackers are a nice touch to add as well. Aged cheeses with a tangy flavor or even goat cheeses are good pairings.

It also pairs wonderfully with brie cheese. In this application, be sure to drain your piece of comb first-so you will not have a lot of liquid oozing out over the tray.

Chunks of cheese and honeycomb on a tray.

Fruit Combinations

One of the most interesting ways to eat raw honeycomb is to create a honeycomb and fruit platter. In this presentation, arrange a large plate or platter with small slices of honeycomb (2 inch squares).

Around the comb, place small pieces of fruit (figs, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries) – even watermelon and others – but cut them into small bite sized pieces.

Yes, you can even include a few small cheese chunks if you really want to offer variety.

Nut & Seed Pairings

Don’t think you can only enjoy eating honeycomb with fruit and cheese. The soft sweet flavor of honeycomb combined with the crunch of many nuts and seeds provides a pleasant taste experience. Experiment to find your favorite combinations.

  • almonds
  • walnuts
  • pecans
  • pumpkin seeds
  • sunflower seeds
free honey ebook and recipes image.

Beverages

Pairing honeycomb with the right beverage enhances the overall flavor of both. Here are a few recommendations.

Sweeten Hot Tea

Use small pieces of comb with honey to sweeten hot tea. Stir a small piece of comb into your hot tea (after it cools just a bit), let it melt completely. Continue to stir until it is well combined.

Honestly, I’m a bit too much of a Southern iced tea girl to enjoy it but others really like the flavor.

Wine & Honeycomb

For white wine, crisp, sweet Riesling or Gewürztraminer pair well with honeycomb. If you love sparkling wine – look for a brut or extra brut Champagne.

Sweet, rich dessert wines like Sauternes can create a luxurious pairing with honeycomb. The complementary sweetness enhances the overall experience.

Storage

Raw comb will absorb moisture from the air. Be sure that you understand how to store raw honeycomb properly. It should be kept in an air-tight container or frozen until needed.

Do keep in mind that a jar of with comb inside may crystallize faster. Honey crystallization is a natural process. It is a good idea to remove pieces of comb unless you plan to consume them right away.

Small pieces of honeycomb with cake and fruit image.

Health Benefits

Are there any healthful reasons for eating raw honeycomb? The answer to this question depends in part on who you ask. Pure beeswax is indigestible by the human digestive system.

But, some people believe that consuming honey in the comb is the healthier option. This is because it contains beeswax, honey, pollen, bee propolis and other substances.

I truly can not find definitive facts that prove this theory. But, it is a good idea to keep some honey in your pantry.

More Ideas

Many folks enjoy eating honeycomb with their honey lemon ginger tea – especially when they have a cold or sore throat. Likewise, it is a common ingredient in homemade fire cider.

Here are a few more quick thoughts:

  • buy a jar of chunk honey to experience the comb inside
  • mix small chunks into softened vanilla ice cream
  • top plain yogurt with pieces of comb and add a honey drizzle
  • spread it on warm bread, toast or muffins
  • place a thin slice of honeycomb on top of waffles or pancakes
  • a great addition to grilled sandwiches
  • toss small pieces into your favorite salad
  • add to a charcuterie board
Pieces of honeycomb paired with cheese and fruits.

FAQs

What are the most common foods eaten with honeycomb?

You have lots of choices but the most common types of food eaten with honeycomb are bread based – toast, pancakes, waffles etc.

Where does honeycomb come from?

Honey bees produce beeswax from special glands on their abdomen. The wax is shaped into thousands of hexagonal beeswax cells. This is where the colony stores food and rears young.

What do bees eat if we take their honeycomb?

Bees do not eat honeycomb. However, you may see a bee chewing on small pieces of wax as they shape it. Beekeepers take the wax left over from the honey harvest.

Does honeycomb pair well with cheddar cheese?

In fact, honeycomb pair well with most cheeses – especially those that are mild and creamy. However, it also works with sharp blue and aged cheeses.

Final Thoughts

One of the best ways to enjoy eating honeycomb is all by itself. When you bite into a piece, you feel the liquid “explode” from the individual cells.

This is the most pristine way to enjoy honey in its natural form. My daddy always said that honeycomb was the “poor man’s chewing gum.”

Never tried it? Maybe it’s time you should and find out what you have been missing! Unless you adhere to a strict vegan lifestyle, bee honey has something sweet to offer.

And, don’t forget the charm of homemade food gifts during the holidays or any time of year. A beautiful jar of sweet cinnamon honey butter with a side of honeycomb is really something special.

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