For anyone unfamiliar with natural honeycomb, the idea of eating the beeswax may come as a shock. Yes, it is absolutely okay to consume honeycomb. You can eat it straight from the hive but it can also dress up a meal or appetizer. Here are some great ideas for those of you wondering how to eat honeycomb.
Ways to Enjoy Eating Fresh Honeycomb
This idea does tend to freak people out just a bit. But, beeswax is edible. Humans have been consuming beeswax for thousands of years and lived to tell the tale.
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Today, we are most familiar with the consumption of honey in liquid form. All those shiny jars or plastic bears sitting on the shelves of our local grocery are the norm.
But, modern jars are sadly lacking in pieces of wax comb. This is mainly due to the expense required to produce and sell honey in the comb. But, it does not mean that you can not eat the wax.
In fact, some people believe that consuming honeycomb is healthier than just the liquid. This includes beeswax, honey, pollen, propolis and other substances.
What is Chunk Honey?
When beekeepers harvest excess honey from the hive, they often remove the liquid honey from the comb. This is called extracting the honey. This process saves some of the wax comb for the bees to reuse.
Why do beekeepers do this? Most consumers prefer to buy honey in liquid form. This consumer preference is due to the fact that you get more of it in a jar without comb. It also usually costs less than jars with comb.
If you can find it, with comb it is commonly called “chunk honey”. It is a special treat-though in years past it was the standard way to enjoy eating honey.
As with any raw food product, check the source when buying honeycomb. For your recipes, purchase fresh honeycomb from a USA source.
Honeycomb Straight from the Hive
Every beekeeper has enjoyed a taste of fresh comb straight from the beehive. When you bite into a piece, you feel the liquid “explode” from the individual cells.
This provides a unique taste sensation. But because beeswax is “waxy”, if you continue to chew the result will be a ball of wax in your mouth.
Some people swallow the wax in small pieces – but it is perfectly okay to spit it out if you prefer.
One of the best ways to enjoy honeycomb is to eat it all by itself. Cut it into small pieces and dig in – it is quite an experience. This is the most pristine way to enjoy truly raw honey in its natural form.
Do Bees Eat Honeycomb?
Bees do not eat honeycomb but they use it to construct their home. Honey bees make wax and shape it into sheets of hexagonal cells.
However, you may see a bee chewing on small pieces of wax. They use their legs and mouth to form the wax into the sheets of comb that we see in a beehive.
This gives them room to raise young and store food. Consuming their wax would not provide any nutrition for the bees, but it makes a great storage system.
Responsible beekeepers never take all the wax or honey from a hive. Only the excess is harvested for human use. The bee colony should be left with plenty of resources.
Ways to Eat Raw Honeycomb
For those of you who are not beekeepers, you are likely to pair fresh honeycomb with other foods. This is the most popular way to consume it. But comb is often added to recipes.
The construction of beeswax comb 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.
- cut chunks of honeycomb into small pieces and enjoy
- 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
- pair cubes of honeycomb with flavorful goat cheeses
- toss small pieces into your favorite salad
Sweeten Hot Tea
You can use small pieces of honeycomb to sweeten hot tea. I’m a bit too much of a Southern Iced Tea girl to try it but I hear it is quite good.
Stir a small piece of comb into your hot tea, letting it melt completely. Continue to stir until it is well combined.
Honeycomb with Cheese
Honeycomb makes a beautiful presentation when paired with a cheese platter or tray. Let guests slice off the amount of comb they desire. Small sliced bread pieces or crackers are a nice touch. It also pairs wonderfully with brie cheese.
Aged cheeses with a tangy flavor or even goat cheeses are good pairings. Be sure to drain your piece of comb first so you will not have a lot of liquid oozing out.
Create a Honeycomb Platter
One of the most interesting ways to eat raw honeycomb is to create a honeycomb platter. This is a large plate or platter with small slices of honeycomb (2 inch squares). Around them arrange, fruits (figs, raspberries, blueberries etc.) and make even small cheese chunks.
Benefits of Consuming Beeswax
What are the health benefits, if any, to eating raw honeycomb? The answer to this question depends in part on who you ask.
Pure beeswax is indigestible by the human digestive system. When you swallow beeswax, it will pass through your system in the same way as any insoluble item.
Some proponents of eating beeswax believe you get more nutrients, minerals and enzymes from its consumption. Some folks enjoy eating honeycomb with their honey lemon ginger tea – especially when they have a cold or sore throat.
However, whether this form of eating honey is better or not – it is a unique experience. Honeycomb will add surprising sweetness and texture to any other type of food.
Do keep in mind that a jar of honey with pieces of comb may crystallize faster. It is a good idea to remove pieces of comb unless you plan to eat them right away. Once you learn the best way to store honeycomb and protect it from moisture, you can always have some on hand. It even freezes well.
There are many easy ways to enjoy eating honeycomb. You can make it as simple or as complex as you desire. 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.