For anyone unfamiliar with natural comb, the idea of eating beeswax comb may come as a shock. Should we really chew and swallow beeswax? Yes, it is absolutely okay to consume it in this fashion. Here are some great ideas for those of you wondering how to eat honeycomb.
Simple Ways to Enjoy Eating Fresh Honeycomb
This idea does tend to freak people out just a bit. But, honeycomb is edible. People have been consuming wax 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. It beeswax, honey, pollen 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.
Most people 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.
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.
Can You Eat 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.
Ways to Enjoy Eating Raw Honeycomb
- cut 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
For those of you who are not beekeepers, pairing fresh honeycomb with other foods is the most popular form of consumption.
One reason it is such a good food to pair is the construction. 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.
Honeycomb pieces are often added to recipes. Sometimes, it becomes a main ingredient paired with another food.
Sweeten Hot Tea
Some people enjoy using small pieces of honeycomb to sweeten their 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.
Eating Honeycomb with Cheese
Honeycomb makes a beautiful presentation when paired with a cheese tray. Let guests slice off the amount of comb they desire. Small sliced bread pieces or crackers are a nice touch.
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.
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 healthy nutrients, minerals and enzymes from its consumption.
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.
One thing I know for sure is that honeycomb is a simple natural food. It has been consumed for thousands of years and never spoils.
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.
There are many easy way 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!