What is honey?
Honey is primarily composed of nearly equal proportions of fructose, glucose, and water. Honey contains over 180 different substances including acids (18), minerals (12), amino acids (18), enzymes (5), bioflavinoids (18), aroma compounds (26), trace elements (17), vitamins (6), and lipids (8).
Why is honey so sweet?
Honey is one of the sweetest foods found in nature. Flowering plants secrete a sweet substance called nectar, which is made of diluted sucrose and glucose; both simple sugars. Bees collect nectar and take it to the hive where they evaporate water by fanning rapidly with their wings. They also add an enzyme to the nectar which catalyzes the breakdown of the sucrose into glucose and fructose. Fructose is perceived by our taste buds as very sweet, more so than glucose or sucrose. Furthermore, honey gram for gram, or calorie for calorie, tastes much sweeter than any other sugar. Which is why it makes a great substitution for sugar in baking, cooking and drinks.
Does honey have any health benefits?
Honey is more than just a sweetener! There are many health benefits of honey and it has a long history of use as a "medicine."
Honey is known as a antiseptic, anti-fungal, antiviral, antibacterial, and more. Eating honey has a stabilizing effect on our body's blood sugar levels and does not stimulate as rapid insulin production like table sugar does.
Honey has an antibacterial effect and inhibits the growth of many bacteria strains, including the bacteria responsible for ulcers. Honey has been used in topical dressings to treat small cuts, scrapes, and wounds as well as, infected surgical wounds, burns, and skin grafts. Honey significantly increases antioxidant levels in the blood while improving immune system activity.
A tablespoon or more of honey consumed at bedtime promotes natural restorative sleep by preventing metabolic stress due to depleted liver glycogen stores. Without metabolic stress during rest, stress hormones are not released, maximum fat-burning during rest is then possible, and natural restoration of body tissues and immune system functions occur naturally. When consumed on a regular basis, honey can actually help with some allergies, including seasonal. These health benefits and more are the same for all unpasteurized honey including liquid, creamed, crystallized and honey comb.
Should individuals with diabetes eat honey?
Diabetes is very individualized and therefore we recommend speaking to your healthcare practitioner before adding it to your diet or using honey as a substitute for sugar for diabetes. We do not advise anyone to do so without first consulting their doctor.
What is "raw" honey?
Raw honey is natural, unpasteurized honey, with nothing added.
It is what bees produce in the hive and is ready to eat after it has been extracted and run through a fine sieve to remove foreign particles that may have found their way into the honey in the extracting process (such as bee parts and wax).
All pure unpasteurized honey is raw honey.
Raw honey or pure honey is not pasteurized, modified or adulterated in any way before it is packaged and sold.
Is honey safe for infants?
As with any raw, unprocessed food, honey is not recommended for infants whose immune systems are not fully developed, a process that occurs usually in the first year. Therefore it is not recommended for children under one year of age.
Is all honey the same?
No, there are many varieties and flavors of honey, depending on the flowers the bees collect nectar from. All our honey is collected from areas where plants have not been given harsh chemical fertilizers, been sprayed with pesticides or been genetically altered in any way.
Is our honey pasteurized?
No, our honey is not pasteurized; ours is raw honey (unpasteurized).
Raw honey will retain its natural sweet, full bodied flavor and enzymes. If you compare unpasteurized honey to pasteurized honey, you'll immediately notice the difference. You will also notice a difference if you use pasteurized honey on a small cut or scrap vs unpasteurized honey.
We always recommend unpasteurized honey for all your honey needs.
How should I store my honey?
Honey can be stored pretty much anywhere and at any temperature, however, different temperatures can cause it to crystallize or harden when it is cold, or liquefy when it is hot. Unpasteurized honey is one of the few products in the world that never goes bad due to its unique composition.
We recommend storing your honey at room temperature whenever possible to stop it from crystallizing due to cold temperatures.
How do you prevent liquid honey from crystallizing?
Unpasteurized honey will granulate over time regardless. This is because Canadian honey's natural state is hard. Liquid honey will crystallize faster though when kept in cool or cold places. To slow down this process, consider storing honey in a warm location such as in an interior kitchen cupboard near or over the stove. If it does granulate, just submerge the jar into hot water (not boiling) making sure the cap is not submerged unless the jar is still sealed. Gentle heating below 115 degrees F does not destroy the natural flavor or quality of the honey. Alternatively you can heat the honey in the microwave at 50% power, stirring every 30 seconds until liquefied.
Our creamed honeys will all start hard when they are freshly jarred, but after 1-2 weeks they will soften to room temperature and then stay in the creamy state forever. If they are stored in a cold place, like a garage during winter, they may harden up again but will soften once returned to room temperature over 1-2 weeks.
Does honey spoil or go bad?
No, as long as it is unpasteurized.
Stored honey can remain stable for decades and even centuries! Have you heard about the honey they found in Tombs in Egypt?
However, honey is susceptible to physical and composition changes during storage; it tends to darken, lose its aroma and flavor, or crystallize over time.
Then why are there “best before” dates?
Best Before dates are a government requirement for all food products leaving the province and registered to CFIA.
Unpasteurized honey never spoils and has an unlimited shelf life but we must follow the rules as well.
Raw honey has a very low water content (normally less than 18%, ours is even lower), and a fairly high acidic level, this makes for very unfavorable conditions for bacteria to grow. If bacteria cannot grow in honey, then it cannot spoil.