Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Raw Honey, Worth its Weight in Gold.


Even our bees got a late start after our cold winter and for a short time we feared too many had succumbed to the sub zero temps but never fear, the honey is here and baby...it is SWEET!

Last week, our farmer friend Ann, another bee owner, and Keith harvested the bees hard work. Running it through our centrifuge and draining it into a large bucket, all I had to do was strain it again (several gallons worth) and bottle it, and cap it, and label it, and put it in the store.

None of that is technically difficult but still I mange to get one sticky kitchen by the time I am done. Cleanup is easy though. I just lay on the floor and start licking.

Like our milk, we sell our honey raw, never heated or pasteurized. Raw honey is an alkaline-forming food that contains natural vitamins, enzymes, powerful antioxidants and other important natural nutrients. These are the very nutrients that are destroyed during the heating and pasteurization process. In fact, pasteurized honey is equivalent to and just as unhealthy as eating refined sugar.
 
Why should you care? For the following reasons:

Raw honey from bees who thrive on local flora is best for those of you with allergies to those same plants. It has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.

It can be used to heal wounds, (including acne) and to moisturize skin and hair. It can relive minor burns and rashes as well.

It promotes digestive health, can stabilize blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure and heal stomach ulcers. You can cook with it, bake with it, even wash your face with it!

It can decrease coughs, colds and it effectively helps with asthma and bronchitis. Got one of those dry irritating coughs that keeps you up occasionally at night? Chuck the Nyquil and swallow a tablespoon of honey instead. You'll be amazed at how well it works to stop the cough AND soothe your irritated throat.

It has a very long shelf life, some say it is indefinite due to its high anti-bacterial qualities so you can stock up in the summer, fill your pantry and be set for a very long time. If it crystallizes just throw the bottle in a pan of hot water and it will revert back to its liquid state.

It is also a natural sleep remedy. A spoonful of honey before bed on its own or in warm tea is far better than OTC medications. My Aunt Bernie's friend Helen (who died at age 100!) would put it in her small snifter of Brandy each night but of course that makes it a little difficult to assess which liquid was really helping her sleep. But at her age...did it matter?

Be warned, unless the bottle says "Raw Honey" it most likely is not. Buy your honey in your own area. Getting honey from several states away will not help with any allergies you might have to the native plants in your area. And honey from overseas is poorly regulated and often contains additional cane sugar, water etc...

Know your farmer, know your bees.

17 comments:

  1. That photo of your honey at the top is gorgeous! I always buy honey from my local farmstand up the road, but I never knew until now the benefits of raw honey vs pasteurized. I have no idea which one I consume, but now I'll look into it. I eat a little every day for my terrible seasonal allergies.

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    1. Yeah...took about 100 pics of our honey until I was satisfied with that one. Which is why one day my computer will crash with the 20,000 photos store on it. Ah well, nothing lasts forever. Ask the farmer the honey if its raw. If he doesn't know or says No then move along to the next honey stand.!

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  2. We've been spinning today too. Liquid Gold. So precious. I love to see it stacked away for the winter, ready to use instead of sugar and to make home remedies.
    Gill

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    1. Last year we sold too much and ended up running out for ourselves. HORRORS! this year we're keeping more back for the farmers themselves.

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  3. It doesn't matter if your honey is raw or pasteurized if you're going to expose it to heat (i.e., cook/bake with it).
    If you're going to be using it as a sugar substitute in heat-exposed culinary purposes, your honey may as well be pasteurized as raw.

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    1. Well hello there Unknown, if we're going to politely disagree would be nice to know your name :) You are correct about the cooking part but since I consume/use the majority of my honey raw it does make a big difference whether or not it is pasteurized. ALSO, much of the pasteurized honey in the US comes from other countries where not only are all the good enzymes killed through pasteurization the honey is often watered down/mixed with corn syrup. Bottom line is now and always...know your farmer/buy local whenever you can.

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    2. Donna is right. Most store bought honey is adulterated and has NO pollen in it whatsoever. This cleansing is done so it can be passed off as domestic honey, when it is actually a cheap import. Made cheaper by mixing it with corn syrup and the like. Here is the link to the study: http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/11/tests-show-most-store-honey-isnt-honey/#.U8cbaRG9KSM

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  4. Me again ! Why would you need to pasteurise honey?
    Gill

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    1. Gill, there is no good reason.(In my opinion) Many large honey farmers heat it to make it flow faster and makes it easier to bottle by machines. But I bottle one little bottle at a time, listening to Bon Iver or Fleetwood Mac to make the task...that much sweeter!

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  5. I have just written on Frugal's (above) page that I rather envy all you beekeepers. I also added that in another life I'd rather like to produce both honey and cheese.

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    1. Me too. as far as the cheese goes. It s a definite Poor Farm goal

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  6. When the honey crystallizes, how hot should the water be to re-melt it. I mean I wouldn't want to accidentally pasteurize it by soaking it in too hot water. I'm assuming the spoonful I put in my morning tea gets pasteurized, right? Too bad - I use most of my raw honey that way.

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    1. Water over 100 degrees will liguify your honey again and if your tea water is hot enough to pasteurize the honey you must not have much of a tongue left!

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  7. Talking about shelf life, I believe a 3000 year old urn of edible honey was discovered in the Egyptian pyramids.

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    1. I believe a few mummys were wrapped in honey cloth as well. Which is why I dunk my face in a gallon of honey every night so I only look 54 instead of 55. Hope you two are well!

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  8. It looks divine Donna - so clear. Enjoy :)

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