Back during the Holidays, I received a glass jar of honey in my Christmas stocking. I’m always inundated with fun food related items after the stockings are finished but in this case I had no idea what I had just received. How lucky was I that I now had 12 oz of liquid gold!
This stuff was not what I was used to however. Instead of amber and free-flowing this was a light yellow slightly solidified block of sweet goodness. And the flavor was awesome. Actually less sweet than you’d expect or maybe it was the increase in subtlety that counteracted the sweetness. But who cares, the stuff was delicious and I was using it for everything. Until the glass jar was empty…
Awfully dramatic for a post about honey, huh? Well, it wasn’t until I started craving the stuff that I actually did my research. Sure, I was intuitive enough to grasp the likely difference between this “raw” honey and the standard bear bottle variety. But it wasn’t until I did my reading that I really understood just how great this “raw” stuff really was.
Honey is touted as having antibacterial properties, being great for sore throats and stomach aches, and even as a potential anti-cancer agent. But all of those fantastic properties stem from “stuff” that is partially or fully degraded by heat processing. The same heat processing that takes “raw” honey and makes it the stuff we are used to seeing. Most interesting of the “stuff” to me is the propolis. Propolis is a mixture of resins used by honeybees to seal their hives against viruses and bacteria. It’s not so shocking that raw honey could have those antibacterial properties then is it? Or what about how honey is the only natural food that doesn’t go bad? Probably not a coincidence. Additionally, levels of “good” bacteria (think Activia), can be found in raw honey which would certainly explain the use as a stomach aid.
So what’s the bottom line? Raw honey is awesome! You can buy many different varieties in most grocery stores and definitely in specialty shops at this point. And yes, like all things good, it’s more expensive than those honey bears. But for an ingredient you use in such small quantities, and with amazing flavor and health properties, it’s definitely worth it!