Does honey have an expiration date?

Honey stored in sealed containers can remain stable for decades and even centuries! However, honey is susceptible to physical and chemical changes during storage; it tends to darken and lose its aroma and flavor or crystallize. These are temperature-dependent processes, making the shelf life of honey difficult to define. For practical purposes, a shelf life of two years is often stated. Properly processed, packaged and stored honey retains its quality for a long time. If in doubt, throw it out, and purchase a new jar of honey!

What is the crystallization of honey?

Crystallization is the natural process by which the glucose in honey precipitates out of the liquid honey. Different varieties of honey will crystallize at different rates, and a few not at all. It does not affect the quality or the valuable honey ingredients. If your honey crystallizes, simply place the honey jar in warm water and stir until the crystals dissolve. Be careful not to boil or scorch the honey. Also keep in mind that you can eat the honey in a crystallized form. Just scoop out of the jar and spread it on your toast or drop it in your tea!

What does it mean to use ecological beekeeping practices?

Ecological beekeeping practices apply to the fact that the beekeeper will not transfer his hives in organized fields where pesticides are used. Therefore the danger of bees coming in contact with residues of pesticides, miticides, antibiotics, organophosphates, and other chemicals is prevented.

It also means that the beekeeper himself will not use any chemicals in order to prevent or deal with any bees’ disease.

Is all honey the same?

No, there are many varieties and flavors of honey, depending on the flowers from which bees collect nectar.

Is honey safe for infants?

As with any raw, unprocessed foods, honey is not recommended for infants whose immune systems are not fully developed, a process that occurs usually between 9 and 18 months of age.

What is “raw” honey?

Raw honey is natural honey, nothing added or taken away.  It is what bees produce in the hive.  It 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.  All pure 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 “organic?”

Absolutely!  Honey is nature’s food and is all organic.  However, to be labeled “organic” and sold as an “organic” food, it must contain no herbicides or pesticides.

Should individuals with diabetes eat honey?

Honey is the sweetener of choice for diabetics.  Honey actually stabilizes blood sugar and lowers HbA1c levels, something refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) cannot do.  After ingestion, honey is converted directly into liver glycogen and does not result in formation of triglycerides (fatty acids) as typically occurs after the consumption of large amounts of HFCS and sucrose.  Honey does not trigger an immediate or excessive insulin release such as results from the consumption of most artificial sweeteners, and thus does not promote fat production, fat storage, and weight gain commonly associated with the use of these products.

What is honey?

Honey is primarily composed of nearly equal proportions of fructose, glucose, plus other sugars 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 sugary substance called nectar.  Nectar is made of dilute sucrose and glucose, both simple sugars.  Bees collect nectar, and take it to the hive where they evaporate water from it by fanning it 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.  Honey, gram for gram or calorie for calorie, tastes much sweeter than any other sugar.

Does honey have any health benefits?

Yes!   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.”  Eating honey has a stabilizing effect on our body’s blood sugar levels and does not stimulate as rapid insulin production as sucrose (table sugar) or glucose.  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 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 possible, and natural restoration of body tissues and immune system functions occurs naturally.