5 Things You Need to Know Before Buying Honey
#1. Honey Tracks Are Not A Bad Thing
Honey tracks, more commonly referred to as honey crystals, is one of the most misunderstood characteristics of honey. Most raw and untreated honey have a tendency to naturally crystallize over time. What seems adulterated and spoiled (changes in color and texture), is in fact a sign of pure quality premium honey. Honey crystallization occurs because it is a naturally over-concentrated sugar component. Generally, it contains more than 70% sugar and less than 20% water – meaning the honey is undiluted and untreated. This does not affect the quality of the honey at all. Rather, it is evident that the honey has active components! Honey crystals tend to set at a lighter color than its liquid form, and can present a uniform pattern or a layer of track lines. Crystals are easily brought back to liquid form with gentle heating. So, the next time you buy honey, look out for the honey tracks. It is a good thing!
#2. Propolis. Don’t Scrap It Off!
Another major misconception about honey is the wax layer at the top of the jar. Most people scrap it off and throw it away. That is unfortunate because this thick crusty layer of brown pellets contain propolis. Propolis is an organic byproduct of bee pollination. Believed to promote heart health, propolis is also a powerful an antimicrobial, an emollient, an immunomodulator and an anti-tumor growth agent. Before you buy your honey, make sure you have this layer of powerful components in your jar!
#3. Know Your Flavor
It is important to know your honey flavor of choice. Honey color, texture and taste can vary quite a lot from season to season. For example, spring honey is has a lighter hue and a more floral quality. Summer honey tends to be slightly darker in color, and autumn/winter honey have the darkest tones with a rich earthy flavor. In the US, the most popular flavor is Clover – mild and slightly floral. My personal favorite is Blue Gum ♥ – an eucalyptus variety that is medium-rich in flavor. Once you know your honey buds, it makes the complicated process of honey shopping a whole lot easier.
#4. Keywords to Look For: Raw. Unfiltered. Unpasteurized.
Again, this has been a topic I have recently been hammering away on. You can read more on my previous post 5 Things I Bet You Didn’t Know About Honey
#5. Keep Honey Away From An Infant Under 12 Months Old
Raw honey contains botulism – a metabolic toxic waste – which adult immune systems easily fight off. While botulism itself does not have any known long-term side effects, it can cause many complications to the vulnerable state of infant immunity. This toxin can be destroyed by a few minutes of cooking over 100 degrees Celsius, but it is not worth the risk. There have been cases in history of infant respiratory failure resulting in fatality due to botulism toxic contamination.