Raw (Local) Honey versus Pasteurized (Supermarket) Honey
If you have been to Whole Foods lately, you have probably seen various jars of honey priced at $20 or more. While you could easily purchase a jar of the same size at your regular supermarket for just $5, below are some reasons why you should make the pricier investment. Preserve nature's candy! Honey is a natural product produced by bees pollinating flower pollen. Industrial honey is created by an unnatural process in which bees are fed sugar syrup. This is actually bad for the bees. Industrial honey is pasteurized before being distributed to supermarkets. Pasteurization is a process where heat is applied to kill microbes. Unfortunately it also destroys many of the valuable nutrients. The spin they put on that is that it is safer for the consumer. Don’t believe them. Real honey comes straight from the hive and not from your grocer’s shelf. The kind of honey you buy off the shelf has been pasteurized and that destroys the enzymes that make honey such a worthwhile food. Also, the taste difference between an industrial jar of honey and an artesian honey is tremendous.
Cooking with Honey
Honey makes a good replacement for sugar in most recipes. Since honey is sweeter than sugar, you need to use less, one-half to three-quarters of a cup for each cup of sugar. For each cup of sugar replaced, you should also reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe by one-quarter of a cup. In addition, reduce the cooking temperature by 25ºF since honey causes foods to brown more easily.
Honey Storage and Safety
Honey contains natural preservatives and will never spoil. Storing honey is easy. Simply keep it in a cool location away from direct sunlight in a tightly covered container. It is not necessary to refrigerate honey. Do not be alarmed if stored honey becomes cloudy. This is called crystallization. It is not harmful nor is it any indication of deterioration. In fact, honey has an indefinite shelf-life thanks to its high concentration of sugar. If your honey has crystallized, placing the container in hot water (not higher than 130 degrees) for 15 minutes will help return it to its liquid state. Do not heat honey in the microwave as this alters its taste.
Do not feed honey-containing products to infants under one year of age. Honey is safe for children older than 12 months and adults.