My great-grandfather was a beekeeper. I am not a fan of bees, at least in the insect-buzzing-around-me-ready-to-sting-at-any-moment sense. My dad is allergic to them so I’ve always had this
healthy fear extreme paranoia of getting stung.
For as long as humans have been around, we’ve been braving angry, buzzing bees — and the occasional angry bear — to get a taste of nature’s own sweet gold: Honey. In fact, the ancient Romans and Aztecs valued it so much that they used to pay their taxes with honey, instead of gold! So smart.
Honey is not only sought after for it’s sweet flavor and nutritional value, but recent scientific studies show that honey contains potent antimicrobials and antioxidants, provides a rich wealth of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and flavonoids — all of which speed healing and promoting overall health. It’s no wonder honey is known as a superfood!
All that, and it tastes great on toast, yogurt, ice cream, stirred into tea, and in just about everything else, too.
I’ve been shopping at Green Polka Dot Box for a while, but I’m really excited to try a product that they carry: Living Honey’s 100% Cold-Extracted Honey.
So what’s the deal with cold extraction? Isn’t one type of honey pretty much like every other type of honey? The answer is NO WAY! To understand why cold extracted honey is better — taste-wise, nutrition-wise, and health-benefits-wise — let’s explore how honey is created.
The Bees Do it Better
When it comes to making honey, bees in a hive are grouped into different categories of worker, each with its own set of honey-related tasks. So-called foragers fly about from flower to flower, drinking nectar and storing it in their crop, also known as a honey stomach. When the foragers get back to the hive, they pass the nectar along to a processor bee, who hangs out at the front of the hive. They are so smart!
The processor bee then carries the nectar up to the top of the hive where the honeycomb sits in all of its glory. After depositing the nectar in a honeycomb cell — along with a dose of invertase, a natural enzyme — the nectar is left to ripen. During ripening process, the invertase breaks down the nectar’s original sugar content — sucrose — into glucose and fructose. The bees in the hive help the ripening process along by drying out the honey; the ingenious little creatures create drying airflow by flapping their wings.
Over time, the nectar loses almost all of its water content. No water means no chance of bacteria or other microbes like fungi growing in the honey. When it’s completely ripe, the bees create a little wax cap, sealing off the cell of the honeycomb.
Another interesting honey fact: The flowers that bees collect nectar from determines the fragrance, taste and color of the honey, from the lightest, almost white-yellow to the darkest, deepest amber. For instance, orange blossom, alfalfa, sage and clover honey tends to be light in color and taste, while honey from wildflowers, pine trees and buckwheat tends to be darker and richer. As a general rule, the deeper and darker the honey, the more antioxidants, antimicrobials and other good stuff it contains.
And speaking of all that good stuff, that’s where cold extraction comes into play.
Why is Cold Extracted Honey Superior?
Here’s a little known fact: 99.9% of the honey you buy at the supermarket is ruined. That’s right: Ruined.
Why? Because commercially processed honey is heated, pasteurized and filtered within an inch of its life, leaving virtually nothing behind but a sticky syrup that’s really almost no better than corn syrup. All of those amino acids, all of those B and C vitamins, all of those anti-oxidant flavenoids, carotinoids, enzymes and ascorbic acids, and all of those nutrients that the little bees worked so long and carefully to product? Gone, thanks to the heating process.
So, you’re probably asking, if honey is naturally antimicrobial, why heat it at all? The answer is simple: Money.
It all comes down to packaging costs. Cold honey is thick and rich, filled with all of the natural goodness the bees put in, so it moves very slowly — which means that bottling process moves slowly, too.
By heating the honey up to at least 130 degrees, it moves faster and can be pumped into bottles by machines, enabling processing plants to make more product quickly, thus aiding their bottom line. And buyer beware: Even products that say “Raw” on the label still usually heated up to 115 degrees, and when honey hits a temperature of 107 or above the digestive nutrients become “stressed,” which degrades the substance, causing particles to separate – and changing the taste, too.
In contrast, the cold-extraction process used by Living Honey leaves all of the natural goodness, nutrients and phytochemicals in the honey, along with all of the health-promoting properties they deliver.
Plus, Living Honey only uses acid-proof containers to store honey, as it can leach moisture, chemicals and flavors from its surroundings, contaminating the purity and adulterating the flavor. Living Honey knows that their customers tend to have discerning palates, so they make sure their honey always taste just as good as it should and contain nothing more than the nutrients nature intended. There’s just no comparison to the “honey-flavored” stuff you find at the supermarket.
It’s easy to get all of the health benefits and deliciousness of honey in this simple, addicting recipe. Simply drizzle honey over your favorite cereals or granola. Stir until small balls form, then pour in bit of milk for a fast, simple breakfast. You can also pour a bit of honey over biscuits while they’re still hot from the oven, then allow them to them sit overnight. The baked goods absorb the honey, taking in all of that sweet goodness without leaving a sticky feeling.
*** DID YOU KNOW that you can even make your own honey sports drink that delivers the electrolytes, vitamins and minerals you need to replenish your body, without all of the high fructose corn syrup and synthetic colors and flavors you’ll find in most commercial sports drinks? Simply add ¾ cup of honey to 8 cups of water, add a dash of salt and a squeeze of lime, and mix well.
How about you? Do you use honey? Do you have a favorite brand?
Me? I’m shopping for it RIGHT NOW at Green PolkaDot Box. Check them out!