I’m a big fan of honey, but I think it’s one of the most confusing foods to buy. Go to the store and you’ll see a vast array of jars and squeezy bottles of honey available. Different colors, various brands, local, national, and international. My usual method of picking one is to go for either (a) the brand that’s on special offer, or (b) whichever one my kids pick up first.
Not exactly a scientific approach!
Recently I thought I’d do some research to check out which were the best brands of honey. I thought this might be useful for other people, so I decided to write this up for an article. I’ve got a recommendation for the honey that I think is the best of the best, and also a list of some of the brands to steer clear of. I’ve also got answers to some of the burning questions about honey and I explode a few myths along the way. If you’re ready, then we’ll take a look.
Brand to choose: Nature Nate’s 100% Pure Raw & Unfiltered Honey; 16-oz. Squeeze Bottle
This is the way honey is meant to be: raw and unfiltered. As one reviewer says, “It has body, it has pizazz”, and it “compliments and is versatile and will suit your daily honey uses”. It’s an excellent choice, at a great price, and comes in a very handy squeezy bottle.
Ideal for sweetening tea and coffee, and for replacing sugar in baking. Delicious!
Brands to avoid:
Hemani Sidr Honey, Jansal Valley Lavender Infused Honey, SeeBees Acacia Honey w/ Chunk Honeycomb, Langnese Country Creamy Honey
What is honey? How is it made?
Let’s start by taking a look at what honey actually is and where it comes from.
Honey is a sweet, sticky liquid food that is made by bees. Bees collect the sweet nectar from flowers, and it is then transformed by the bees using enzymes to form the honey. The honey is then stored in the bees’ hive in a honeycomb, before being harvested by the beekeeper. In an average year, a beehive can produce around 65 Lb / 29kg of honey.
Interestingly, honey has been eaten by humans for at least 8000 years and there is a cave painting in Valencia (Spain) from that time that shows honey collectors using ladders and baskets to gather honey from wild beehives.
What is raw honey vs regular honey?
Raw honey is generally seen as honey that is as close to its natural form as possible. So it has been extracted from the honeycomb by straining or settling, but it hasn’t had any other process done to it. Regular honey, on the other hand, is raw honey that has then been filtered to remove pollen grains, etc and may also have been pasteurized by heating it.
Why does honey never expire?
Generally, honey that’s past its use-by date isn’t a problem in our house, as it gets eaten too quickly! Amazingly enough though, honey will keep indefinitely. It might change color, you might see crystals forming, but it won’t go bad. [Side note: if you do see crystals in your honey, just take the lid off, put it in warm water and stir it for a few minutes, until the crystals magically dissolve]
Incredibly, archaeologists have even found honey that is perfectly edible in ancient Egyptian tombs that is thousands of years old.
But why is it that honey doesn’t expire? Well, there are three main reasons. Firstly, it has a very low water content. Secondly, it has a very low pH, making it acidic. Thirdly, it contains Hydrogen Peroxide, which is added naturally by the bees as the honey is formed in their stomachs. All these combine to make honey a fairly unpleasant environment for microorganisms, bacteria, and other nasties. So they look elsewhere for a more comfortable home and leave the honey good to eat.
How long does it take for honey to help allergies?
It’s a commonly believed remedy for allergies. Eating local honey that contains pollen grains from local flowers. The idea being that (like allergy shots), over time the person will then become less sensitive to these pollens, and therefore have fewer hayfever like symptoms.
Unfortunately, whilst allergy shots have been proven effective in combating symptoms, honey hasn’t been. Local, unfiltered (i.e. raw) honey will certainly contain some pollen grains, but the amount will be quite small. Unlike allergy shots that can desensitize people to pollens by using standard amounts of pollen grains.
Benefits of drinking honey with warm water for skin?
Honey can have an amazing effect on your skin. It can make our skin shine with health and rejuvenate tired, dead skin. It’s also known as a blood purifier that can assist in producing new blood cells. Take a glass of water with some honey and watch your skin glow for a month!
Should I buy organic honey?
A lot of the produce we buy in our family is organic, and so I really wanted to buy organic honey as well. Unfortunately, it appears that ‘organic honey’ is a bit of a misnomer. I’ll explain. To produce honey, bees scour the countryside for flowers that they can harvest the nectar from. They might travel for many miles in the process and can sample nectar from hundreds of thousands of flowers.
Let’s imagine that the bee travels in a circular area that has a radius of 3 miles. That means that the foraging area is around 28 square miles. A huge area! In order to correctly call honey ‘organic’ there would need to be proof that no pesticides were used on any of the land within that area – and how likely do you think that is…?
So, to answer your question, no, I don’t think you should buy ‘organic’ honey. Buy high-quality honey from a reputable brand, but don’t waste your money on buying a product that can’t be proven to be organic.
Honey brands to avoid
Hemani Sidr Honey: Sidr honey is made from pollen that apparently comes from Sidr trees in Yemeni. Although I’m not sure how they can confirm that it just comes from Sidr trees when bees collect pollen from such a wide area. That aside, there seem to be major issues with this brand. Both in terms of the taste (various reviews about the poor taste of the honey) and also about the packaging, which seems to leak badly. Read more+
Jansal Valley Lavender Infused Honey: The key word here is ‘infused’. Don’t assume that this honey has been produced by bees who’ve collected nectar exclusively from lavender flowers. This is regular honey, which has had a lavender oil added to it during the processing. The lavender oil seems to give the honey a good aroma, but there are question marks over the taste. Read more+
SeeBees Acacia Honey with Chunk Honeycomb: As I mentioned, I love honey. But the thought of eating the actual honeycomb kinda turns my stomach. This honey from SeeBees contains chunks of honeycomb mixed into the honey.
Reviewers have described this as tasting of “wax” and “fishy”. Not for me. Read more+
Langnese Country Creamy Honey: this is a multipack of 10 jars of the honey. Plenty to go around! Unfortunately, the delivery packaging seems to leave a lot to be desired, with lots of breakages being reported by reviewers.
A shame because the taste of the honey seems to be good. Read more+
I’m a big fan of honey, but it can be very confusing to choose between all the various brands on offer in the store. I hope my research has been useful for you in dodging the poor brands and picking the best (and dispelling a few myths along the way).
Nature Nate’s 100% Pure Raw & Unfiltered Honey, in its squeezy bottle, is the way honey is meant to be: raw and unfiltered. As one reviewer says, “It has body, it has pizazz”, and it “compliments and is versatile and will suit your daily honey uses”. It’s an excellent choice, at a great price, and comes in a very handy squeezy bottle. Ideal for sweetening tea and coffee, and for replacing sugar in baking. Delicious!
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