A while ago, I posted about how I heard that heating honey isn't a very good option. We use raw honey, but if we bake with it then it's heated - sort of defeating the purpose of it being raw in the first place. We also use raw honey for making raw recipes or just savoring out of the jar as a treat.
Our brand of choice is by Honey Gardens, check out their website here. They can be found in Vitamin Cottage, Whole Foods and other health stores around the country.
Well why is it so bad to heat honey anyways?
When honey is heated, especially above 116, the heat begins to destroy the antioxidants, enzymes and vitamins that honey has to offer. Heated honey also loses some of its natural aroma and flavor. That's not to say that heated honey is completely void of health benefits.
What about local honey?
Local honey is a good option, but make sure its raw if you are concerned about heated honey. If you want help from seasonal allergies, try to find local bee pollen. You can add it to yogurt or smoothies.
Other uses for honey
Apply honey to soothe burns and speed healing. I can tell you for a fact that it helps. I had a steam burn on my hand and I applied aloe vera juice and then honey. It was signficantly healed within just a couple of days.
Make sure it's raw
The definition of raw honey is one that is unheated and unfiltered. Unfortunately, the term "raw honey" is not regulated and companies can and do put honey on the shelf labeled "raw" when it's really not. They are allowed to filter it once and heat it to 118 degrees. That's why we use Honey Gardens, because it's truly raw.. never heated, never filtered.
A quote from the Honey Gardens web site:
"It is liquid in the honeycomb and when we bottle it, and it naturally crystallizes in the jar into a spreadable consistency, usually around October. "
While we're on the subject of honey, we keep our vitamin pantry (yes, we have a dedicated one) stocked with Elderberry tonic, which has some honey in it. This tonic is nothing short of amazing, it kicks a sore throat right out the door! It's also gluten-free, of course.
The Honey Gardens raw honey is the only honey that my daughter, who has allergies, can eat. We tried her on another honey (that's filtered + heated) and she broke out in hives. Keep in mind, when honey is heated it changes it molecular structure too.
We still bake with raw honey and we will to some degree. It's definitely still better than some other options, but it's important to remember that eating honey raw offers a lot of health benefits so don't forget your daily spoon full raw honey!