Seventy-six percent of honey sold in major supermarkets is untraceable because it contains virtually no pollen, according to Food Safety News. Pollen in commercial honey is filtered to keep it liquid, but ultrafiltered honey from China has been found to be contaminated with antibiotics and heavy metals. (For more on honey read 15 Household Uses for Honey and The Health Benefits of Honey.)
Know Your Honey
If whole foods are important to you, avoid mass-produced supermarket honey. Opt to buy honey that is closer to the land, and keep the beneficial compounds in the sweet substance in your food.
Read the Label: Some honey, especially the kind that comes in a to-go packet, is actually flavored high-fructose corn syrup. The ingredient list will spell it out for you.
Opt for Raw: Raw honey is the consistency of peanut butter because it is unfiltered and has crystallized. Honey that stays in liquid form longer is generally Grade A honey, which means it’s been filtered, so many of the healthiest natural compounds are gone, too. Plus, you are guaranteed to avoid inferior, superfiltered honey by opting for raw.
Where is it From? Choose honey that is produced close to home, if possible. Artisan producers are often available to discuss how they process their honey, if you give them a call. Your health-food store employees may be able to help you select a high-quality product, also. Even better, find a beekeeper in your area to buy from.
Plant for Pollinators
No one knows what causes Colony Collapse Disorder, the mysterious phenomenon of bee nests dying en masse, but we can do our part to save these crucial creatures by growing plants the pollinators love. Bees are attracted to brightly colored day-blooming flowers full of nectar, especially those tubular in shape. They also need a flower structure that acts as a landing platform. Plus, bees like a sweet or minty scent. Plant these five herbs to help bees thrive.
• Bee balm
How to Make Infused Honeys
Follow the flow chart to make three types of infused honey: ginger, chili and, for the adventurous, garlic. Stir it into tea, add it to toast or heap it on waffles! (Garlic honey makes a good cold remedy or an unusual topping for vanilla ice cream.)
2 cups local honey + 1/4 teaspoon citric acid + 1 tablespoon ginger powder or 4 tablespoons dried chili flakes or 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh garlic
Mix all ingredients in a large jar, cover tightly and allow to sit away from sunlight for up to three weeks for best flavor.
Excerpted with permission from Honey Crafting by Leeann Coleman and Jayne Barnes, F+W Media, Inc. 2013. Buy this book from our store: Honey Crafting.