Food Facts | Honey


Foods included in this definition: Honey Description:  Honey is a naturally sweet substance that is thick, sweet, and syrupy liquid that bees make from plant or flower nectar. The bees store honey as food in honeycombs, but we use the honey as a sugar (high-carbohydrate food) to sweeten recipes. 

How to Buy it

  • Be sure to read the label to ensure that honey is the only ingredient. The Food and Drug Administration indicates that "a properly labeled package of only honey would show the name of the food as 'honey,' and it would not need an ingredient statement because it would only contain one ingredient" (1).  

  • Typically, honey that is darker in color will have a stronger flavor while pale honeys have a more delicate flavor. However, color cannot always be an indicator of freshness, heat exposure, contamination level, or quality. 

How to use it

  • Some countries regard honey as more of a medicine than a food, and the medicinal properties of honey are being acknowledged more and more. Consult a doctor before using honey in this way.   

  • The compounds in honey are volatile and evaporate easily when heated. In other words, honey quality is reduced by cooking with heat.

How to Store It

  • dry, clean buckets with tight fitting lids

  • away from heat (i.e. a cabinet or pantry shelf instead of on the counter next to the stove)

ANNI WEEKS advice: 

  • Use honey as an alternative to cane sugar or other artificial sweeteners. The caloric value is the same, however organic honey is not processed. In other words, honey is naturally occurring whereas other products contain processed or added sugars. ​​

  • When sweetening your recipes at home, try switching out your sugar for honey. You'll likely get a similar result without compromising taste. 

Pros: Since honey is a naturally sweet substance, it is a more pure alternative than most processed or added sugars.  Cons: Even though it contains some nutrients, honey is still a form of sugar. Over consumption can contribute to the development of chronic diseases (i.e. obesity and type 2 diabetes) or worsen a disease you are currently diagnosed with. 

Other Interesting Facts

  • The color, aroma, and consistency of honey depend on which flowers the bees have been foraging for. 

  • The place where the bees live has no effect on the honey they make, but human handling can lead to reduction of quality, and improper harvesting can making it "unripe". 

  •  Honey is acidic, with a pH content in the range of 3.7-4.5.

Related Posts

Sugar, Sugar. Or Honey, Honey. (The truth about sugar substitutes)

References

  1. https://www.fda.gov/files/food/published/PDF---Guidance-for-Industry--Proper-Labeling-of-Honey-and-Honey-Products.pdf

  2. http://www.fao.org/3/i0842e/i0842e10.pdf

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