Ivory, amber, sunny yellow… creamy, buttery, liquid… acacia, sunflower, fir, thyme, lavender, orange blossom… all these words define a single ingredient: honey. Who has never gotten lost looking at all these names to define 1 same product? Rich in its diversity of taste, texture, and color, honey is rising. But beyond the taste side, honey has real health benefits. Follow us to discover this nectar of the gods.
Honey, A Trending Ingredient
Used by our grandmothers as a basic ingredient for its healing properties, honey was somewhat forgotten for years, replaced by refined sugar. But it is now back in force. For what? Partly thanks to the media, which have started to talk about the unfortunate gradual disappearance of bees: excessive use of pesticides, intensive cultivation, the introduction of new parasites, the alert has been given… and it is time to act because bees are essential for preserving the vitality of the life cycle of plants.
In everyone’s mind, honey is synonymous with many childhood memories: buttered toast with honey, gingerbread from our grandmothers, and of course… Maya the bee! , Not to mention the trend of eating well, of “healthy food,” as Instagrammers like to mention it, in which honey is very important. Indeed, it is an excellent alternative to refined sugar. With a higher sweetening power than refined sugar, it is also more easily assimilated by the body. And that’s not all, and honey has many healing properties: it can be used first to relieve many minor everyday ailments.
Varieties Of Honey
Back to basics, bees produce honey after foraging flowers and stored in the hive’s combs. It is food for worker bees. The honey varieties derive from the environment where the hives are installed and, therefore, from the vegetation, particularly the flowers that the bees forage. With over a hundred varieties, there is something to please all tastes.
Some honeys are better known than others. There is prestigious honey, such as Yemen, Pitcairn, and Manuka honey, whose purity and nutrient richness make them a first-rate health food. Other better-known and more accessible honey is highly appreciated, such as acacia honey, which is very sweet and liquid, “all flowers” honey, whose taste varies according to the seasons; lavender honey, which is creamier with a slightly floral, fir, and forest honey, darker and more powerful. And the list could be more comprehensive.
Honey is not the only product from beekeeping; pollen and royal jelly are extracted from the hive and are very interesting in health. Today, hive products have conquered the markets: many products, such as honey candies, honey chocolate, gingerbread, honey-based beauty creams, or other jelly royal, have invaded the market.
Composed mainly of glucose, fructose, and water, it is also rich in nutrients (potassium, calcium, copper, iron, etc.) in vitamins and enzymes. Honey also contains natural antibiotics, preventing the development of bacteria. But in reality? Honey is rich in antioxidants which help boost our immunity.
It is an excellent antibacterial thanks to its content of natural antibiotics, which makes it perfect for relieving sore throats. These antibiotics and sugar content provide honey with a healing and softening power for the skin. It also helps strengthen our digestive flora by supplying numerous nutrients and vitamins. The enzymes it contains help in digestion.
Tips And Use
Choose pure, good quality, and organic honey if possible. Raw honey remains the reference honey: the honey is not heated after harvest. All its compounds remain intact: above 40°C, some of its components are denatured, and it then loses its virtues. To take full advantage of its virtues, consuming a teaspoonful of it on an empty stomach is advisable. Some honeys are recommended more than others for certain ailments. You should know that the foraged plant will give the honey its virtues.
Lavender, orange blossom, or lime blossom honey can be used for its calming power before sleeping; thyme honey has a strong antiseptic power; chestnut honey is particularly rich in minerals, has superior anti-inflammatory properties, etc. If honey alone doesn’t make you crave so much, why not spread it on a slice of bread, and use it to sweeten your yogurt or in your herbal tea for a calming herbal tea? Honey can also be used as a base for taking essential oils, one of the basic principles of herbal medicine.
To preserve all the nutritional qualities of honey, it must be stored in optimal conditions. Ideally, in a dark place, sheltered from humidity with a temperature not exceeding 25°C. To make the most of its virtues, consuming it within 6 months after harvest is advisable. It is normal for natural crystallization to form over time. To make the honey more liquid, put it in a bain-marie for 2-3 hours, with a maximum temperature of 40°C.
“Good” Honey And “False” Honey
Where to buy and what products to buy? There too, we get lost… Pay attention to the origins and the composition. Avoid the first prices, which often contain added sugar syrup (this is the most classic fraud because it is the most profitable). If you buy in-store, choose honey with a specific floral and geographical origin. And avoid honey bearing the mention “mixture of honey originating in the EU and outside the EU.”
It is better to buy honey directly from beekeepers, but here too, be careful. If you buy directly, this allows you to have a specific type of honey (acacia, bramble, lavender, chestnut, fir, etc.) and a precise origin, but be careful; if they offer too much honey, it’s fishy! Generally, traditional beekeepers produce up to five different kinds of honey.
For our part, we recently told you about honey that is easily accessible online or in stores: the Honeys of the Mary Family, those of Miel Martine (excellent honey whose project was born in Provence), I also discovered Le Miel Sauvage (I tasted very quickly, they are great but I haven’t delved into it yet), but recently I had another little crush that does not come from France: “Bees for Hope.”
And yes, there is no need to shun products of foreign origin because the French consumes four times more honey than the country produces! “Bees for Hope » markets beekeepers’ honey from a cooperative called Coopsol. Coopsol has existed for 30 years, and works with honey producers spread over three provinces in northern Argentina. Their objective? Preserve the environment while improving the conditions of remuneration and work of these communities of Argentina, which are in remote areas where access to the market is difficult. A good cause and good honey, what more could you ask for?
This is a small parenthesis because I had been looking for a beautiful honey spoon for a long time, and I found a pretty one at Jean Dubost Coutellerie (see photo above) in olive wood. I’m a fan of these spoons for serving honey. With good liquid honey, it’s magic. 🙂
I use honey everywhere… But here are some recipe ideas that I hope will inspire you. There are many more on the blog!
- Salmon tartare with ginger and lemongrass
- Ginger and pomegranate celery salad
- Oriental lentil salad
- Korean Quick Chicken
- Roasted Peaches with Lemon and Lavender
- Mango detox smoothie
- Yogurt with mango compote
- Apple and Walnut Scones