A few months ago I was driving in the car and a segment about honey came on MPR.
Naturally, as a beekeeper this caught my attention.
While I don't remember exact numbers or statistics, the take-away message was this:
There aren’t many (if any) regulations on the honey that is filling our grocery stores.
Honey that is imported from countries such as China is actually mostly corn syrup because the requirement is only something (ridiculous) like <10% actually had to be "real honey" for it to be labeled as honey.
(Sound familiar? Remember my post about reading food labels? Don't get fooled into spending your precious dollars on food that's not worth it.)
One plus of using corn syrup in place of honey is that it will never crystalize. It will stay that beautiful, liquid gold everyone expects honey to be. And it can sit on the shelf forever. And it's dirt cheap.
So why does raw honey crystalize?
There's a bit of chemistry involved, but chemistry isn't really my thing - (if it's your thing, google has some really good info that you may find interesting). If you don't like chemistry like me you can think of it as nature's way of preserving itself.
So you actually do want to see your honey crystalize!
It means that you have spent your hard earned cash on some incredibly awesome stuff not toxic corn syrup.
On a side note...not ALL honey from the store is garbage. Some honey has been heated (or pasteurized) and it will take much longer to crystalize if it even does at all. We chose not to pasteurize our honey (or milk) because you lose the beneficial enzymes and antimicrobial properties in the process.
The good news is you just have to warm your honey up with these simple steps to get the crystals to melt and your honey will once again be liquid gold.
To uncrystalize honey
1. Heat a pan of water with low heat.
2. Remove the pan from the stove and place your honey jar inside.
3. Let the honey sit until it softens.
4. Once the honey has come to a liquid state, shake the jar.
A word of caution:
You may be tempted to heat the honey faster or simply put it in the microwave, but high temperatures (over 118 degrees) can remove the vitamins and nutrients naturally found in honey. I’m also not a believer in the microwave anymore so I personally would not recommend “nuking” your honey to get it to melt, but that’s just me.
I’ve set the bar pretty high this holiday season. I’ve made a goal to do all of my Christmas shopping within a 30 mile radius of our house.
Sorry Amazon Prime...you hold an incredibly special place in my heart and I will always be grateful that I can shop in my jammies while my kids are sleeping. AND THEN you deliver it to my door.....complete magic!
I treasure every box you deliver and cherish the fact that I don't have to bring 3 kids into the public bathroom again or get everyone bundled in winter gear.
But I know I need to do a better job of supporting local businesses.
Speaking of shopping local....do you ever struggle with what to get your kids' teachers?
I have the perfect gift for you!
These adorable "one-of-a-kind" gifts are only $7 and are all labeled and ready to go! Shoot me an email if you'd like to purchase one. They would also make a great stocking stuffer!
I’d love to hear from you...what’s your favorite place to shop at close to home?
Wishing you all the best this holiday season!