Honey is sweet and has antibiotic properties along with trace amounts of antioxidants and vitamins. Honeybees aren’t only useful for making honey, though. They are essential to the planet’s ecosystem; so essential, in fact, that no life would be sustainable without their existence to pollinate flowers. There are many products made from honey; some of which obviously have honey, and others you may not be aware of. Here are facts about 13 products made from honey, with some surprising ones you had no idea about.
1. Table Honey
Table honey is an effective substitute for sugar or molasses, such as in baked beans, coffee, and tea. However, it’s also used as a topping or glaze all on its own, such as on pancakes and baked goods. The most common form of table honey is clover blossom honey.
2. Organic Honey
Raw, organic, and unfiltered honey are even more delicious than regular table honey. It is available in several varieties depending on the flowers the honeybees pollinated, such as clover, orange blossom, blueberry, wildflower, and red mangrove. This type of honey is produced without the use of GMOs, pesticides, and antibiotics. Plus, it has medicinal properties thanks to the live bacteria within it and may include honeycomb. You can buy it at many grocery stores. It is typically consumed as a spoonful by itself as a health supplement or used as a topping.
3. Medical Grade Honey
In modern medicine, medical-grade honey is effective for healing wounds, burns, and infections. The facts about two, in particular, jelly bush and Manuka honey, show that they are bioactive, broad-spectrum antimicrobial agents with hydrogen peroxide-producing enzymes that inhibit the growth of bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and fungi. There are several levels of strength ratings for medical-grade honey. The most popular of the two, Manuka honey is a unique type of raw honey made only in New Zealand by honeybees that pollinate the Manuka bush. It has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties no other honey has and is used topically for wound care and skincare as well as direct ingestion for digestion and health.
Mead is a fermented honey alcoholic drink made from water, a lot of honey, and mead yeast. Called the drink of the gods, it’s been popularized in the literature of the ancient Greeks and Romans, Vikings, and royalty. It is often thought of as honey wine, although true honey wine has up to 20% less honey in the final product than when it started. Sometimes, spices and other flavorings are added to give mead more complexity of flavor.
5. Hot Toddy
A hot toddy is a longtime traditional remedy used to soothe sore throats, alleviate colds and flu, and help recover faster from illness. The standard recipe is a drink that calls for hot water, whiskey, honey, and lemon. Variations with additions such as cinnamon and orange peel or whiskey substitutes also exist.
There are a number of baked goods and fried pastries around the world that specifically call for honey instead of sugar. Not just as a possible glaze but as an ingredient for the dough, honey adds sweetness and moisture and acts as a preservative. Snack bars and non-yeast quick bread are common examples. Some, such as the Moroccan cookie known as chebakia, are drenched in it. Typical challah bread has sugar but there are recipes for honey challah as well. Those recipes that substitute honey for sugar must reduce the amount of water to prevent the dough from being too gooey.
7. Honey Butter
Honey butter is the combination of honey and butter to create a unique spread without the hassle of adding butter and honey separately. It is most often used on pancakes, muffins, biscuits, and cornbread, especially in southern cuisine or soul food. Sometimes, spices, herbs, or fruit are added for extra complexity of flavor, such as vanilla extract or cinnamon. The recipe typically calls for four parts of room-temperature butter with one part honey or one stick of butter with two tablespoons of butter.
8. Spreads and Dips
Honey isn’t only limited to use on its own or to mix with butter. Some other spreads as well as dips call for honey, believe it or not. Honey goat cheese spread, honey vanilla fruit dip, and hot sauce and honey chicken dip are all examples of possibilities that show honey works equally well for savory or sweet foods.
9. Sauces and Salad Dressings
The most popular kind of sauce with honey in it is the beloved honey mustard, but homemade barbecue sauces and glazes often call for honey, too. Spread over pork before baking, the honey sauce or glaze caramelizes the skin. Combined with vinaigrette, it makes a great salad dressing.
When you taste bisques, squash, sweet potato, carrot, parsnip, cauliflower, and fruit soups, or spicy soups flavored with chipotle, ginger, or curry, their flavors are complex. But can you tell they have honey in them? That’s right, honey is used to add balance to the savory, bitter, or spicy notes of certain soups. It can also add thickness to soups served at room or lukewarm temperature.
11. Skincare & Cosmetics
Honey is an excellent ingredient for skincare and cosmetic products because it doesn’t come off or grow mold. It serves as a moisturizing, clarifying, antibacterial, and/or flavoring agent. Lip balm, face masks, and hair conditioner are just a few examples.
Honey lends a sweet, distinct but not overwhelming scent to candles, where it can be used as a main or additional scent. Honeycomb beeswax candles are one example where the trace of honey is the star of the show. Another example is soy candles with honey and other ingredients such as vanilla.
13. Chewing Gum or Candy
Chewing gum typically has a gum base. But did you know you can make chewing gum without it? That’s right, you can make a chewing gum substitute using honey and beeswax by melting beeswax in a double boiler and adding honey and flavorings. Alternately, you can make candy by melting beeswax and adding powdered sugar and honey.
Other Products from Honeybees
- Beeswax is the natural secretion from honey bees that come from their wax glands on the sides of their bodies. You can find it in certain furniture polishing products, skincare pdocuts, candles, and more.
- Bee pollen is a product from the male seeds of flower blossoms which honeybees collect and then mix with their digestive enzymes. It has antiviral, antibacterial and other health properties that make it popular as a tonic for athletes.
- Propolis is made when honeybees chew the buds of trees and conifers and mix them with their saliva. It has antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antifungal properties that make it popular as a health supplement but can also be used as an ointment for wound and cut healing.
- Royal jelly is the queen honeybee’s food. It is made of a mixture of secretions from the worker bees’ salivary glands. Its potent antioxidant properties made it popular as a health supplement as well as an ingredient for skincare products.
- Bee bread is also known as honeycomb pollen. The by-product is made from pollen mixed with honeybees’ digestive fluids and nectar. Bee bread is used as a health supplement against digestive issues, anemia, insomnia, cholesterol, hepatitis, memory issues, and stress.
Honeybees pollinate plants and are important for humans and all other life on planet earth. The facts about honey show that it has many health benefits. Not only do we consume honey in its raw form, but we also have many products made from honey, whether as a main or essential ingredient. All of these products make use of honey’s various properties.
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