Honey 101 and 9 uses for the magical stuff
There is so much more to honey these days than that plastic bear sitting in your pantry for God knows how many months. I’ll admit – I didn’t care too much for honey when I was a kid. But as I’ve grown, and realized the true nature and benefits of this magical liquid gold, I’ve come to love it immensely. Come along as I share some ways you can use this stuff that Pooh loved so.
Honey 101: The difference between raw and pasteurized honey
Honey is one of those ingredients you really can’t take at face value. There are so many differences between raw and pasteurized honey, but here’s the big difference:
Most mass-produced honey has been pasteurized, giving it a longer shelf life and removing the natural pollen (and some other nasties, like bee parts and mold spores). What you’re left with is a sugary substance that isn’t by technical definition honey anymore. Needless to say, a lot of people are in support of local, raw honey.
Local, raw honey has not undergone the high heating process of pasteurization and is therefore in its natural state. So it does offer the benefit of maintaining more nutritional and healing value than its overly-processed counterpart. Local honey is a great option for external uses.
Here’s where the jury’s out, though: some studies have concurred that consuming raw honey can lead to allergic reactions. This is precisely because of the lack of processing, which removes things like mold spores and bee parts (which can leave behind bee venom, therefore inciting an anaphylactic reaction in those who are allergic).
So when deciding which type to ingest, think about these things – and potentially consult your physician, especially if you have bee allergies (raises hand) – before making your decision.
The biggest benefits of honey, as proven by science
Honey has been shown in studies to be effective against fighting and killing bacteria such as E. coli, salmonella, and even staph and H. pylori.
It’ll soothe your sore throat
Honey has been shown to help us – and our children – suppress nighttime coughs and thus improve sleep while suffering respiratory infections (just be sure to never give honey to any child under the age of 1).
9 Wonderful Uses for Honey
Use it in your cooking
Use it as a sugar substitute – it’s even helpful for diabetics
Honey naturally has a sweeter taste than sugar, and you can use less of it in cooking than your regular white, granulated sweetener. Some studies have shown that it helps keep blood sugar levels steady, making it a better option for diabetics.
Here’s how to substitute your honey for sugar
According to the National Honey Board®, you can substitute honey for sugar. And since honey has so many obvious health benefits over regular granulated sugar, why not give it a try for a refined option to your regular baking and cooking?
Simply substitute up to half the amount of sugar in your recipe with honey – yes, you’re using less honey that sugar in your recipes! You’ll also need to add ½ tsp baking soda for each cup of honey, and reduce liquids in your recipe by ¼ cup for each cup of honey. If you’re baking with it, you’ll also need to reduce your oven temperature by 25 degrees so as not to over-cook it.
Drizzle it au naturale
Delicately drizzled over a refined cheese, honey is the perfect sweet topping for your savory snack. Honey doesn’t need any help here – it’s the main accessory.
Make a dressing
Here’s a personal favorite from my own kitchen. Mix to taste: olive oil, honey, Dijon mustard, and white wine vinegar to make a light and flavorful salad dressing.
Use it in your beauty routine
Slather it on your face – as a face mask!
Admittedly, I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager and read my first book about making natural beauty products at home. Today, honey is found in beauty products all over the world. And there’s good reason why: honey is moisturizing and hydrating.
In this case, honey makes a wonderfully natural option for a face mask. Simply apply it to your skin, avoiding the direct eye area, and leave on for 20 minutes – then rinse with water.
Shop our honey beauty product recommendations below
Use it in your hair
Honey is so great for your hair that one company has dedicated their entire line to products based on bee products.
Use it to treat your acne
Manuka honey is a go-to for its antibacterial and healing properties.
Use it to heal yourself
Literally, you can use it to treat your minor injuries
Honey has natural antiseptic and anti-bacterial properties – particularly Manuka Honey – and can help prevent infections, reduce scarring and improve healing time. Massage it gently onto a minor wound and leave for a couple of minutes before rinsing off with water.
Get a better night’s sleep
Sleep is every parent’s savior. It’s our retreat from the day, and – scientifically speaking – it’s when our body’s cells heal and do their good work. It’s crucial that we get good sleep.
But realistically, based on lifestyle or health conditions, we don’t always get the needed amount of sleep – and often times we are waking up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep.
According to Women’s Health Magazine, consuming a tablespoon of honey 15 minutes before you drift off to bed will provide a steady spike of insulin, and therefore serotonin and melatonin, which you need to fall asleep. You can also have a spoonful if you wake up in the middle of the night.
Heal a minor burn
According to the National Institutes of Health, for minor burns you may apply honey immediately after pouring tap water over the burn (which reduces skin temperature). It can be applied either directly onto the burn, or you may soak it in gauze before applying.
As you can see, honey has a myriad of uses. Try a few of these out – along with some of our recommended products – for a more natural approach to your daily routine!