Do you specifically look for raw honey at the store or farmer’s market?
Do you put it in your tea? Do you buy it in bulk and use it in baking?
You may have been using honey in your baking for some time now because you were told that it was a better alternative to refined sugar. You happily began altering all your recipes noting how to prevent the excessive browning that can be typical.
I have some good news and some bad news, and you might want to sit down before you read any further. What I am about to share with you will not be popular with the various state honey boards. It goes against good beekeeper business, but nonetheless, here we are. In a time when bees are becoming scarce and the fruits of their labor are becoming less abundant, we hardly need to prop up inappropriate use of honey. Rather we should be using honey as a healing food in a respectful way that preserves all of its benefits.
The good news? Raw honey is universally seen as safe to use in hot tea or coffee.
The bad news? Honey should NEVER be heated. This does not just apply to how it is treated by the beekeeper before you buy it… if you buy raw honey because you know pasteurized honey is bad for you and then bring it home to bake into a loaf of fresh bread, guess what you’ve just made? Yep, you guessed it…pasteurized honey! I’ll let you think about that for a moment.
We never recommend cooking with our raw honey products and instead suggest creative applications so long as they are not actively heating or boiling.
Here are my top 5 reasons for NEVER heating honey:
- Antioxidant content of raw honey is extremely variable, but the heat required for pasteurization (or baking) can reduce the amount by up to 1/3.
- Around the world most traditional medicine practices agree that heated honey has a negative affect on the human body. In the case of ayurveda, it is believed that honey heated over 60 degrees celsius (140 degrees fahrenheit) creates “ama”. Ama is a condition of mucus that is brought on by inflammation and toxicity.
- Honey that is heated becomes one-dimensional. It loses the subtle nuance of flavor that raw honey contains and becomes overly sweet and cloying.
- While the glycemic index of honey can vary depending on the type of nectar collected, it is in large part a low glycemic index food. There is some evidence to support my belief that cooking or pasteurizing honey increases the glycemic index.
- Why pay high prices for honey that has been preserved in its natural, raw state only to take it home and kill it yourself?
So please, buy your honey from a beekeeper who NEVER applies heat to their honey…. take it home…. and use it RAW!
If you’re looking for a natural sugar to use in your baking, I highly recommend maple syrup. That is what we use in our house when evaporated cane juice is not the best choice. Maple syrup is rich in minerals and can stand high heat without changing its make-up.
What type of sugar do you like to cook with?