Get Your Honey’s Worth: 4 Topical Uses for Honey

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Pass the honey, honey! This sticky sweet stuff has been on the table since as early as 2400 BC. Surprisingly, aside from tasting super dang good, it has incredible applications for your health. Read on for some honey-do’s that will leave you buzzing.

Comb Confusion: Raw vs. Processed Honey

Raw Beekeepers Honey Comb Bee Hive WaxOne thing we need to clear up before diving into the hive is the difference between raw and processed honey. Raw honey comes straight from the hive to your kitchen. Its chemical makeup hasn’t been tampered with, unlike most of the honeys you’ll find in the grocery store (you’re probably familiar with the little plastic bear with a yellow lid). Most of these have been processed through intense heat and straining. This process leaves the honey a beautiful clear, amber color: however, it also changes the honey’s makeup by removing any of the wax, bacteria, and bee juju’s that are left behind. This might sound like a good thing, but it actually removes many of the proteins, nutrients, antioxidants, and minerals that would be beneficial to your body as well. Honey needs to be handled at a more moderate temperature to maintain its nutritional benefits. So become friends with your local bee people. They can get you the raw honey hookups!

Important: Never give honey to children younger than age one. This is because adults have more developed immune systems than babies, who can’t process botulinum spores that might be found in honey. In addition, consult a medical professional before using honey as a medical substitute.

1. Bless You! Honey For Allergies

Honey For Allergies with Brown Haired Woman Sneezing

Though honey can’t do much for your jungle or disco fever, your hay fever and seasonal allergies can actually benefit from eating local, raw honey. Since bees are pollinating local flowers to produce their honey, you will probably ingest particles of the specific pollen from your geographical environment. Just like your immune system becomes stronger by fighting bacteria and viruses it is exposed to over time, a little bit of exposure to pollen and allergens through honey can eventually desensitize you to them. If your honey is processed, some of these benefits disappear with the heat.

2. Burn, Baby Burn, Honey Inferno

For thousands of years people have used honey to treat burns. One study done by the Mayo Clinic found that honey treated burns faster and more effectively than silver sulfadiazene cream, the antibiotic ointment commonly used to treat 2nd and 3rd degree burns. They found that honey led to enhanced healing, less scarring, and worked faster than the silver cream to sterilize wounds. With honey’s amazing antiseptic and antibacterial properties, it’s no wonder bees live off this golden ambrosia.

3. Dia-bee-tes

Since raw honey tastes sweeter than white sugar and is absorbed much slower into your blood, it is the obvious alternative. This is especially true if you have an insulin disorder, like diabetes. The Glycemic Index runs from 0 to 100 and measures how quickly sugars are absorbed into your bloodstream: zero means it is absorbed at an extremely slow rate, and 100 would be absorbed almost immediately. Before being processed, raw honey falls at around 30-40 on the glycemic index. This is actually pretty awesome for a sweetener. It is important to note that processed honey falls at about 80-90 on the scale. That is the same as white sugar! This means that processing honey through heat and straining changes the way your body digests its compounds. Whether you have an insulin disorder or not, raw honey is a great option to help stabilize blood sugar levels.

Glycemic Index Blood Sugar Absorption

4. HSV, It’s As Easy As Honey

There’s nothing better than getting a cold sore right in time for your brother’s wedding. Smile! Luckily, honey can help with this too. Ninety percent of the population have the herpes-1 virus and forty percent get repeated cold sores throughout their lives. A study in Dubai actually found that honey works just as well as drugstore topical ointments to treat cold sores, and is even better at cutting down itchiness. That’s something to celebrate!

Long Live the Queen

Whether you enjoy nature’s candy in your food or drink, or you use it to treat your owies, this precious goo deserves to be appreciated. Find even more surprising uses for honey here.

Why Does Honey Crystallize?

Honey comb

It may seem intuitive to assume that crystallized honey is spoiled or poor quality, but this isn’t the case at all. Crystallization happens naturally over time to pure, raw honey and actually helps preserve the nutrients and quality. Additionally, you may find that crystallized honey is easier to spread and richer in flavor.

The Chemistry of Honey Crystals

The “why” behind the crystallization of honey is simple chemistry. Usually, honey contains at least 70% carbohydrates and less than 20% water. This is more sugar than can naturally remain dissolved and over time, crystals begin to form. Some honey crystals are fine and smooth while others are large and gritty. This is largely due to the proportion of the two main types of sugars found in honey, fructose and glucose. While fructose tends to remain dissolved, glucose has a much lower solubility. The higher proportion of glucose honey contains, the more quickly it will crystalize. More rapidly crystallized honey contains finer, smoother crystals. In fact, creamed honey is honey that has been crystallized so rapidly, that the minuscule crystals create a smooth, creamy texture.

Can you de-crystallize honey?

liquid honey

Yes! Honey can easily be de-crystallized in small batches through simple heating. Remember, however, that in order to preserve the natural nutrients found in honey, overly hot temperatures should be avoided.

 

You can easily de-crystallize honey on a stovetop using the following steps:

 

  1. Make sure your honey is in a glass jar or jars (not plastic). Fill a pot with water that comes to ½ to ⅔ up the sides of the jars.
  2. Place honey jars (sans lids) in pot and bring water to a hot but not boiling temperature.
  3. Gently stir honey every few minutes to help break up crystals. Be careful not to splash any hot water into honey jars.
  4. Remove jars from heat when honey is once again smooth and runny.
  5. Tightly seal jars and store in a cool, dry place.

 

How to Keep Honey From Crystallizing

de-crystalizing honey

Remember, crystallized honey happens naturally over time. Some steps, however, can be taken to minimize or delay crystallization.

  • Maintain steady heat (104°-140°F) during honey bottling.
  • Provide a quick, mild heat treatment (140°-160°F) to dissolve any crystals and expel air bubbles that could initiate crystallization.
  • Store honey in proper containers. Air-tight, water safe stainless steel drums are recommended.
  • Store honey in a cool (50°-70°F), dry location. Storage temperatures above 70°F will compromise the quality and nutrients of the honey over time. Refrigerated storage will quickly crystallize honey and should be avoided.

 

Honey Heating Blankets

Powerblanket Bee Blanket

An effective solution to minimizing crystallization during the honey manufacturing process is utilizing a heating blanket.  The Powerblanket Bee Blanket is ideal because it keeps honey at hive temperatures and prevents loss of nutrients or burning from overheating. If you’re in the business of honey, consider adding a Bee Blanket or other method of temperature control to your manufacturing process. While crystallization can’t necessarily be avoided, a Bee Blanket can help keep your honey at the ideal, smooth viscosity.

The Evolution of Beekeeping

Ancient Beekeeping

The first evidence of honey collection comes from Spain, at least 15,000 years ago. These honey collectors were not beekeepers, but would collect honey from wild hives. It wasn’t until 10,000 years later, in ancient Egypt, that organized beekeeping was first recorded. It is speculated that beekeepers transported their hives up and down the Nile to follow warm weather and blooming flowers. In ancient Egypt, honey was a luxury that was often included with treasures at burial sites. Unearthed graves have revealed this ancient honey, perfectly preserved.

The popularity of beekeeping spread from Egypt to Greece and Rome. The Roman poet, Virgil, even wrote guides to beekeeping. While the joys of honey were widely enjoyed by humans, ancient beekeeping was deadly to bees involved. Before honey could be harvested, entire colonies were killed. This was because the only way to access the golden nectar was to break the hive open; rather than face a swarm of angry bees, beekeepers would suffocate colonies by holding a piece of burning sulfur to the small opening to the hive.

Hive Developments

In 1770, the book “A Treatise on the Management of Bees”, was written by Englishman Thomas Wildman.  In his book, Wildman provided plans for a beehive that prevented the killing of bees. This hive style is fairly similar to what is popular today. It included a skep with an open top and a woven, removable lid. Wildman also developed hanging frames that provided structure for the bees to deposit honey rather than building a freeform structure. The design further prevented harm to bees by incorporating stacked skeps. This development provided a new space for bees to migrate to after filling one skep. This allowed beekeepers to harvest honey from a filled skep without overly disturbing bees.

In 1851, Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth, “the Father of American Beekeeping”, improved upon Thomas Wildman’s design. Langstroth made the crucially innovative discovery that providing only one centimeter of “bee space” between the hanging frames would prevent bees from building small bridges of comb and propolis between the structures. This adjustment in space allowed beekeepers to remove frames without ripping any bee-made forms, which kept bees happier and helped beekeepers better monitor their hives for progress and disease. Additional adjustments Langstroth made to hives included replacing woven skeps with wooden boxes.

In 1863, the Frenchman Charles Dadant discovered that using larger boxes could significantly increase honey production. He noticed that after mating, queen bees were reluctant to move up stacked skeps to lay eggs; they preferred to lay eggs in a single box. By providing a larger box, queen bees would lay more eggs, which meant more workers bees. Dadant’s hive design featured a deeper box that gave the queen plenty of room to lay maximum eggs.

Using Bees for Pollination

It wasn’t until 1750 that the role of bees as pollinators was first recorded. At the turn of the 20th century, American beekeepers began using hives as pollinators, rather than solely as honey producers. In 1930s Denmark, the practice of renting out hives to farmers for aid in pollination began. This practice is widely used today, most notably in California, where 50% of US bees are transported each year ensure almond trees are adequately pollinated.

Beekeeping Today

Beekeeping today most popularly involves Dadant-style hives. However, developments and innovations are providing exciting new options. For example, the Flow Hive, developed by Stuart and Cedar Anderson, allows beekeepers to quickly and efficiently harvest honey from a tap attached to the hive without disturbing bees and without the risk of getting stung. Another example of new technology that simplifies beekeeping is the Powerblanket Beeblanket. After it has been harvested, the Beeblanket keeps honey at hive temperatures so that it won’t lose nutrients or burn. The Beeblanket works on both poly and steel buckets/pails and keeps honey at the proper viscosity without creating crystallization due to overheating. If you are looking for options to simplify or innovate your beekeeping, consider adding these products to beekeeping routine.

Lower Viscosity and Flow Control in Colder Temperatures

LOWER VISCOSITY AND FLOW CONTROLLower Viscosity

Viscosity is a complicated and sometimes confusing topic and achieving lower viscosity is a challenge during cold winter months.

VISCOSITY REDUCTION BASICS

A fluid that is viscous will be thick, sticky, and semifluid in consistency.  Viscosity can be affected by friction and/or temperature.  For example, consider what happens when you need some ketchup on your burger.  If you simply invert the bottle and expect the ketchup to flow freely, you are a rookie in the sport of burger-eating.  A pro knows to shake the bottle and then to proceed with caution, because once you have decreased viscosity, due to the shaking, the ketchup can flow quite rapidly.

Now think about honey, certainly a substance that is thick, sticky and semifluid.  Simply shaking a jar of honey will not guarantee any flow.  Honey cooled in a refrigerator will have little to no flow because it has been cooled, but when warmed appropriately*, there is a viscosity reduction and honey will flow smoothly.

LOWER VISCOSITY AND TEMPERATURE

A fluid’s viscosity strongly depends on its temperature. Along with the shear rate, temperature really is the dominating influence. The higher the temperature is, the lower a substance’s viscosity is. The relationship between temperature and viscosity is inversely proportional for all liquids. A change in temperature always affects the viscosity – it depends on the substance just how much it is influenced by a temperature change. For some fluids a decrease of 1°C (1.8F) already causes a 10 % increase in viscosity.

FLUIDS REQUIRING LOWER VISCOSITY

Acetone

Automatic Transmission Fluid, Antifreeze, and Brake Fluid

Aviation Fuels

Benzene

Bunker Oil-Marine Fuel Oil

Chloroform

Crude Oil

Diesel Fuel

Ethanol

Gear Oil

Heavy Fuel Oil

Honey

Hydrofluoric Acid

Ink

Mercury

Methanol

Mollasses

Citric Acid

Paraffin Wax

Pentane

Sulfuric Acid

Tetrahydrofuran

Toluene

 

Powerblanket® Viscosity Control Solutions

Powerblanket makes it easy to lower viscosity of fluids. Powerblanket offers various ready-to-ship products, from bucket and drum heaters to ibc tote heaters. We can also produce custom solutions for most applications. If you need help with viscosity reduction, Powerblanket has you covered.

  •   Deliver safe, uniform heat to expensive materials without overheating or burning while lowering viscosity.
  •   Full wrap-around design provides complete insulation and ensures equal heat distribution.
  •   Increase the performance and efficiency of your processes—decrease viscosity.
  •   Safety certified to UL and CSA Standards. Class1 Div2 hazardous location products also available.
  •   Energy-efficient technology lowers energy-related expenses and overall project and equipment costs.
  •   Decrease and prevent product waste among temperature sensitive materials by maintaining consistent storage temperatures without significant fluctuations.

 

LOWER VISCOSITY

 

*Do not heat honey much above 100 degrees F (38 C) to avoid nutritional loss.

Source

“Vsicosity Tables and Viscosity Charts.” Viscopedia. 30 December 2016. http://www.viscopedia.com/viscosity-tables/

 

Honey Heating Solutions

Honey is the only food that includes all the substances necessary to sustain life, including enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and water; and it’s the only food that contains “pinocembrin”, an antioxidant associated with improved brain functioning.  To preserve the nutrients in honey, and avoid burning or damaging, heat honey slowly over a longer period of time using a drum heater with even heat distribution.

 shutterstock_263002952

Honey: Spread the Love

There’s a reason that we use “honey” as a term of endearment.  As a naturally occurring substance, it is one of the most precious.  It can substitute as a sweetener in many foods and contains about 69% glucose and fructose, making it a sweetener that is better for overall health.  It is a source of vitamins and minerals.  This pure and natural substance is easier for the body to digest and has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties which make it a natural antiseptic and a great way to help wounds and burns to heal.  Adding a little “honey” to your day can “sweeten” many aspects of life.

 

To maintain these amazing benefits, raw honey should not be heated much above 100°F.  All of the nutrients, enzymes, antioxidants, and flavonoid content in honey are temperature sensitive and heating beyond the recommended limit will destroy the value and create a glue-like substance that is no longer easy to digest.  The Powerblanket Bee Blanket will ease all of the stress and concerns in honey temperature control.

 

The Bee Blanket

The Powerblanket Bee Blanket heating solution will maintain the same temperature as a hive. With low-level internal thermostats, you can apply the Bee Blanket and leave it be. There’s no need to worry about overheating your honey, because the Bee Blanket will never get too hot.

 

It is an easy-to-install heating solution for honey producers and bottlers. With this insulated vinyl heat blanket, you can heat your honey to the ideal temperature and maintain the viscosity required for bottling and managing honey stores.

Stand Out Features of the Bee Blanket:

  • Cinch straps to secure tight fit
  • Blanket temperature goes from ambient to 90°-110°F
  • One heat zone
  • Highly efficient design saves time and energy
  • Water-resistant
  • Works on both poly and steel buckets/pails
  • Prevent overheating your honey and help minimize crystallization
  • Keeps your honey at hive temperatures so you don’t lose nutrients
  • All models are certified by ETL to UL & CSA safety standards

 

Baking with Honey

BOB’S BREAD

Recipe by Bobby Porter, Beekeeper, Redmond, UT

This bread recipe is very easy, and creates a bread with a softer crust.

 

PART 1

Whisk the following ingredients:

2 ½ C very warm water

1 T yeast

2-4 T raw honey

1-2 T olive oil

–Set aside to allow yeast to grow a bit.

 

PART 2

Combine:

6 C flour

2 ½ tsp salt

 

Mix Part 1 and Part 2.  The mix should be sticky.  Let it double in size.  Cut into 2 sections.  Knead each section then place in 2 greased bread pans. Let each loaf rise again until each is 1 inch above the pan.

 

Bake at 375 for 32 minutes or until the top is golden.  Oil/butter the crust when removed from oven.

 

Learn More about Beekeeping and Honey:

Beekeeping for beginners

Heating Honey Properly

When it comes to heating the honey you’ve work so long to collect, you can’t afford to run the risk of overheating it and destroying all the nutrients that make it so nutritious. That’s why honey bottlers need a solution for heating honey properly, without killing enzymes and antioxidants. And the Powerblanket® Bee Blanket offers that very solution.

 

55_gallon_Bee_Blanket_largeHoney: A Super Food

The Powerblanket Bee Blanket was design specifically for heating honey properly. When you employ other heating solutions to heat honey, you run the risk of overheating, and overheating is no small problem. Honey that’s been overheated will crystalize faster and become much harder to work with. But ease of use is not the only concern. In fact, the biggest concern with heating your honey past its ideal temperature is the negative effects it has on the nutritional value of the honey.

If you’re in the business of honey, then you know how nutrient dense it is. This is part of the reason honey is so sought after. Honey is full of enzymes that are essential to our health. Not only that, but honey is also full of antioxidants and flavonoids. However, enzymes, antioxidants, and flavonoid content in honey are all dependent on temperature. In other words, these nutrients are temperature sensitive. If you heat your honey too hot, you’ll lose the nutrient density. Heating honey properly means you can’t go much past 100° F. Doing so causes honey to become an extremely tacky glue-like substance that is difficult to digest. So the moral of the story is this: to maintain the amazing qualities of honey, you have to keep it at the ideal temperature. Let us show you how.

 

The Bee Blanket

The Powerblanket Bee Blanket is an easy-to-install heating solution for honey producers and bottlers. With this insulated vinyl heat blanket, you can heat your honey to the ideal temperature without worrying about overheating.

If you’re in the honey industry, then you know that maintaining the proper viscosity is important for bottling and working with your honey. But, as already mentioned, heating honey through traditional methods will cause you to lose valuable nutrients. Now, here’s where the Bee Blanket comes in.

The difference with the Powerblanket Bee Blanket heating solution is that it maintains the same temperature as a hive. With low-level internal thermostats, you can apply the Bee Blanket and leave it be. There’s no need to worry about overheating your honey, because the Bee Blanket will never get too hot.

 

Stand Out Features of the Bee Blanket:

  • Cinch straps to secure tight fit
  • Blanket temperature goes from ambient to 90°-110°F
  • One heat zone
  • Highly efficient design saves time and energy
  • Water-resistant
  • Works on both poly and steel buckets/pails
  • Prevent overheating your honey and help minimize crystallization
  • Keeps your honey at hive temperatures so you don’t lose nutrients
  • All models are certified by ETL to UL & CSA safety standards

 

Learn More