This is a serious question. I really want to know what you do with your honey. In the 26,000 comments currently showing on this site, very few mention where all the honey goes. Some beekeepers mention the amount they harvested, maybe 30 pounds, or 80, or 650. But what comes next?
I used to think everyone sold their honey, but I’m not so sure anymore. In fact, I think a lot of hobby beekeepers—maybe most?—don’t sell any of it. But do they eat it? Give it away? Display it on a shelf like an ornament?
Cooking with honey
I began thinking about this yesterday when I Googled “cooking with honey.” I found a lot of places, especially the big cooking websites, with tons of recipes that use honey. Listed beneath those where many sites warning about the dangers of cooking with honey. Most of the latter outlined how heat destroys the healthful properties of honey, but others warned against the production of hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF).
The one that made me laugh was written by a beekeeper who pointed out that people come to him wanting to buy only raw, unpasteurized honey. They will pay a premium for a promise the honey was never heated. Then they take it home, mix it into a cake, and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes!
Personally, I’m ambivalent about cooking with honey. I seldom do it, so for that reason alone, I don’t worry about the loss of nutrients or the gain of a toxin. Sometimes I use a teaspoon of honey to proof the yeast for a loaf of bread. But like the saying reminds us, “the dose makes the poison.” The amount of HMF in that loaf of bread is minimal.
Where does it all go?
So, beekeepers, tell me what you do with it. Do you eat it plain? Bake? Drop it in tea? Do you eat it often or only occasionally?
I can start the conversation by saying we eat honey about five times a week at breakfast. It’s nearly always on a toasted English muffin with butter, and it’s always in the comb. Sometimes, I add honey to a salad at dinner—a few cubes of comb tossed together with blue cheese crumbles.
The rest usually goes as gifts to friends and family. I often give away entire frames, or sometimes little chunks of comb, depending on the situation. Some of it goes to honey tastings, pot lucks, or other social occasions. I used to sell some in bulk to businesses, but I don’t any more.
Reaching a limit
It seems to me there’s a limit to how much honey you actually want to eat. I have to admit, though, that I like looking at it. The comment I made about “ornaments” could have been directed at me. I have some gorgeous boxes of comb honey on display above the kitchen cabinets that are well over ten years old. But I like the way they look—so technically perfect.
So now it’s your turn. Leave a comment below and tell us what you do with your crop. Maybe we can inspire each other with new and creative ideas. And due to popular demand, please include your location in the name field, something like “Lisa in Sydney” will work.
Can’t wait to hear from you.
Honey Bee Suite