What better term of endearment could there by for a loved one than “honey”? Not only is it 50% sweeter than sugar, it also provides many health benefits. According to “The World’s Healthiest Foods” (www.whfoods.org), honey, when used topically on wounds, burns, and ulcers, reduces the occurrence of infection and aids in healing. It also increases antioxidant compounds, lowers LDL and raises HDL cholesterol levels, and causes a lower rise in blood sugar than table sugar.


“Honey is a highly complex substance and contains compounds about which there is still much to be found out,” says Alan Davidson in “The Oxford Companion to Food.” One characteristic that has been known for a lot time is the antibiotic property of honey.  Bees work the nectar they take from flowers in their mouths. One of their salivary enzymes retards the growth of bacteria.


There are hundreds of different types of honey.  The flavor is primarily influenced by the kind of flower the nectar came from.


How should honey be stored? Opinions differ.  Here’s some advice from the Sue Bee website:   “Honey is best kept in a sealed container at room temperature.  Refrigeration preserves honey very well but also promotes granulation, yielding a semi-solid mass. (Note that the university site quoted in the table below recommends refrigeration.)  Freezing, on the other hand, preserves honey well and does not promote granulation but makes dispensing difficult.”    


How long will a jar of honey last?  Some say a sealed container will last indefinitely.  However, honey jars do have “best by” dates on them.  Honey isn’t likely to become unsafe to eat, but the taste can degrade.


If your honey begins to granulate, just place the jar in a pan of boiling hot water for a half hour or longer. For a few reasons, DON’T HEAT IT IN THE MICROWAVE.  The crystals don’t mean the honey is spoiled, but, if  a lot of crystallization occurs, the honey may begin to ferment.


Can honey ever be dangerous? Yes. It should not be given to babies under one year of age because of the possibility of infant botulism.  Also, there is a condition called “honey intoxication” that’s caused by bees using rhododendrons as their main source of nectar.  It has a whole host of unpleasant symptoms that last for about a day.  




Honey Shelf Life
Honey, opened- -6-8 months
Honey, unopened1 year- -
Boyer, Renee, and Julie McKinney. "Food Storage Guidelines for Consumers." Virginia Cooperative Extension (2009): n. pag. Web. 7 Dec 2009.

You must be logged in to post a comment or question.

Sign In or Register for free.