National Honey Month is a celebratory and promotional event held annually during the month of September. Its purpose is to promote US beekeeping, the beekeeping industry and honey as a natural and beneficial sweetener.
Honey has been used for centuries because of its medicinal/healing properties along with its food value. It may be one of the first known alcoholic beverages in the form of Mead. With its varied possible uses, it should still be considered as a staple in your kitchen.
The honey we buy at the market is often heat treated (pasteurized) to eliminate the risk of illness due to clostridium botulinum. Regular honey often looks clear and syrupy. Raw honey has not been treated with heat; it is often more buttery, solid and opaque than pasteurized honey and often contains “cappings,” or small pieces of beeswax. It is completely left in its natural state and therefore contains pollen, enzymes, antioxidants and many other beneficial compounds that researchers are just beginning to learn about. Be sure not to give any honey, either raw or treated, to a child under the age of 12 months. For those of of over 12 months, honey is a great choice for sweetening our life, and here is why:
- Energy: Honey contains about 64 calories per teaspoon. Honey gets its sweetness from the monosaccharaides- fructose and glucose and has approximately the same relative sweetness of granulated sugar. Because it is a monosaccharaide it can be used by individuals on monosaccharaide restricted diets.
- Allergy protection: Some research supports the theory that local honey, obtained as close as possible to where you live, may help build immunity to some seasonal allergies. Significant research to support this idea has not been done, yet many people claim that using honey in this way provides allergy relief.
- Antioxidant and phytonutrients: Honey is also rich in powerful antioxidants and cancer-fighting phytonutrients, which can be found in the propolis, or “honey glue” that the bees use to sterilize the beehive. Raw honey contains some of these compounds while pasteurized honey does not.
- Vitamins and Minerals: the nutrients content of raw honey varies, but a 1-ounce serving contains very small amounts of folate as well as vitamins B2,B3, B5, B6 and Vitamin C. Minerals include: calcium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, sodium, and zinc.
Support your local beekeepers by purchasing locally collected honey and planting your gardens with bee friendly flowers.