When I was a little girl, the one redeeming thing about having a sore throat was getting a spoonful of honey. It was wonderful and I would lick the spoon. it didn’t help the sore throat for long, but who cares. I would just go back for more.
My oldest son has become a honey connoisseur of sorts. While I am busy nit-picking the milk I buy, he scrutinizes the honey aisle. While he was WWOOF’ing in New Zealand, he stayed with a particular family who, among other things, had their own bees. For their toast (on their daily homemade bread) they would spread their honey. It was thick and spreadable, like peanut butter. Not runny, like our honey, like most honey we are familiar with. He loved it and thought he was in honey Nirvana.
Since then he has been searching for the perfect honey, a recreation of this honey experience.
Every store he goes in, he searches for honey. When we go to Whole Foods or Mothers Market we usually split up, he heads for the honey, I head for dairy and flour and hubby looks at their water, then has to see everything else in the store.
While most of our honey’s claim to be raw and pure and natural, etc, this particular kind of honey is different. We have killer bee honey, honey with the honey comb encased in it, whipped honey and the you’ve-got-to-take-out-a-loan-to-buy-it Manuka honey. But it was only recently we found a recreation of the real deal that he had back in the ol’ NZ.
It was creamy without being whipped. It has some pollen, enzymes and who knows, some bees knees still in it. And its pricey. It was $10 at one Mothers Market. It was $9 at the other Mothers. (hmm). Now I have seen one very similar for $7 at Staters Bros. Staters? You wouldn’t think to find something particularly healthy at your run of the mill super market. But there is it. I will buy it next time we run out and see if it can hold up its honey head against the other honeys we have tried.
Not that the Killer Bee honey is a slouch.
We go through honey pretty fast, in our tea, in our yogurt, in oatmeal, in homemade granola, sometimes baked in bread or desserts.
It won’t last long. I keep catching sonny-Jim eating it by the spoonful instead of dessert. Or lunch.
There is a slim chance that, if your honey pours easily and was cheap, it might have been diluted with water. Or corn syrup. A few years back there was “honey-gate” scandal where imported honey was being diluted. But the Honest Honey Initiative helped nip that in the bud. (I am grossly simplifying of course.)
None the less, unless you are also a honey connoisseur willing to try honeys from around the world, its best to buy local honey if you can, perhaps at a farmers market. I have even heard that if you buy local honey from bees buzzing local plants, it helps decrease allergies to said plants pollen. So there!
About Manuka honey. There is a strange thing on the label, where it says its “Bio-active number” such as 5 or 12 or 18 or higher. The costs for the honey jump tremendously the higher the number. So what the heck is the number about? I wondered and asked, but no one seemed to know. So I went to the guru of all knowledge, both true and false , the internet.
And he told me…
Manuka honey, from bees buzzing the Manuka flower in Australia and New Zealand, is tested for its potency for Peroxide activity and other active enzymes. The higher this particular batch has of these enzymes and Peroxide, the higher the number. For some people who use it for reputed medicinal purposes, the higher numbers would mean something. For everyone else, its how hard it hits the pocketbook that matters.
By the way, while we are on the topic, do you know that the only time I have ever been stung by a bee was in my bedroom?! How unfair is that? I was kneeling down on the floor to look inside a trunk I had under the window. This was years ago at the last house we lived in. I know we had bees swarming around the rafters somewhere and we had not taken care of it yet. Apparently there was a hole in the bedroom ceiling where a plant hook used to be. But whatever it was, I leaned on the floor and felt a burning on my knee.
On my knee!
In the safety of my own bedroom!
Sometimes life just isn’t fair, is it? Sometimes life just throws you a bee. I bet it screwed up the bees day too.