17 things you probably didn’t know about honey, but definitely should!

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One of my favorite uses for honey is as a face cleanser. It leaves my skin feeling baby-soft, and my only complaint is that it almost always gets in my hair, no matter what. We always have at least 1 or 2 large containers of honey in the house, not only for beauty routines but mostly for cooking and eating.

As I’ve researched all the facts about honey that I wanted to know, one thing stood out: it’s important to know that not all honey is created equal. Or, more accurately, not all honey on the grocery store shelves is equal. Some international honey has been treated and no longer has the health benefits discussed here.

facts about honey

If you can possibly buy from a local farmer, farmer’s market, or a reputable local company, it really is the healthiest choice.

Not all honey is created equal. Or, more accurately, not all honey on the grocery store shelves is equal. Click To Tweet

Things to know about honey and baking

1. Never refrigerate honey.

2. Slightly warmed honey is easier to measure out and mix. For ultimate convenience, though, honey powder is a great option for baking and everyday use.

3. One 12-ounce honey bear is equal to one cup.

4. It never spoils, making it a real food storage winner. If it crystallizes or becomes granular, place the open container in a bowl of hot water until it liquifies again.

5. To replace sugar with honey in a recipe, substitute 2/3 to 3/4 cup of honey per cup of sugar, and decrease the amount of liquids by 1/4 cup per cup of honey used.  Stir the mixture very thoroughly. Lower the baking temperature by 25 degrees. Watch the baking time carefully since foods brown more quickly when honey is used.

Health benefits of honey

6. Honey contains antioxidants, which help protect against cellular damage.

7. Use honey on wounds, including burns, to help them heal faster. Honey is a natural antibiotic.

8. Raw, Manuka honey is the preferred variety for first aid treatment.

9. It can be used as a treatment for chapped lips!

10. A good rehydration beverage combines 1/2 c. honey, 1/2 t. salt, 2 c. orange juice, and 5 1/2 c. water. Use lukewarm water to help the honey dissolve faster, then cool.

11. Adding a little local honey (produced within 50 miles) to your kid’s diets may help prevent some allergies. The bees have been collecting pollen from plants in your specific area, the same pollen that is the culprit behind many allergies. Tiny doses of this pollen have the same effect as allergy shots, helping the body build immunity against pollen. Honey enriched with pollen is also a good option for getting pollen in you or your kid’s diet. It’s delicious smeared on toast! (Note: filtered honey has had the pollen removed, so do not expect the same benefits from filtered honey.)

Odd facts about honey

12. Bees have been known to produce blue and green honey.

13. It can be purchased in a crystal form. When rehydrated, it can be used as liquid honey.

14. Honey should be stored in closed containers because it absorbs moisture from the air, which can cause it to ferment.

15. An African bird called the Honeyguide locates and feeds on wild honey. The Honeyguide becomes very chatty when it finds a beehive, making it possible for people to retrieve honey themselves.

16. Ancient Egyptians used honey as a form of money and fed it to their sacred animals.

17. Honeybees are the only insect that actually produces food for humans! Just one reason to learn about beekeeping and becoming a beekeeper, or just make your backyard or garden bee-friendly. Payback the favor! Viva la honey!!!

facts about honey

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I'm the original Survival Mom, and have been helping moms worry less and enjoy their homes and families more for 9 years.

46 thoughts on “17 things you probably didn’t know about honey, but definitely should!”

  1. Worth mentioning that honey bought at the bib-box or grocery store is often not the same as that from a farmer’s market or local beekeeper.

    While they may say the only ingredient is “honey” they usually filter, blend, and pasteurize it, thus killing many of the benefits of the honey itself.

  2. I agree honey is great stuff!!!

    The honey crystals sound great, but the first ingredient is sugar, so no telling how much honey it even contains!

    1. We are small-time beekeepers. If honey is properly sealed, and therefore protected from contaminants, it has an indefinite shelf-life. With it’s antibiotic powers and long storage potential, honey truly is a super food and a great item for the stockpile!

    1. Babies should not be fed honey nor spaghetti until the age of at least 15 months. My paediatrician told me this 38 years ago.

      1. Spaghetti? Now that’s one I’ve never heard of. Why, I wonder? I was told by my pediatrician that corn syrup could also contain botulism spores and to avoid it until 12 months old, along with the honey. Just to note, there are botulism spores in honey, in soil and perhaps elsewhere, but the digestive acids of a healthy adult keep them from being a problem.

  3. I was so glad to read about how to substitute honey for sugar in a recipe!!! I was just reading an outstanding article yesterday on the benefits of honey and kept saying to myself, “How do you substitute honey for sugar in recipes?” And, vo-la…here was your article. Thank you!!! I plan to implement more honey into our family diet. I have also noticed that I don’t get “sugar headaches” when I eat foods with honey verses sugar. I don’t know why, but my body responds better to honey. I also want to say that storing honey is as easy as this article states. We have stored honey in our food storage for years and it is as good the last day as it is the first.
    Great Post!
    The doterramother

  4. I am a beekeeper also and certain types of honey granulate (crystalize) more rapidly than others. There is a difference between crystalized honey and creamed honey both of which if done correctly or naturally does not contain sugar. Our main source of honey where I live is from the blackberries that grow wild everywhere and this honey always crystalizes after a year or so. My father loved the honeyafter it crystalized and our granddaughter has learned how to open the 5 gallon bucket we store the excess honey in so she can get a “finger full” that always ends up with lots of finger imprints! The people in Europe do not feel the need to protect infants from honey like we do in this country but I do not know what the incidence of botulism for infants in those countries are.
    Please only buy local honey from beekeepers as there have been instances of honey from other countries such as China getting into blended honey that contained significant amounts of pestacides as well as other unwanted ingredients. Also some honey on store shelves contain sugar water or corn syrup.

    1. My father was a beekeeper for more than 30 years and I was given honey as an infant as were my 8 other siblings and we are all still alive and well with the oldest being 72 and the youngest 47. My dad was a long standing member of Sioux Bee Honey Association and always received bonus’s for his quality of honey. So that said , I feel it’s is not always true that you should not give infants honey, just know your producer and make your own judgement !

  5. I love it, but prices are pretty steep lately.

    I like the quote at the end of the article about the blue and green honey, “As for the blue honey, the beekeepers say it is unsellable.”

    Ya think?

  6. Nearly all honey purchased in stores is a mixture of American honey and that collected from over-seas…such as Argentia…and then mixed. As several have said…buy local.

  7. I’m no big fan of honey. I’ll add three additional facts to make some trouble:

    18. Honey is largely unprocessed bee regurgitation (vomit).
    19. Infants under 12 months should not eat honey because it may cause infant botulism.
    20. Honey has just about the same content as HFCS 55 the high fructose corn syrup used in soft drinks –
    HFCS 55 (water 24% with sugars: Fructose 55% and Glucose 42%)
    Honey (water 17.2% with sugars: Fructose 46.1%, Glucose 37.8%, Maltose 8.6%, Sucrose 1.6%, others)

    Who knew someone could “hate” honey huh? Well, I’ll admit I do eat it too. I just don’t really like sweet things and I despise having sticky stuff on my hands. Also, I’m a cranky old scientist who doesn’t like that some foods (eg. honey) get a reputation as somehow morally “good” while others (HFCS) get a reputation for being an “evil” food. I especially don’t like it when they are just about the same.

    Now to suffer the slings and arrows…

  8. Your logic is a bit flawed. I think there are undeniable facts about the benefits of honey as it compares to HFCS. I think like most things high in sugar, you want to use them in moderation. However, I’d much rather take my chances with something like natural honey vs HFCS. I have read many articles refering to how honey is digested vs HFSC. Honey is a better choice,as in many cases the glycemic response is much lower with honey.

    Breaking them down by their chemical makeup doesn’t come close to telling the whole story. This is almost as flawed as the “a calorie is a calorie” argument. You’re comparing apples to oranges. Honey is clearly more complex than HFCS.

    1. well they found 3000 year old honey in one of the tombs of the Pharaohs,it was still edible.When ANYTHING else can last that long and retain it’s edibility,I will be impressed.I do wonder who decided to taste it though,hmmmmm

  9. A small dab of honey on a cotton swab lightly applied to the inside of the lower lid a couple of times a day for a few days cures pink eye. It will give a slight burning sensation and tearing up but it clears it up.

  10. Julia Snoke-Morales

    Re the blue & green honey: I think they just need to market it better! Not sure how dark in color they are, but it seems like they could explain/advertise that the honeybees made honey from blue flowers or some such. Does it have a strong or unusual flavor?

  11. I too have big plans to become a beekeeper. I have been reading all I can, I have a huge Pinterest board of bee facts and resources that has been good for hours of learning . I recently bought the hard cover book the Beekeepers Bible , I can’t say enough about what a beautiful book it is. I don’t buy books very often anymore but this one is definitely worth the price. I can’t wait to hear how your new endeavor pans out, I am sure there will be a huge leaning curve and some stings along the way but what a thrill and sense of accomplishment it will be when you harvest that first batch of honey.

    1. Laura,
      As a beek for over 30 years, I can tell you that the best way to get into beekeeping is to join or even just visit your local beekeepers association (google it to find one in your area) and you will find that most beekeepers are very friendly and helpful to newcomers. It is also a great way to find out and accumulate all of the beekeeping tools and items, and to find bees and/or hives for sale, that will get you off to a great start. Once you get your bees, you will have to register them with the county extension agency, no matter where you live, and they will inspect your bees every year for disease. The bee inspector can bee (pun intended) your best friend, giving great advise, etc. Believe me, I know, that is how I got started a long time ago. My bee inspector was always available to assist me with questions and even came over on his own time to educate me on how to re-queen my hives and helped me to hive my first swarm. The swarm was my own bees of course, lol, since I was new to the craft and didn’t manage my bees very well the first year. If you do take the plunge, into beekeeping, just remember to start small…two hives at the most, until you get the hang of it. Hope this helps, and happy beeking.
      Cindy

  12. Don’t forget the beauty benefits. I currently have honey on my face – I do not use soap. Honey cleans and moisturizes. I also use it to clean my hair instead of shampoo. Mix with a little water and put on a fine mist spray bottle. Let sit on hair for a few minutes and just rinse w water. My skin and hair feel great! !

      1. I use pure honey, as is, to wash my face. First, make sure every strand of hair is pulled back, oherwise you’ll end up with sticky hair for the rest of the day! Rub a couple of teaspoons of honey all over your face, massage it in a little, and then rinse off. You can also dampen your face first before doing this. I’ve started washing my face with honey in the shower so I don’t have to worry about sticky hair. Personally, I’ve never used it to shampoo/clean my hair, just my face.

  13. “Honeybees are the only animal that actually produce food for humans!” WTF? Have these people ever heard of dairy products?

  14. Look into ancient texts regarding honey. It has been used as medicine for as long as records have been kept. Most of them will tell you to never heat honey, and especially don’t cook with it. Heating destroys the beneficial enzymes, indeed making it closer to HFCS. When ingested after heating it thickens your blood, making your heart work harder etc. Raw unpasteurized is the only way to go or you might as well just use sugar!

  15. Pingback: 17 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Honey - SHTF & Prepping Central

  16. 4. It never spoils, making it a real food storage winner. If it crystallizes or becomes granular, place the open container in a bowl of hot water until it liquifies again.

    This is not quite precise and may be wrong. Hot may be anything from 50 to 90 Celsius, and this will depreciate honey. I’d say warm water. I do not remember precisely, under 45 or maybe 50 is safe temperature. But a better measurement is by feeling the temperature. If is too hot for you to drink or dip your finger in it, is too hot for honey too.

  17. The honey bees produce food for their offspring. It is not their natural calling to aid us humans by producing honey for us. The worker bees work themselves half to death to provide enough food for the hive. Love the article. Especially in the USA people need to back their beekeepers 100%. Promoting honey consumption is the right and eco-thankful thing to do.

    1. “The honey bees produce food for their offspring. It is not their natural calling to aid us humans by producing honey for us.” Thank you for stating this! Funny humans, we think everything is solely for us.

  18. I agree, honey is great stuff, it’s the only sweetener I use. In your article, the honey crystals you talk about, it you read the ingredient list on the back of the package, it says it it a mixture of cane sugar and honey. I’ve tried to find granulated honey years ago for baking recipes where adding more liquid to the recipe by using honey didn’t work so well – and a granulated un-sugar would work better – no such luck.

    If you do find one, let me know! I would LOVE it! 🙂

  19. I’m wondering what you think of the freeze dried honey crystals? I have some stored as they are just so easy and less messy in a disaster type scenario to go on our oatmeal.

    1. I have a couple of cans of honey crystals. They are less messy than honey, for sure. However, they also contain refined sugar, so they are not pure honey. For some people that’s a problem, for others, they just like the convenience of the product.

  20. Just wondering why not refrigerate honey? I made some ‘infused’ honey using manuka, and only one day after I found it literally crawling with ants that have never been in that area of my home. I had to refrigerate it just to avoid the ant issue…or throw it out, NOT an option! Funny, though, the regular honey sits on my counter for long periods without being infested with ants….. and yes, it is from local beekeepers.

  21. So a 12oz honey bear = an 8oz cup? Are they using different ounces? Are honey bears secret gateways to another universe that sends 4oz of honey to them for every bear used? What do they do with this honey? Why are they taxing us on our honey bears? I think we need a commission to get some answers….

  22. Coline Maylor Young

    I have been using honey in my meals as my source of sweetener. Looking forward to add as my facial.

  23. Coline Maylor Young

    I have been using honey in my meals and as my source of sweetener. Looking forward to add as my facial.

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