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Honey Myths

Myth 1: All pure honey crystallizes.

What would be correct to say is crystallized honey is good honey and should be enjoyed. But all pure honey does not crystallise. Crystallisation of honey depends on the fructose and glucose ratio in the honey. It is the glucose in the honey that crystallises. If the glucose content is much lower than the fructose content the honey will take longer to crystallise. Acacia Honey takes a long time to crystallise. If the glucose content is much higher than the fructose content, then the honey will crystallise quickly, as in the case of Mustard Honey. External temperature is also a contributing factor.

Myth 2: White foam on top of honey is an indication that the honey has gone bad.

The white foam on top of honey is quite simply accumulation of air bubbles in the honey that has gradually risen to the top. In fact, the foam is airy and delicious.

Myth 3: Honey never goes bad.

Properly stored honey can last for a very, very, very, long time. Perfectly preserved honey was found in a tomb dating back 5500 years. Honey is hygroscopic, which means it absorbs moisture and moisture is honey’s enemy. Keep your jar of honey tightly closed to protect the aroma and taste of your honey. Do not use wet dippers or spoons when scooping out the honey. Honey also has a pH of  3.4 to 6.1 which makes it acidic and most bacteria will not survive this level of acidity. Here is one of the contributing factors for the longevity of honey. When nectar is sucked in by the bees, it goes into an expandable pouch called the ‘honey stomach’. Here the nectar is broken down by an enzyme called glucose oxidase that results in by-products gluconic acid and hydrogen peroxide. The hydrogen peroxide acts as an antibacterial and prevents the growth of bacteria in the honey.  You can be assured if you treat your honey with respect, your honey will last well beyond its ‘best before date’. 

Myth 4: Only thick honey is pure.

When we say thick, we are referring to the viscosity of honey. The viscosity of honey depends
1. Temperature
2. Moisture Content
3. Carbohydrates (various sugars present in honey).
So, if the type of honey you have bought has higher moisture content, the honey will be thinner. If you live in a hot region your honey may likely be runny. And if the type of honey you have bought has high concentration of carbohydrates (natural sugars) your honey will be thicker. Also honey from colder regions tend to have lower moisture content than honey from warmer humid regions. The Honey Company™ has honey that is so thick that you have scoop them out like thick ghee. And some honey, runny enough to quickly drizzle.

Myth 5: It is dangerous to use metal spoons to scoop honey.

Honey contain many different types of natural organic and amino acids and has a pH of 3.4 to 6.1, depending on the floral source. However, scooping honey with a metal spoon is not going to harm the honey, the spoon or you. But as acids are corrosive by nature and due the presence of natural acids in honey, it is not advisable to store honey in metal jars or keep metal dippers or spoons in the honey for a long period of time.

Myth 6: If the honey is very sweet, it means it is mixed with sugar.

Firstly, HONEY IS SWEETER THAN SUGAR. This is because Sugar or Sucrose is quite simply 50% fructose and 50% glucose. Whereas, honey is made mainly of about 38% fructose, 32% glucose, sucrose, maltose and other carbohydrates.

Now, to explain the taste of honey. For example, all mangoes (or almost anything occurring in nature) don’t look, smell, taste and feel the same. We celebrate the diversity of this fruit. Similarly, all honey doesn’t look, taste, smell or feel the same. The fact is, there are honey’s that are very sweet, moderately sweet, bitter, tangy, buttery, sour, spicy, herbal or woodsy. To help you experience this diversity we have a created the The Honey Company™ Miniatures. This is a collection of different types of raw honeys from all over India. 

Myth 6: It is safe/not safe for diabetics to consume honey.

Diabetics should stay away completely from table sugar and for that matter we all should.

It is alright for diabetics whose blood sugar levels are under control to include small amounts of honey in their diet. For which it is mandatory that a diabetic individual consults a doctor/dietician to see how raw honey could be allowed as part of prescribed carbohydrate intake per day. 

Myth 7: Raw honey is dangerous for people with seasonal allergies and bee related allergies/Raw honey consumption is good to build tolerance to seasonal allergies. 

There are a few contradictory views on this. If you are seeing an allergist, you are given multiple shots and are gradually building up your tolerance to specific allergens in the injection. Basically, the belief is, consuming small quantities of local raw honey may help you build tolerance to the local pollen. There maybe some truth to this. The Honey Company® take on this is the raw honey you are consuming may not be local, in which case it may not work to build tolerance to local pollen. If you have allergies, please consult your allergist on the future course of action.

Excerpt from “The second study found a strong correlation between oral presensitization with local honey and improvement in rhinoconjunctivitis and other allergy symptoms in pollen allergy patients during the subsequent pollen season. ” .