Friday, December 10, 2010

Food for thought Fridays: The goodness of honey

You may remember a few months back I talked about the dangers of eating refined sugar and suggested replacing it where possible with unrefined products such as honey, maple syrup and jaggery. This is because refined sugar has been stripped of all the things that help our bodies process it, so we actually deplete our own store of vitamins and minerals to digest it.
In New Zealand, honey is a particularly good sweetening alternative to refined sugar as it is produced here in abundance, meaning it doesn't need to be imported from overseas. It also never spoils, and it has many unique health benefits.

Health benefits of honey
  • Because honey has been predigested by bees, it is easy for our bodies to digest. 
  • Honey contains enzymes that assist in the digestion of carbohydrates such as oatmeal and toast, which is just as well since they taste oh so good together. 
  • I found this interesting when researching honey. Allergy sufferers may find that eating a little bit of unfiltered honey will ease complaints such as itchy eyes and running noses. This is because the pollen in unfiltered honey works as an inoculant against larger amounts in the air.
  • New Zealand's manuka honey is especially prized for its medicinal qualities, and will promote healing of infected cuts where applied directly. It's also an excellent sore throat remedy, when mixed into a drink with lemon and hot water. (Our family has all been knocked out with a cold this week, so we got lots of practice making these drinks. I found them wonderfully soothing on my dry throat.)
What to look for when buying honey
Not all honey is created equal. You want to be careful when choosing it to ensure you get the most health benefits possible. It should be:
  • Unpasteurised. If it's labelled "raw" that's perfect. Otherwise, you want some indication it has only been heated at a low temperature so its enzymes are not destroyed.
  • Unstrained or only lightly filtered so it retains natural pollens.
  • Fermented if possible, as it then becomes an even better digestive aid.
Airborne Honey
This month I've had the pleasure of reviewing New Zealand's own Airborne Honey for 'Our Picks' on Kiwi Mummy Blogs. I've been able to test out Airborne Honey for Kids, which comes in a no-leak squeezey bottle, as well as Vipers Bugloss (aka borage) Honey. Both are delicious and tick many of my "Things to look for when buying honey" checklist. Read about how Airborne Honey is made here.

I've never had squeezey honey before, and I'm finding it useful for so many things. It's easy to pour into the blender when I whiz up a smoothie for me and Miss L. It was super easy to squeeze a swirl of it over my soaked porridge this morning (recipe to come).

It was  also really quick to squeeze a bit onto a spoonful of crushed garlic to give Miss L when she had a cold last week. She liked the honey, but wasn't so keen on the garlic. (Read: fierce wailing ensued.) I thought I might have put her off honey for good with my antics, but it seems she can't get enough of it.

If you'd like to find more uses for honey, check out the Airborne Honey website. It features a number of yummy looking recipes made with honey, such as Rata Honey Icecream, Crispy Roast Chicken and Honey Mustard Sauce.

The website also shares some of the advantages of cooking with honey, which I hadn't thought of before:
  • Honey is "hygroscopic" (absorbs moisture), so that foods baked with it tend to be softer, moister and keep their freshness longer.
  • For the same sweetening power, honey has fewer calories than sugar.
  • Different honeys have different flavours - which, chosen wisely, will complement and add an extra dimension to a dish.
So tell me, what's your favourite way to eat honey? I'd love to hear.


    1. Yum, I feel like honey on toast....

      Think I might have to invest in some of the health honeys from Airborne.

      I've used the Honey for Kids - love it for baking.

    2. Hey if you want a Raw honey I get mine from beesrus they have an online shop so its pretty easy to buy.

    3. Thanks for that. I'll check them out.


    Thank you for visiting Craving Fresh, and for taking the time to comment. Your feedback is so important to me.