You’ve likely heard of and enjoyed the benefits of honey before – that sweet, naturally golden syrup that goes so well with foods and beverages in the place of normal sugar – but what about honeycomb? The natural “packaging” for honey, honeycomb is also created by bees, is safe to eat, and has just as much to offer in the diet (and even around the home)! So what’s the difference: honey vs. honeycomb, and how can you make sure you’re experiencing all of the advantages of both? In this step-by-step suggestion guide for honey novices, we’ll explore not only the differences between these two marvels of nature but the many benefits of these two fascinating bee by-products.
Honey & Honeycomb Facts 101: A Helpful Guide For The Curious Connoisseur
- Step 1: Commit To “Combed” Honey
The honey offered in jars and bottles from the grocery store has been extracted from its original honeycomb, typically through a rapidly spinning machine called (unsurprisingly) a honey extractor. The extractor uses centrifugal motion to spin the honey out of individual wax cells, with the force breaking the waxy cell tops off. This honey may then, depending on the manufacturer, be heated and processed extensively before making it to shelves. The issue is that this processing/pasteurization removes or reduces a number of helpful nutritional elements, including antioxidants.
On the other hand, honey still in the honeycomb (also known as “combed” honey) has all of its nutrients intact because it’s never been removed from its “natural packaging.” All of the pollen, nectar, and trace nutrients found in the honey itself are also in the wax, just waiting to be unlocked and eaten.
- Step 2: Use Your Honey Fearlessly
Buying the whole honeycomb doesn’t mean committing to complicated home honey extraction – the comb can be easily dropped in a hot beverage, where the wax comb will melt and release the honey inside. The wax will then float to the top, where it can be retrieved, dried, and hardened or eaten along with the beverage. Fresh honeycomb is completely edible and has no ill effects on the body; some honeycomb enthusiasts treat it like a piece of gum and chew it for a while, while others simply chew and swallow it like any other food.
- Step 3: Appreciate The Distinctive Textures & Tastes
Honeycomb is, by definition, a container for honey, but it’s so much more than the sum of its purpose. The thin walls of each comb cell give texture and body to what is normally a textureless syrup, offering a truly delicious foodie experience rather than simply acting as an ingredient or a sweetener. Fresh honeycomb honey is unfiltered honey, which means there are beautifully complex flavors and textures at play, each waiting to be appreciated by a discerning palate. Darker honey and darker combs have more intense flavors, while lighter-colored varieties will have a more delicate taste.
The convenient structure of raw honeycomb also lends itself to culinary exploration – whether sliced up and stirred into a cup of Greek yogurt or perched artfully atop a luscious piece of cake, there are virtually endless epicurean options to consider. Honeycomb may even be broken into small pieces for use in baking and chocolate or candy creation. The unusual shape and two-for-one versatility also make honeycomb a popular snack for curious kids – an ideal option for steering the little ones away from sugar, over-processed candies, and junk food.
Nature’s Miracles: The Many Benefits Of Genuine Honey Products
Natural honey, particularly when it’s eaten as part of a whole honeycomb, offers energy, delicious flavor, and a number of nutritional benefits for snackers. So the next time your sweet tooth threatens to derail a carefully kept diet, or you’re tempted to reach for a second cup of coffee, try eating honeycomb instead. It’s naturally sweet, fun to eat, and free of preservatives and additives. From its health-related and dietary benefits to its useful by-products, honey and honeycomb are a natural source of sweetness for individuals and families who value the simple honest goodness of whole foods – the sweet life, naturally.
- Raman, Ryan, MS, RD. “All About Raw Honey: How Is It Different Than Regular Honey?” Healthline.com, January 20, 2018. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/raw-honey-vs-regular. Accessed July 28, 2019.
- Hirsch, J.M. “Honeycomb – Off The Beaten Aisle.” Food Network.com, September 2011, https://www.foodnetwork.com/fn-dish/recipes/2011/08/how-to-use-honeycomb. Accessed July 28, 2019.
- Bernauer, Annie. “How to Render Beeswax from Honeycomb.” Montana Homsteader.com, July 17, 2014, https://montanahomesteader.com/render-beeswax-honeycomb/. Accessed July 28, 2019.
- Sartell, Jennifer, “Uses for Beeswax Around The Home.” Keeping Backyard Bees.com, October 31, 2018, https://www.keepingbackyardbees.com/uses-for-beeswax-around-the-home/. Accessed July 28, 2019.