Best Honey

Updated October 2020
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Buying guide for best honey

Not only is it delicious and sweet, but the right honey is good for you. It can be rich in nutrients and antioxidants, soothe your throat, and possibly even help lower your blood pressure. Honey comes in a wide variety of flavors, no two jars taste exactly the same, and it is recognized as the only fresh food that doesn’t spoil.

If you’re looking for honey that has all of these benefits, you need to find raw honey. Raw honey is different from regular honey because it hasn’t been pasteurized and filtered to the point of eradicating most of its beneficial properties. Many types of regular honey also contain unhealthy additives like high-fructose corn syrup.

If you’d like to learn more about the different kinds of honey and how to determine which is healthier for you, keep reading. If you’re ready to buy a jar, consider one of the highly rated products we’ve spotlighted in our matrix.

Although honey is touted as having many potential health benefits, it is still a sweetener. According to the American Heart Association, no more than 10% of your calories should come from added sugars, which includes honey.

Key considerations

When purchasing honey, the first thing to consider is the different types: regular, raw, and organic.

Regular honey

Regular honey is mostly what you find on grocery shelves. If it doesn’t say “raw” on the label, it is not raw honey. Regular honey is subjected to pasteurization and filtration, which makes the honey safer to eat, but those processes also destroy many of the natural benefits of raw honey. Most notably, regular honey may not contain any bee pollen, which is so beneficial that some countries recognize it as a medicine. Additionally, regular honey may contain additives, such as added sugar and high-fructose corn syrup.

Raw honey

Because raw honey is sold in its natural state, unpasteurized and unfiltered, it retains all its vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, and bee pollen. It is possible that trace elements of undesirables, such as venom or bee parts, may find their way into raw honey as well. However, raw honey contains polyphenols that act as antioxidants in the human body. If you are looking beyond sweetness for the healthier option, raw honey is the way to go.

Organic honey

Organic honey is not necessarily raw honey. Rather, it means the flowers, bees, and honey are not permitted to come into contact with chemicals like pesticides and herbicides. However, organic honey may be pasteurized and filtered like regular honey, which removes much of the honey’s beneficial properties. For the very healthiest honey, look for a product that is labeled as both organic and raw.

Features

The other features to take into account when buying honey come down to matters of personal taste and preference.

Size

How much honey do you use? Since honey doesn’t spoil, if it’s more economical to buy a larger jar or even to purchase in bulk, that might be a wiser choice.

Color

The color of honey offers more than just aesthetic appeal. Typically, the darker the color, the more intense the flavor.

Texture

Honey typically comes in two different textures, either the sticky liquid that most people are familiar with or a buttery cream. Liquid honey is usually pasteurized but not always – it depends on how hot the honey was heated. Honey can also crystalize over time, but that texture can be smoothed by slightly warming the honey while slowly stirring.

Flavor

The flavor of honey comes from the flowers the bees visited. If you discover a fondness for a particular flavor, such as tupelo, search for that type of honey. If you’d like to explore your options, there is a wide variety of honey flavors to choose from.

Local

Many individuals prefer honey from their area. But if you’d like to expand your palate, consider honey from other locales and different countries.

True Source certification

If you have concerns about how the honey you are considering is harvested, look for honey that is True Source-certified. True Source is a voluntary system that allows honey manufacturers to be transparent, certifying that their sourcing practices are in full compliance with U.S. and international trade laws.

" In general, the darker the honey, the more intense the flavor will be."
STAFF
BestReviews

Honey prices

Don’t be swayed by price alone. Though the best honey may cost a little more than you were expecting, that is not to say you can’t find exceptional honey at a lower price. In the $5 to $10 price range, you’ll find jars of mostly wildflower and clover honey that is a golden or amber in color.

From $10 to around $17, you can find local honey along with jars that have been infused with other ingredients, such as ginger, lemon, and additional pollen. The honey may come in glass jars instead of squeeze bottles at this price.

From $18 to $30, you’ll find specialized products, such as tupelo honey and manuka honey. For over $30, you should be cautious and do your research because the higher price does not always translate to a better product.

Did you know?
No two jars of honey taste exactly the same as bees travel up to three miles away to collect nectar from a wide variety of flowering plants.
STAFF
BestReviews

Popular types of honey

Honey is most often named for the nectar of the flower it contains. In the United States, there are roughly 300 different types of honey. To give you an idea of what is available, here are some of the more common varieties of honey.

  • Clover: Clover honey is a very light and mild honey that contains a wide variety of minerals, including zinc, copper, magnesium, potassium, and manganese. It also contains high levels of vitamins B and C and may help lower blood pressure.
  • Tupelo: This golden honey has a high sugar content and a buttery texture. It is a local variety of honey created from the nectar of the white tupelo tree, which is found in the wetlands of Georgia and Florida. It is unique in the fact that it will not granulate.
  • Wildflower: This type of honey comes from a variety of wildflowers. Although it is usually a light to medium amber color, the flavor can vary from season to season depending on what is in bloom at the time. This type of honey, as well as most others, is an effective cough suppressant.
  • Dandelion: A rich-tasting vegan option that does not come from bees, dandelion honey has a number of beneficial vitamins and minerals that aid in digestion.
  • Buckwheat: Buckwheat honey is a dark purple to black honey that has a distinctive taste, is rich in antioxidants, and helps support the body’s immune system.
  • Manuka: This dark, creamy honey can be ingested or applied to the skin. It has a number of beneficial properties that aid in everything from wound healing to improved digestion. Manuka honey is native to New Zealand.
Although it may require a bit of calculation to convert quantities, it is possible to use honey in place of sugar in most recipes.

FAQ

Q. Can local honey cure my allergies?
A.
This is one of the most hotly debated issues in the world of honey. The answer depends on who you ask. Taking a spoon of honey won’t stop you from sneezing, but some doctors believe local honey can work like allergy shots by helping you build up an immunity to local pollen. Other doctors state that the allergens found in local honey are not the ones that bring about sneezing fits. However, honey has been proven to suppress coughs, and it has some anti-inflammatory effects – inflammation is part of an allergic reaction – so the debate continues.

Q. Is honey safe for my child?
A.
Never give honey to a child who is younger than 12 months old because it contains a bacteria that can cause botulism. Infant botulism is treatable if caught early. The symptoms can begin as soon as 18 hours after ingestion and include constipation, weak muscles (which shows up as floppy movements), weak cry, irritability, drooling, paralysis, and more. The sooner you get medical treatment, the better.

Q. My honey has turned into hard crystals, should I throw it away?
A.
No. One of the many wonders of honey is that it is the only food that doesn’t spoil. Processed honey, however, may not last forever because vital elements have been filtered out. The crystallization of honey does not mean it has gone bad. In fact, if you simply place the jar of crystalized honey in a container of warm water and stir it gently, those crystals will dissolve.

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