I think I've mentioned here that my friend, Jana, is a beekeeper. I think I've also mentioned that she keeps me stocked with honey, but, I don't think I've ever mentioned that she gives me the honey in it's pure, unfiltered, raw form.
Raw honey has all of the pollens, enzymes, and antioxidants that make it a super-food. The "honey" typically found on supermarket shelves has been pasteurized and filtered; straining out everything that makes the honey healthy and leaving behind just the sugar. So, if you have heard that regularly consuming honey will help alleviate allergies, typical grocery store honey won't do a thing for you; you must consume honey that contains pollen, preferably honey from local pollen producers, if you are to see improvement in allergy symptoms.
Some people won't eat raw honey, based solely on its' appearance; this is a crying shame, because, raw honey is delicious, and, it actually spreads better on toast than the runny syrupy "honey" found packaged in cute little plastic bottles shaped like bears (I will admit, I LOVE the bear bottles, themselves).
If you are a fan of "creamed" or "spun" honey, you may be surprised to learn that you are actually eating raw sugar that was taken through a carefully controlled crystallization process, resulting in a smooth, velvety texture.
I love spun honey, which is probably explains why raw honey doesn't freak me out. I do, however, also like honey that is more liquid, especially in my tea, or for using in certain recipes, so, I de-crystallize my raw honey for those purposes, and, the process is quite easy.
1. Crack open the jar of raw honey, admire the rich, sweet aroma of the beautiful bee nectar...
2. Spoon raw honey into a glass jar or small container of some sort (I use recycled yogurt jars because they are twee and precious).
3. Fill a small saucepan with enough water to cover the sides of the jar, without going over the top. Bring water to a boil.
4. Remove pan from burner, carefully set jar into hot water and allow to sit until honey liquefies, stirring occasionally.
5. Remove from waterbath, dry outside of container, cover with lid or plastic wrap and store at room temperature.
The honey will recrystallize, if not used within a reasonable amount of time, so, I only liquefy what I plan to use fairly quickly. If crystallization occurs, the process can be done again, but, too many times will result in less tasty honey, so, I keep that in mind.
And, that's it! Now, please excuse me while I decant a bottle of homemade vanilla extract from my latest batch; I owe Jana one! She keeps me in honey, I keep her in vanilla. It's a win-win for us both.