Raw Honey

May 28, 2014 by

I’ve been itching to have an oul rant now for ages but have been biting my keyboard.

It seems most food blogs concentrate on recipes and reviews. Now I have no problem with blogging a recipe mainly for my own benefit, as when something works out really well, I either can’t remember where I found the recipe or what little tweaks I gave it.

But I leave the reviews to the experts who have a lot more patience than I do when confronted with a fabulous plate of food. It would be impossible for me not to dig in immediately. I really wouldn’t have the patience to set up a photo shoot.

But to the rant.

I read a tweet the other night about the benefits of “raw” honey. Now in my innocence I did not realise what they meant by raw honey. I knew the stuff in the supermarket, the Boyne Valley stuff was blended from lots of different honeys from more than one country and probably heated/pasteurised. When we were kids my mother always told us it wasn’t as good for you. Her father had kept bees and they grew up eating their own honey. Then when we went to Wexford every summer we used buy honey from a house on the way to our mobile home. The old man sold it in sections and I really loved digging out the honey with the wax and slathering it on homemade soda bread rolls baked in a wonky old oven.

My mother had an inkling about all it’s now recognised benefits. To us it was just honey. Real honey not the Boyne Valley honey.

So now the benefits of real honey (I can’t use the term raw) are being written about in the media and even SuperVet aka Noel Fitzpatrick over on the Channel 4 programme uses it in post-operative wound management.

Following this tweet the next day I took a picture of real honey and posted it on Twitter. It was honey produced by my brother in law from his garden in Blackrock. Almost immediately I got a reply from a honey “producer” (**Irish Bee Sensations) asking was this honey raw. Cue bafflement. I replied I was fairly sure it was although I did think it was a bizarre question. In their reply they had asked how it was extracted. I replied I was pretty sure “in his kitchen”. Then the clanger, do you not realise honey sold must be extracted in a honey house. (It does not).

I replied “Oh my God”, thinking the food “safety” police had got their sticky fingers on honey extraction and production to make it “safe”.

I am just so weary of all the food safety rules and regulations that have very little to do with making food “safer” and a lot more to do with keeping bureaucrats in jobs as well as kowtowing to the EU.

If you are really really worried about the miniscule risk of getting botulism or food poisoning from honey read the link above which explains how these pathogens and/or spores may be present. Then work out the risk or the possibility. I would imagine you would be more likely to be hit by a jumbo jet falling from the sky. Of course there is a risk to the immuno-compromised and possibly small babies but you know if you stick a small human in a sterile bubble they will never develop an immune system. In fact this has been pretty much proven with the increase in asthma and eczema and the obsession with sterilising everything a baby comes in contact with.

Instead concentrate on the benefits amongst which are; eliminates allergies, anti-inflammatory, strengthens the immune system, anti bacterial, anti fungal, improves digestion, calming, pain relief.

And if you want any more proof apart from that seen on SuperVet. A friend’s newly born colt foal who contracted rotavirus and was very very sick was cured using a combination of natural yoghurt and honey.

I have yet to meet a bee keeper who has not been passionate and incredibly knowledgeable about bees and bee keeping and I would very much doubt they would extract under unhygienic conditions but even if they do, honey is not a great environment for bugs to live in.

On balance I will stick with real honey extracted by small, truly artisan producers and avoid the mass produced and heavily regulated. 

**Irish Bee Sensations have since disappeared off the market and are suspected of repackaging honey from German supermarkets. The owners are wanted for fraud.

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