Honey: not boo boo, but types and uses for the sweet stuff

Honey with chicken is a match made in heaven. But after emptying two jars - which probably predate the current presidential administration - I sought out more of the same. It appears like milk and eggs nowadays, there are a billion types of honey.

Local? Raw? Unfiltered? The straight dope is so good at sussing out the nonsense from the important stuff.


  1. Do the different “grades” matter?
  2. Raw or unfiltered - what’s this mean?
  3. Do you use different types of honey for different things, eg one for hot tea, another for cooking?
  4. I can get “local” honey from the farmer’s market but alas it’s the dead of winter. Should I buy this when “in season”?

Definitely, shop local and buy that local honey from the farmers market. I plan to do this as soon as they are back in business after the winter.

I always read the label, honey may be a mixture from several countries. I won’t buy any from China, if they sell it.

I see ‘raw’ honey in the health food store, but don’t know the benefits. And, I like ‘orange blossom’ honey in my tea. I don’t think it tastes that different, but it brings a pretty picture to mind. We make baklava every year and buy big relatively cheap jars from Aldi. I always have honey on hand, always. Someday there won’t BE any honey, or it will cost $20 an ounce.

Raw has a lower glycemic indext, so messes with your blood sugar far less than processed honey. Beyond that, I can’t say much except that it tastes a little bit better.

I use cheap generic store-brand clover honey for things like marinades, and the more expensive local honey goes into tea, or directly bottle -> mouth.

Raw can mean a lot of things. Sometimes it means the honey is only lightly filtered, like a hobby beekeeper might do, otherwise it means anything the you want. A friend at work showed me the ‘raw’ honey he was buying at Whole Foods for some crazy high price. It was basically the sludge you get after the honey is strained out - stuff I’ve thrown out. Wax caps, propolis and bee parts in a slurry of honey. It was more junk than honey but if you are the type that believes the non-honey parts of a hive are good for you then that stuff had it.

The very best honey IMO is spring honey, taken off the hive after that first spring bloom. It has a much lighter color than the fall stuff and the floral smells really come out strong (depending on your location of course.) I eat that stuff with a spoon. It really depends on when the keeper takes the honey though and most don’t start stealing from their hives so early.

Fireweed honey is always a favorite when I can find it. It takes forever for it to crystallize, unlike clover honey. Honey mixed with cumin and ketchup works well for a meatloaf glaze.

On the subject of filtered honey, especially “ultra-filtered” - here’s an interesting article on why it should be avoided, especially if someone’s also trying to avoid food products from China:

Thanks for the replies, all. I have a better grasp of my options and where they all fit :slight_smile:

Chefguy, where or when do you typically find the Fireweed honey? That meatloaf glaze sounds spot on.

Grade B honey is more flavorful than Grade A, and cheaper to boot.

That makes sense. I’ve always enjoyed grade B maple syrup far more than A.

I purchased some raw honey from Amazon yesterday, should arrive tomorrow! :stuck_out_tongue:

About 8 years back mrAru brought back a gallon of grape blossom honey from the beekeeper that sells at one of the farmers markets in Fresno [varietal, it was orange muscat. He hauls his hives around to different farms] It made some of the best mead when combined with sherry yeast.

We get all farmers market local honeys, I don’t think we have had store bought honey for at least 20 years. We don’t go through it fast enough to make buying the good stuff too expensive.

Honey and peanuts on vanilla ice cream.

Manuka honey is supposed to be good for healing wounds. I used it on my dog with a big cut that couldn’t be stitched and it seemed to help.

It has a different taste than regular honey - though not sure how to describe it.

I like honey in near boiling water with a squeeze of lemon - my go to drink when I want something hot that doesn’t have caffeine.