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Honey is one of those forever foods – you can store it virtually forever without it going bad (as long as you follow proper storage and food handling techniques). It has so many uses in the home and kitchen that it is a food you NEED to store!
Store your honey at room temperature in your pantry or on your shelf. Storing in the refrigerator isn’t recommended as it promotes crystallization, which isn’t harmful, but just the way honey reacts when it becomes too cold. If your house tends to run cold in the winter, store your honey near your stove (though not on it). If you find that your honey has crystallized, simply place your jar in a pot of boiling water that has been removed from heat. In my personal experience, the more natural of a state the honey is in, the less it crystallizes. For the following tips and hints, the more naturally occurring a honey is, the better it will work. Going through the processes for commercializing honey, it loses many of its natural properties from the heat processes or being mixed with other elements to make it more commercially viable. You can purchase organize, raw honey in almost any market now, or online, but the best source will always be a local beekeeper in your area.
In the Kitchen
Use as a substitute for white sugar: for every cup of sugar a recipe calls for, replace it with 3/4 cup of honey. But remember to experiment with the moisture level of your recipe to get the perfect balance.
In the Medicine Cabinet
Use to relieve coughs. A tablespoon taken can help relieve the issues that are causing your cough.
Use to relieve allergies. Using raw, locally sourced honey can help your body become immune to those local triggers of allergies. It needs to be sourced in your area, and needs to not have gone through the commercialized homogenization practices. Bee pollen is an even better remedy for this.
Use to relieve sore throats. Combine honey with the juice of one lemon and drink. Using it in tea is a good way to take it, too.
Use in wound care. Not only is honey thought to have antibacterial properties, it can help create a barrier to further infection plus stop wound covers from sticking. The application of raw honey to the site of the wound will help keep it moist, and exposure to oxygen helps to activate an enzyme in honey that forms hydrogen peroxide, which has anti-bacterial capabilities. Manuka honey, which has been through a different process, actually has quantifiable lab results in wound care from wounds that are not inflamed or infected. This advice should be used with minor wounds, anything large or major should be treated by a medical professional if at all possible.
Use as a sleep aid. Honey may help facilitate the action of tryptophan, which helps make people sleepy.Some might argue that the natural sugars might work against you at bedtime and a protein might be a better solution, but if you’re having trouble falling asleep, give it a try to see if it works for you.
Use as an immune booster. The phytonutrients in raw honey have antibacterial and antiviral properties that may help boost your immune system and fight sickness. If you’re feeling a little under the weather, try making a “Hot Ozzy” by combining 1 tablespoon of honey and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice in a 1/2 cup of hot, but not boiling, water. (source: Dr. Oz – the real one, not those fake sites with all of the obnoxious ads claiming to have his secrets!)
Use to help the medicine go down. If you’re using powdered herbs as a natural medical treatment, mixing with honey can help reduce the bitterness.
In Beauty Aids
Use as a moisturizing body scrub. Mix with sugar to create a body scrub that moisturizes.
Use as a deep hair conditioner. Use 1/2 cup of honey and massage into your scalp, then cover with a shower cap or plastic wrap and leave on for 30 minutes. Shampoo to remove.
Use as a hair remover. Create a sugar wax to remove unwanted hair over your body. Mix 1 teaspoon of honey, a few drops of lemon juice and one tablespoon of sugar in a dish and mix into a paste. Heat it for up to three minutes in a microwave. Be careful as this can be HOT! You want it very warm, but not so warm that it burns. Apply in a thin layer to the area of skin where the unwanted hair is, and place a strip of cotton fabric over it, smoothing. Allow it to cool, then pull the fabric off in a quick motion, against the natural growth direction of the hair.
Use as an energy booster. Use a tablespoon of honey with water for a quick energy booster. Instead of getting straight sugar and other more harmful chemicals, you’ll be getting a natural energy booster plus all the minerals that comes with honey naturally. We use this for tae kwon do belt tests to help keep the energy up during the 3 hour long tests.
Even with commercially processed honeys, it is is suggested that you don’t feed infants under one straight honey that hasn’t been baked or cooked into a dish. It is thought to contain the elements which may lead to botulism, which can be life threatening in the underdeveloped digestive system of an infant. And for diabetics, sugar is still sugar, so keep close tabs on how you use it.