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It’s National Honey Month, and for many bee farmers it’s time to harvest the goods, meaning fresh batches of raw honey. And according to Alethea Morrison, author of Homegrown Honey Bees, raw is the way to go since the honey hasn’t been subjected to high heat levels that can strip beneficial enzymes.
Try to buy from a local beekeeper when possible (go to beeculture.com for a directory): More than three-fourths of the processed honey sold in grocery stores does not contain pollen, according to a Texas A&M University analysis, which means it has fewer health benefits and may be diluted with additives. For a special sweet treat, try these flavors of raw honey and food pairings from Ian Bens, executive sous chef at the Claremont Hotel Club & Spa in Berkeley, California.
4 Raw Honey + Food Pairings
A sweet and light honey from New England and Michigan that derives its flavor from nectar gathered from blueberry bushes
Best with Creamy foods like ice cream and yogurt
We like Crystal’s Raw Blueberry Honey from Merrimack Valley Apiaries ($9 for 17 oz, mvabeepunchers.com)
An intense and earthy honey found in cool, moist climates like New York, Michigan, Minnesota, and North Dakota
Best with Oranges, rhubarb, and sharp cheeses like Parmesan and aged cheddar
We like Buckwheat Honey from Ames Farm ($10 for 9 oz, amesfarm.com)
A mild honey from all US regions that’s used in most commercial brands
Best with Subtly spiced foods, nutty flavors, and earthy tea like green tea and Pu-erh blends
We like Clover Honey from Geddes Farms ($12 for 16 oz, geddesfarms.com)
Mild, buttery honey reflecting the nectar of the tupelo gum tree in Florida and Georgia, prized because it’s the only variety that, thanks to its high fructose content, doesn’t crystallize (solidify)
Best with Pecans, mild cheeses like Havarti or young Gouda, carrots, and sweet potatoes
We like Georgia Tupelo Honey from Sweetwater Creek Honey Farm ($9 for 16 oz, sweetwatercreekhoneyfarm.com)
READ MORE The Yoga of Making Honey