Common Honey FAQs

Here are some commonly Googled questions and answers regarding honey… we’ll start things off with a heavy hitter.

Honey or Hunny?

The correct spelling is "honey." "Hunny" is a common misspelling or variation of the word, which may be used informally or in a playful manner, but it is not the standard spelling. Sorry, Pooh.
Winnie the Pooh smiling, sitting in some honey (that he commonly spells "hunny")

Photo credit: Enews and Disney

Where is Honey in the Grocery Store?

Honey can usually be found in the condiments aisle of a grocery store, alongside other sweeteners such as maple syrup, agave nectar, and molasses. In some stores, honey may also be located in the baking aisle or the natural foods section. 

Honey is typically sold in jars or plastic containers of varying sizes and types, such as raw honey, organic honey, and flavored honey. Some stores may also carry specialty honey products, such as honeycomb or creamed honey. If you are having trouble finding honey in your local grocery store, you can ask a store employee for assistance, and they can help you locate it.

A woman shopping in a grocery store with a metal basket.

What is Creamed Honey?

Creamed honey, also known as whipped honey or spun honey, is a type of honey that has been processed in a way that creates a smooth, creamy texture. To make creamed honey, raw honey is first gently warmed and then slowly cooled while being stirred. This process causes the honey to form very small crystals, giving it a creamy consistency.

Creamed honey is popular because it is easier to spread than traditional liquid honey, making it a great topping for toast, biscuits, and other baked goods. It is also less likely to drip or run, making it easier to use in recipes that call for honey as an ingredient. Additionally, some people prefer the texture and flavor of creamed honey over liquid honey.

Creamed honey can be made with any type of honey, but certain varieties such as clover, orange blossom, and wildflower are more commonly used. It is important to note that creamed honey is not a different type of honey, but rather a preparation method that creates a unique texture.

Creamed honey being poured into a mason jar

Can You Put Honey in Coffee?

Yes, you can definitely put honey in coffee. Honey can be a delicious and natural sweetener for coffee, providing a subtle sweetness and flavor that enhances the taste of your coffee.

To add honey to your coffee, simply add a spoonful or two of honey to your cup and stir until it dissolves. You can adjust the amount of honey based on your personal preference for sweetness. Honey works particularly well in hot coffee, but can also be added to iced coffee or cold brew for a refreshing twist.

Using honey in coffee has several benefits. Honey has natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as antioxidants and vitamins, which can help boost the immune system and promote overall health. Honey is also a natural energy booster, which can help you power through your day.

However, it's important to keep in mind that honey is still a sweetener and contains sugar, which can contribute to weight gain and other health issues if consumed in excess. While honey is a healthier alternative to refined sugar or artificial sweeteners, it's important to use it in moderation.

A person pouring honey into a cup of coffee.

Can You Be Allergic To Honey?

Yes, it is possible to be allergic to honey. Although honey is a natural and healthy food, it can cause an allergic reaction in some people, particularly those who are allergic to pollen or other bee-related products.

Honey allergy is usually caused by an allergic reaction to pollen or other substances that are found in the honey. Bees collect pollen from flowers and bring it back to their hives, where it can end up in the honey. People who are allergic to pollen may experience an allergic reaction when they consume honey that contains pollen particles.

A bee on top of a flower

Symptoms of honey allergy can vary in severity, and they may include:

  • Hives or rash
  • Swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
  • Itching or tingling in the mouth or throat
  • Difficulty breathing or wheezing
  • Nausea or vomiting

In severe cases, honey allergy can cause anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening allergic reaction that requires immediate medical attention.

All that said, honey allergies are relatively rare. While many people may experience mild reactions or discomfort when consuming honey, true honey allergy is much less common. The prevalence of honey allergy is not well established, but studies suggest that it affects only a small percentage of the population.

Most people who experience discomfort when consuming honey are not actually allergic to honey itself but may have other issues such as intolerance to specific sugars or pollen particles that are found in honey. Some people may also have a sensitivity to certain compounds in honey, such as histamine or propolis, which can cause symptoms similar to an allergic reaction.

People who have a history of allergies, particularly to pollen or other bee-related products, are at a higher risk of developing honey allergy. It's also more likely for people who have previously experienced allergic reactions to other types of food or substances to develop honey allergy.

Does Honey Help a Sore Throat?

Yes, honey can be a very good way to help a sore throat. Honey has natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce inflammation, fight infection, and relieve pain…

One of the simplest ways to use honey for a sore throat is to mix it with warm water and drink it as a tea. You can also add lemon juice and ginger to the mixture for additional antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits.

It's important to note that while honey can provide temporary relief for a sore throat, it is not a substitute for medical treatment if your sore throat is caused by a bacterial infection or other serious condition. If your sore throat persists or is accompanied by other symptoms such as fever or difficulty swallowing, you should see a healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment.

What is the Glycemic Index of Honey?

According to WebMD, the glycemic index of honey is 58. This means that consuming honey can cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels, making it unsuitable for people with certain health conditions, such as diabetes.

However, honey also contains natural antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, which can provide numerous health benefits when consumed in moderation. Additionally, some studies have suggested that honey may have a lower impact on blood sugar levels than other sweeteners, such as sugar or high-fructose corn syrup.

Does Honey Need to be Refrigerated?

No, honey does not need to be refrigerated. Honey is a natural food that has a long shelf life and can be stored at room temperature for extended periods without spoiling. In fact, refrigerating honey can actually cause it to crystallize and become thicker and grainier in texture.

Honey is a hygroscopic substance, which means it naturally attracts moisture and has a low water activity, making it less hospitable to bacteria and other microorganisms that can cause spoilage. This, combined with the presence of natural enzymes and antioxidants in honey, helps to preserve its freshness and quality over time.

To store honey, it's best to keep it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat sources. Store honey in a tightly sealed container to prevent moisture from getting in, which can cause it to spoil or ferment. If honey crystallizes over time, it can be easily liquefied by gently heating the container in warm water or a microwave at low power for a few seconds.

A warm kitchen with a refrigerator

How Do You Soften Honey?

The easiest way to soften honey is to place the container of honey in a warm water bath. Fill a bowl or sink with warm water and place the honey container in it. Make sure that the water level is below the lid of the container, and let it sit for a few minutes until the honey has softened. Stir the honey with a spoon to ensure it's evenly warmed.

Another way to soften honey is to use a microwave (assuming you have a microwave-safe container). Remove the lid from the container of honey and microwave it on low power for 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval. Repeat this process until the honey has softened to your desired consistency. It's important to note that you should never microwave honey in its container with the lid on, as this can cause the container to burst.

If you have a large (oven-safe) container of honey that you want to soften, you can also use an oven. Preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C), and turn it off once it reaches temperature. Place the container of honey in the oven and leave it in for a few hours until it has softened. You can also place the honey in a heat-resistant bowl and cover it with aluminum foil before placing it in the oven.

Once the honey has softened, you can store it at room temperature, but it's best to keep it in a cool, dry place away from heat and direct sunlight to prevent it from solidifying again.

An oven in the midst of a modern kitchen

How Many Calories are in Honey?

The number of calories in honey can vary depending on the type and amount of honey consumed. However, in general, honey is a high-calorie food that is relatively dense in calories compared to other natural sweeteners.

One tablespoon (21 grams) of honey contains approximately 64 calories. However, this can vary slightly depending on the type of honey, as different types of honey have different sugar compositions and may have slightly different calorie counts.

While honey does contain natural sugars, it also contains antioxidants and other beneficial compounds that can provide numerous health benefits when consumed in moderation. However, due to its high calorie content, it's important to use honey in moderation and be mindful of the overall calorie intake in your diet.

Agave Nectar/Syrup or Honey?

The choice between agave nectar and honey ultimately depends on personal taste preference and nutritional goals. Both agave nectar and honey are natural sweeteners that can be used as an alternative to refined sugar, and they have similar levels of sweetness.

Agave nectar is a syrup that is derived from the agave plant and is often marketed as a healthier alternative to sugar. Agave nectar is lower on the glycemic index than honey and contains fewer calories, making it a good choice for people who are watching their sugar intake or managing blood sugar levels.

Honey, on the other hand, is a natural sweetener that is produced by bees from flower nectar. Honey has a higher glycemic index than agave nectar and contains more calories, but it also contains natural antioxidants and other beneficial compounds that can provide numerous health benefits when consumed in moderation.

When it comes to taste, honey has a distinct floral and sweet flavor, while agave nectar has a milder, more neutral flavor. This can make agave nectar a good choice for people who want a sweetener that won't overpower other flavors in their dishes.

A hand pouring syrup on dessert


We hope this was a helpful Q&A! Now it's your turn: drop a comment with a new factoid you learned, or impart your knowledge on the rest of us :)

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