Wednesday, April 6, 2011
For Love of Raw Honey
It is a cruel twist of fate that someone who loves to garden as much as I do also has to deal with seasonal allergies. I'm happy to be out there, with my toes in the dirt, sneezing and weeding, but I'd much rather do so without the sneezing -- and, without putting chemical antihistamines in my body every day.
Luckily, a few years ago, I stumbled onto the idea that raw, local honey can help you build an immunity of sorts to the the types of pollen in your area. I gave it a try, and for me it is very, very, helpful.
We get our raw honey in bulk, 80-oz jars whenever we visit the U-Pick strawberry field. Last year, each jar was $15.95, which is a substantial discount over buying little jars from the same provider in our local, upscale food market. I put about a tablespoon full in each cup of my coffee in the morning (usually 2 cups), and I find that my allergies are well under control with only occasional antihistamine use.
Honey stores forever; ancient, edible stores of honey used for preservation have been found on archaeological digs. As you can see, the raw honey does crystallize a little bit faster than the pasteurized version, but it is easy to melt it in your coffee, in the microwave, or by putting just a little bit of water in the near-empty jar to get out the last crystals.
With threats of rising food prices making many of us consider stocking up on the basics as a form of economic insulation, it makes sense to consider honey as a very storage-friendly sweetener, especially if you can score a deal like we usually do. It is not out of the question for us to buy four of these 80-oz. jars to get us through a year.
Standard warning: do not give honey, raw or otherwise, to an infant (or perhaps to someone severely immunocompromised). Honey often contains trace amounts of the spores that can lead to botulism, and immature immune systems can't always cope. However, I do believe (note: this is my opinion; I am not a doctor; do your own due diligence and make your own decisions) that this gives our bodies a chance to learn to fight those spores, and it makes us stronger as a result. Millennia of experience with honey shows it to be a safe, healthy form of sweetener, and for most of that time, honey was eaten raw.
Fast: There is no time difference between using honey and using some other sweetener.
Cheap: Honey is typically more expensive per ounce than white sugar, but the benefits of the local, raw stuff really outweigh this. I know I make this kind of statement occasionally, but I truly can offset my honey costs in foregone antihistamine purchases relatively early in the season, netting an overall savings. For example, I see that a 100-pack of OTC antihistamines costs just under $9 (not counting shipping) at an online retailer. It would not be unusual to take 3-4 of these a day during the height of the allergy season, meaning I offset the cost of a large jar of honey (which lasts about four months) in around 25 days.
Good: Honey makes a wonderful cup of coffee or a great bowl of ice cream. Never has allergy relief been so sweet!
Special Carrot Creations Offer for Readers of FC&G:
As you know, Mr. FC&G and I recently expanded into the craft business with an array of earrings, socks, and cowls; we have since added herbs and other garden products to our sales, with plans to add additional items. (Yoga socks and bath puffs are next on the list!)
We have just launched our Etsy store, Carrot Creations. You will see a permanent link on the page at the top of the blog. We aim to provide handmade products that compete favorably in price with the commercially-produced versions, allowing you to live a more sustainable, more frugal, and more fun life! Many of the projects are ones you have seen here on the blog, so if you love an idea but don't have the time to undertake it, take a look at Carrot Creations!
To get you started, now through May 31, 2011, I am offering free shipping to my FC&G readers. Just use the code FCGLAUNCH2011 when you check out.
Posted by Jennifer Lorenzetti at 10:22 AM