A Taste of Honey

I recently had the opportunity to sample several honeys from the Ogilvy’s Honey range. Honey is used as a natural sweetener in several of the recipes in my recent book...

I recently had the opportunity to sample several honeys from the Ogilvy’s Honey range. Honey is used as a natural sweetener in several of the recipes in my recent book Packed and Ogilvys were keen to introduce me to their wonderful range. Before I share my tasting experience here are a few honey facts.

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What is honey?
Honeybees use honey as their winter fuel source. They suck the sticky nectar from flower blossom and carry it back to the hive in their “honey stomach”. Here worker bees chew it again and again until it turns into honey and is placed in the honeycomb chambers. At this stage it is still quite wet so the bees fan it with their wings to make it nice and sticky. The chamber is then sealed with wax to keep the honey clean.

“The only reason for making a buzzing-noise that I know of is because you’re a bee…The only reason for being a bee that I know of is making honey….and the only reason for making honey is so I can eat it.”
~ Winnie the Pooh in A.A. Milne’s ‘The House at Pooh Corner’

Raw v Commercial honey
Many commercial honeys are highly processed and chemically refined which destroys the natural enzymes, vitamins and minerals found in raw honey. The filtering process of commercial honey also removes much of the beneficial plant nutrients including pollen and propolis which can help to keep your immune sytem strong. Raw honey is pure, unfiltered and unpasteurized so it retains its nutrients and health benefits.

Is honey a healthy alternative to sugar?
Conjuring up images of warm summer days and the gentle buzz of busy bees, honey is one of my preferred sweeteners. Of course, honey is still a form of sugar so we should definitely keep an eye on our intake. Compared to the white stuff though, thick, golden raw honey has many health benefits. Raw honey is roughly 20% complex sugars such as dextrin which means it impacts less on blood sugar levels compared to refined sugar (which is 50% glucose and 50% fructose). Depending on where your honey is sourced it will also have varying levels of healthful enzymes, vitamins, minerals and plant nutrients to give your health a boost as well as a sweet hit.

Super Honey
Manuka honey from the New Zealand manuka tree has antiseptic properties and an impressive nutrient profile including B vitamins, iron, magnesium and zinc. Look out for the UMF trademark to ensure you are getting the genuine product.

But if you really want a super honey look no further than Jarrah honey which comes from the nectar of the Australian Jarrah Tree – a slow growing eucalyptus tree. It has incredible amounts of antioxidants much higher than manuka and is known as the ultimate healing honey. The Ogilvy’s Jarrah Honey that I sampled was delicious- like a rich golden syrup which I found much nicer than the “antiseptic” taste of manuka. In fact it tasted so good I couldn’t believe it was good for me!

Jarrah honey has high antimicrobial benefits measured by its total activity (TA) rating. I tried the 20+ and also gave it to my teenage daughter who was suffering with a very stubborn sore throat. A couple of teaspoonfuls throughout day mixed with anti-inflammatory turmeric powder certainly seemed to ease her symptoms. Ogilvy’s also do a 10+ Jarrah honey which would be more suitable younger children.

Like Manuka, Jarrah honey is quite expensive at £24.99 for a 240g jar of 20+ so personally I wouldn’t cook with it. A spoonful a day added to a smoothie, drizzled over yogurt and fruit or simply straight off the spoon will help you get the benefits. You could also add it to raw protein balls or health bars to give them an anti-oxidant boost.

Ogilvys British Honey

Along with my honey-loving children (12 and 15 years) we also sampled 3 of the raw honeys in the Ogilvys British range

Apricot & Cashew Energy Balls

Cold-pressed Raw British Borage honey from Warwickshire is clear, light and runny with a delicate floral taste which worked perfectly in the Apricot and Cashew Energy balls from Packed. This was the children’s favourite.

Raw British Orchard honey from Kent is a lightly golden runny honey with a lovely fruity flavour that is delicious drizzle over natural yoghurt, chopped fruit and nuts in the morning. I also added it to the Coconut and Pistachio Granola bars from Packed for a delicious sweetness. A little went a long way.

Raw British Wildflower honey from Norfolk had the most distinctive flavour of the three. It is a thick set honey and worked well in a soothing drink of warm water, ginger and lemon. Ogilvy’s suggest it would be a good sweetener for black coffee or as a marinade for meat and I can see how it’s rich flavour would be ideal in these cases.

Visit the Ogilvy’s website to find out more about their full range of raw honeys plus plenty of recipes and information.

I was supplied with samples of Ogilvys honey free of charge in order to write an unbiased review of their products

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About Michelle Lake

Hi, I run Mission Nutrition, and I'm a nutritional therapist/ nutritionist helping people all over St Albans & Hertfordshire feel happier & healthier. If your diet needs an overhaul, come and see me for a nutrition consultation! Tel: 01727 893 042 / 01727 869 929 or email michelle@mission-nutrition.co.uk