I love honey. So, it will come to no surprise that I highly recommend storing it for emergencies.
Now, keeping bees would be the ultimate homesteader way to do it. Let’s be honest though, bees require time, space and a level of stability that I don’t have right now. I would bet that’s true of most of us. Do support your local apiarists though, all honey’s are good, but local honey is better for you for a couple of reasons.
- Local honey means bees that are likely pollinating local vegetables and fruits.
- Local honey contains local pollen, that can help keep allergies down.
- Local is more likely to be “real” honey – that which is raw, unfiltered, unpasteurized. The purists claim that it stores much better than the see through stuff at your local grocery chain.
Honey is a good barter item, it’s easy to separate a specific amount of honey from your larger honey supplies. Use jelly jars or clean pop bottles, no need to get fancy.
Honey can store for a long time, even with no preservatives or additives. With minimal water or equipment. Ancient civilizations stored raw, unfiltered honey in sealed porous clay containers, in cool-temperature caves. The gases created during crystallization, pushed the lighter-weight oxygen out through the porous clay. At least for awhile. Modern day preppers can store it in a cool dry place with an oxygen absorber. Make sure that the container cap is on tight since honey tends to absorb moisture from the environment. That’s what’s happened when your honey gets rock hard. (Or your honey is just happy to see you..?) You have to heat your honey up if it gets to this condition. (This is still going wrong..)
Honey is naturally-resistant to microbial growth because of its low moisture content, low pH and antimicrobial composition. Honey can be used with sterile gauze as a compress to aid in the healing of minor ailments.
Now, it does eventually go bad. You might not see mold on it, but that doesn’t mean its nutrients, enzymes, aroma and flavor are stable. Color is a good indication of damage. If it’s dark brown, consider it non-nutritious at best, and harmful at worse.
I’d store a couple of years worth, at least. A couple of gallons a year is enough.
If you find yourself with excessive honey on hand, try your luck at making mead. Honey wine. It’s delish. Hubby and I served local mead at our wedding. Then of course there are honey cakes, and honey candy. Mmmm..
Anybody go the whole nine yards and tend bees? Any advice? I’d love to hear it. One of these days I’ll take the plunge.
– Calamity Jane