Honey has emerged as a true superfood. But while it's great in hot tea, boiling honey itself has a negative impact on almost every aspect of what makes it such a delicious and nutritious gift from nature. Aside from diminishing its color, fragrance and flavor, boiling honey also destroys the natural properties that can keep it preserved for literally thousands of years.
Texture and Color Change
Water evaporates from boiling honey. Since honey contains approximately 70 percent sugar and less than 20 percent water, there isn't much water to spare. Evaporation concentrates the honey and makes it thicker, darker and less translucent.
Flavor Intensity Lessens
Much of the flavor in honey comes from the volatile oils in the nectar of the plants sampled by the bees that create the honey. This is why clover honey has a different flavor from lavender, orange blossom or tupelo honey. These essential oils are delicate and easily broken down, so boiling honey can weaken the aroma and lessen honey's rich, natural flavor.
Raw and unfiltered honeys contain beneficial enzymes that break down sugars. (This is why honey has been used since ancient times as a digestive aid.) Honey also contains potent antimicrobial, antibacterial and antifungal properties. Some types of honey, such as manuka, are so potent in fighting bacteria that hospitals are testing them to fight meticillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), the superbug that has become resistant to penicillin and other antibiotics. Boiling honey can weaken or destroy powerful enzymes, not only lessening honey's medicinal properties but also making it more likely to develop bacteria or mold.
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Emmy-award nominated screenwriter Brynne Chandler is a single mother of three who divides her time between professional research and varied cooking, fitness and home & gardening enterprises. A running enthusiast who regularly participates in San Francisco's Bay to Breakers run, Chandler works as an independent caterer, preparing healthy, nutritious meals for Phoenix area residents.