Honey—nectar of the gods, sublime sugar and golden goodness. It oozes from the lips of famous singers in the titles of songs from Mariah Carey, Erykah Badu and ABBA. It can be a nickname for a loved one, and the moniker of characters ranging from Gone with the Wind to Dr. No, and even animated favorite The Incredibles.
This powerhouse superfood buzzes its way through pop culture like few other foods. (Gwyneth Paltrow naming her child Apple does not count.) Not only is this divine liquid delicious, courtesy of hardworking bees, but it is actually good for you. Supremely good for you, in fact.
Allergies: Honey can act as homeopathic relief for allergies. When locally sourced honey is taken in regular doses, its small amount of pollen builds up the body's tolerance to regional allergens.
Burns, Blisters and Wounds: Applied topically, honey can soothe burns and wounds, including skin ulcers, with its antibacterial and disinfectant properties.
Dandruff: As an antifungal ingredient, honey can treat both dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis. As an anti-inflammatory, it also treats the associated itching and redness caused by fungus growth.
Hangovers & Nausea: Two to six spoonfuls of honey the morning after a big night out can calm a turbulent stomach by providing the body with potassium and fructose, which helps process alcohol. Also recommended before bedtime.
Sore Throat and Coughing: Honey with lukewarm tea or water and lemon is considered an old favorite by many. It has also been shown to relieve coughing, especially in children.
(Raw honey is best for consumption. Heating even to 98° causes damage to its delicate nutritional components.)
So, where to find this golden nectar of medicinal wonder? Buzz by every farmers' market and roadside stand in the county. Each one will have different producers from around San Diego, offering a variety of flavors and types of locally procured honey. While wildflower and orange blossom tend to be the most common, I've been lucky enough to discover blackberry, grapefruit (amazing on fresh fruit and yogurt), sage, and even avocado honey. The flavor profiles are astounding, with blackberry showing as rich and dense, while grapefruit is light and citrusy. For the savory, sage honey is unbeatable for pairing with meats and spiced dishes.
Our local brewers know how special honey can be and enjoy adding it to their liquid treasures.
Head to North Park for neighborhood favorite Mike Hess Brewing, which produces Orange Jucundus Wheat (6% ABV) with 2.2 pounds per barrel of 100% U.S. orange blossom honey and California orange peel. Canned and on tap, Jucundus is a popular core beer for the stellar brewery.
"Crafting a Comeback for the Bees," Golden Coast Mead in Oceanside re-creates the oldest alcoholic beverage in the world for the craft beer community of San Diego and Southern California. All gluten-free and sourced from Southern California, their nectar includes orange blossom and wildflower honeys and Palomar Mountain spring water. According to them, "every glass of mead contains the essence of over 200,000 flowers." You can find these amazing tributes to the bee in numerous locations around San Diego County.
However you take your honey, raise your glass or spoon to this superfood and to the amazing bees that make it. Help support our Southern California populations by buying local honey.
Warning: Honey is considered unsafe for children under 12 months of age. It can contain spores of Clostridium botulinum bacteria, which can cause infant botulism. Doctors recommend waiting until after age 1, when the digestive system is mature enough to handle the spores.