Tupelo Honey is a premium American sweethoney — and, some say, it’s also Van Morrison’s best album. But it’s cheap ($16 for 12 ounces) compared to designer honey from Turkey that runs about $194 an ounce.
This new global market for super-honey is why North American consumers should BEEware. There’s a buzz about counterfeit honey flooding our grocery store shelves and it’s threatening not just your enjoyment of a cuppa tea—and your wallet—it could sap honey’s health benefits.
Since we stopped China from dumping cheap honey on the U.S. market, they’ve started selling it to other countries, where it’s repackaged after distributors wave local fruit or herbs over it and declare it to be “Genuine Exotic Honey.” When the honey shows up here, it’s been filtered, so pollen (and some healthy ingredients) have been removed. There’s no way to check its origin (pollen is honey’s “DNA” fingerprint).
Note from Chef Marilyn: buy local honey for best results in fighting allergies
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The sweet solution? Senate bill S-662, is designed to protect farmers from unscrupulous overseas honey exporters; let’s hope it passes. But whether it does or not, you should opt for local, raw or unfiltered honey that still contains all the healthy ingredients. If you aren’t overweight or don’t have prediabetes or diabetes, honey’s high glycemic index—it’s 70-80% sugar—shouldn’t prevent you from occasionally enjoying a small (less than 1/2 a teaspoon) amount. It can help suppress a cough, ease heartburn, promote sleep, and boost immunity (try drinking a tiny amount of honey and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice in a 1/2 cup of hot water). Sweet!