Can You Eat Honeycomb? The Do’s, Don’ts, and Maybes


Honeycomb of Western Honeybee with Eggs and Larvae

Most people know what honeycomb looks like as well as the fact that it can be found within beehives. Honeycomb is made by bees, and it is within these structures that they store both pollen and honey. Honeycomb is also used as a home for larvae, and it may contain small amounts of propolis, royal jelly, and bee pollen. Nevertheless, is honeycomb edible?

Yes. Like honey, honeycomb is edible and is perfectly safe to eat. So, you can eat the waxy cells as well as the honey within it.

Should You Eat Honeycomb?

Although honeycomb is edible, you may be hesitant and be wondering whether it is actually a good idea to eat it. Well, honeycomb is both safe and delicious and many people enjoy it as a tasty treat, especially when combined with other foods such as cheese, berries, nuts, and chocolate. Honeycomb is also commonly paired with bread, toast, and chutney for a scrumptious snack.

There is something to be aware of though, and this is that not all honeycomb tastes the same. In the same way that the taste of honey varies based on the flowers found in the vicinity of the beehive, environment also plays a role in the taste of honeycomb.

The Benefits of Eating Honeycomb

As well as its delicious taste, honeycomb is also rich in a number of nutrients, making it an extremely beneficially healthy snack. The raw honey within the honeycomb contains glucose oxidase, giving it antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. These properties are rarely found in commercial honey because of the way it is produced.

Another benefit of eating honeycomb is that you get the great taste of honey without any of the added sweeteners that is typically found in commercially processed honey.

The antioxidants found in raw honey help to reduce inflammation and promote good health, with research suggesting that polyphenols reduce the risk of illnesses such as heart disease, dementia, diabetes, and even some forms of cancer. The beeswax found in honeycomb can help to lower cholesterol in some people.

Honeycomb
Honeycomb

Can You Eat Honeycomb Straight from the Hive?

Yes, honeycomb can be eaten directly from the hive. When selecting honeycomb, it is better to eat the part that contains capped honey. You can chew on the waxy cells, which will release the honey into your mouth. You can either chew the wax up like gum and swallow it or else spit it out. Some people prefer to spread thin pieces of honeycomb onto toast or a piece of bread.

How to Eat Honeycomb

Now that you know honeycomb is edible, you might be wondering what the best way is to eat it. The simplest way to eat it is to just cut off a piece and chew it, either swallowing the waxy cells or spitting them out once you have had all the delicious honey. However, there are other ways to enjoy this mouth-watering treat as well.

Honeycomb can be effortlessly paired with other foods for a snack or as an after-dinner alternative to a dessert. For example, if you love a cheese board, why not add some honeycomb? Honeycomb is delicious with many cheeses, particularly salty varieties such as Manchego and Parmigiano Reggiano. To really wow guests at a dinner party, you could also add some nuts like walnuts and pecans, which pair really well with honeycomb and cheese.

Honeycomb can also be added to salads to make them more interesting. Some people love to add chunks of honeycomb with a delicious goat’s cheese such as feta to their salad to make it a more inviting meal.

Breakfast can also become more interesting when you add chunks of honeycomb. Think about spreading it over hot waffles or pancakes or even adding it to a steaming bowl of oatmeal. If you love Greek yoghurt, a chunk of honeycomb with some mixed berries will really hit the spot.

How Much Honeycomb is Safe to Eat?

Honeycomb is safe to eat but it should be eaten in moderation due to the fact that it can contain botulinum spores. Eating large quantities of honeycomb can therefore cause stomach problems in some people.

Warning: It is also important to be aware that honeycomb and honey should not be eaten by pregnant women and should never be given to children under the age of twelve months (because of the botulinum spores).

Another point to mention here is that honeycomb is high in sugar, so it should not be eaten in large amounts, regardless of how delicious it is!

What Does Honeycomb Taste Like?

Honeycomb itself is waxy and chewy but because it contains honey, the taste is quite sweet. If you have never had raw honey, you might be surprised at how different it tastes to commercial honey. Commercial honey is processed and is boiled before sweeteners are added. Raw honey is taken straight from the hive and is sweet and delicious. As mentioned above, the taste of raw honey will vary depending on the flowers predominantly found in the area around the hive.

Honey near to the inside of honeycomb often crystalizes, which can make it sweeter and more crunchy than regular honey.

How Long Does Honeycomb Last?

Just like honey, honeycomb could last forever if stored properly. It is important not to allow moisture or any other foreign substances to get into the container. This means, you should only use clean utensils to remove the honey and honeycomb from the container in which it is kept.

Honeycomb should be kept in a sealed container and stored at room temperature. Remember, honey will often crystalize, but you can simply warm it up to soften it again if you want to spread it.

If you have a lot of honey that you don’t think you will use for some time, you can freeze it. However, unless you have run out of storage space, this is not necessary.

Summary

Honeycomb is a product made by bees to store their honey as well as other by-products of their gathering lives. Honeycomb is a waxy substance that can be eaten along with the honey but should be done in moderation. Like honey, honeycomb does not expire when stored properly and can be eaten with other foods such as cheese, nuts, and chocolate for a delicious snack. Nevertheless, because of the fact that honey can contain botulinum spores, it should never be consumed by pregnant women and children under the age of twelve months.

Photo Credits:

  • Featured Image (Honeycomb of Western Honeybee with Eggs and Larvae): Waugsberg – CC BY-SA 2.5
  • Honeycomb: Merdal – CC BY-SA 3.0

Anthony

Anthony is a content creator by profession but beekeeping is one of his great passions.

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