Does heating honey make it poisonous? Is heated honey devoid of all health benefits? Does heating honey destroy the honey?
These are just some of the questions we’ve received over the years about heating up honey, both in production and in home use.
Heated Honey = Toxic Honey?!
First, let’s assuage the most serious concern – no, heating honey will not turn it toxic and kill you. Heating up raw honey will change the makeup of the honey, and potentially weaken or destroy enzymes, vitamins, minerals, etc (more on this in a second) but it will not give you a horrible disease or poison you. Yes, this is something that we’re asked.
Heating & Nutrition
As for the nutritional benefits of honey – yes, heating the honey can damage them. It does depend on how much the honey is heated and for how long, however.
For instance – can you heat honey to 95 degrees? We certainly hope so, since it can reach that temperature inside the beehive itself. Heating honey to around this temperature is just fine, and will leave the health benefits of the raw honey in tact.
Heating up crystallized honey is a great way to make the honey more liquid and easier to handle, and will leave the healthy stuff in the honey in tact. Just don’t go too far above that 95 degree mark and you’ll be fine.
Cooking with Honey
Cooking with honey is a bit trickier. The prolonged exposure to very high temperatures in the oven or on the grill will most certainly degrade the beneficial enzymes and even the taste of your honey. Raw honey has many delicate and nuanced flavors that will be lost when exposed to that type of heat. That doesn’t mean it won’t taste good or that you shouldn’t do it! It’s just a different application for the honey.
If you’re looking for the maximum honey taste of the honey varietal you purchased and the maximum health benefits, you want to keep it pretty much raw and eat it that way – if you’re looking to add some sweetness and honey flavor to your dinner, you can cook it all you want!