Have you ever had the divine experience of eating comb honey?
If not, you really need to try it! Not only is it delicious, it’s also beautiful and always feels extra special no matter how you enjoy it.
If you’re curious about what comb honey is and what to do with it, get some inspiration below and give it a try!
What Is Comb Honey?
Comb honey is actually where regular liquid honey comes from inside a beehive of honey bees.
Before honey is extracted for bottling, it is made and stored by the bees in hexagonal cells. These cells have been carefully constructed out of beeswax, which allows the bees to keep the honey clean and unspoiled.
The comb has many purposes in the hive, the most important of which is storage. Bees will store pollen, and nectar, and even raise new bees inside the cells.
In the case of honey, it’s the nectar that becomes honey through a process of evaporation and mixing with bees’ digestive enzymes. Once the nectar reaches the right moisture level, around 18%, the bees will “cap” or seal the cell with a thin layer of wax to preserve it. This method helps keep the honey stable, where it can keep from spoiling just about indefinitely.
This honey can look either very pale or dark, depending on if it’s “dry” or “wet” capped. This refers to if there is a small air pocket between the honey and wax capping, known as dry or white capped honey, or if the cap makes direct contact with the honey, known as wet or black capping.
The color of the honey inside, determined by the nectar it was made from, can also influence the outer appearance of the comb honey.
Comb honey is fully edible and is often considered a specialty food product. This is because it’s of more value to beekeepers since building out all the wax comb takes a lot of work for the bees.
Harvesting the comb itself means the bees will have to rebuild it before they’re able to make more honey. In the case of honey extraction, the honey is spun out of the uncapped cells to preserve the comb and give it back to the bees to reuse.
As such, it is often more expensive than liquid honey despite there being less processing for the beekeeper.
Ideas for Using Comb Honey
There are so many great ways to enjoy comb honey.
You can be as simple or elaborate as you want with all kinds of different presentations and applications. Try whatever calls to you, or get some inspiration with these ideas.
1. Keep it Simple
Comb honey is delicious and completely edible, so if you’ve never gotten to try it before the best thing to do is take a bite.
There’s nothing quite like chewing on comb honey, and it really is an experience unto itself!
2. Dress Up a Charcuterie Board
A charcuterie or cheese board is a great way to be creative and use ingredients you really love.
You may have seen honey used on a board before, but placing a big chunk of comb honey among other high quality meats, cheese, and fruits really brings it to the next level. Add a small knife so it’s easy to cut off a small piece and spread it onto a cracker or fresh bread.
It adds extra flavor and texture to your favorite combinations all in one bite. Comb honey pairs well with all kinds of cheese, fruit, cured meats, nuts, and bread or crackers.
You could also step it up and pre-assemble the perfect bite, layering things like herbed goat cheese, fig, and comb honey on top of a freshly toasted slice of baguette.
3. A Unique Cocktail Garnish
Coming up with creative cocktails is fun, and sometimes the garnish on a drink can be the best part.
Mix up the cocktail of your choice, especially one that has honey as a sweetener in the recipe already.
Then just take a small piece of comb honey and either pass a straw right through the center or stick it to the rim of the glass just like you would a slice of lime.
4. Elevated Dinner Presentation
Sometimes adding an interesting garnish to finish a dish makes it feel extra special.
Do something a little different and use a small piece of comb honey instead of more common options. It’s quick, easy, and impactful for a meal your guests will never forget.
This would work nicely on top of a salad, a chilled soup, a fruit salad, and so many other dishes.
5. Make Breakfast a Special Moment
Everyone knows it’s important to start your day off right, and for many people that means a bowl of oatmeal, fruit, or yogurt.
A super easy way to give yourself a perfect morning moment is to add comb honey to your bowl. It dissolves nicely into hot cereals with a stir, or adds amazing flavor and texture to a smoothie, fruit, or yogurt bowl.
It’s versatile and would be a delicious addition to the breakfast you already love and enjoy every morning.
6. Baked Goods and Dessert Will Never Be the Same
Whether you’re making gourmet cupcakes for a party or having a bowl of ice cream in front of your favorite movie, comb honey pairs well with almost any dessert.
Top just about anything with rough chunks of comb honey to add a whole new element to round out a meal. Try it with a slice of rich chocolate cake, freshly baked pie, or even a warm cookie–you really can’t go wrong!
Frequently Asked Questions About Comb Honey
Where can I find comb honey?
A great place to start if you’re looking for comb honey would be your local grocery or specialty food store.
You can also check out farmers markets in your area. If you don’t find it for sale there, chances are there’s someone you can ask who would know of someone selling comb honey. Look for local bee clubs or beekeeping supply stores, which will give you a sure way of finding someone with comb honey made in your own community.
You can also find it online, and there are some links below to quality comb honey if you’re not sure where to look.
How is comb honey packaged?
There are a few different ways you might see comb honey sold.
How should I store comb honey?
Like extracted liquid honey, comb honey practically never goes bad.
As long as you keep it in a closed container to avoid letting excess moisture in, it’s very unlikely to spoil. The best place to store it is in a cabinet or pantry, out of direct sunlight and at room temperature.
In lower temperatures, you might see a little bit of crystallization of the honey but this is nothing to worry about.
If you haven’t opened the container in a while, just check for anything by sight or smell that seems off. If it looks and smells normal, you should be good to go!
Comb Honey Is a Magical Experience
This is just a starting place for all the ways you can use comb honey, so get creative and try something new.
It can make anything feel more fancy and special, and it’s sure to impress your guests who will want to start using comb honey too.Comb honey is only possible due to the hard work of bees, and they only get more fascinating the more you learn!
- About the Author
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Hope Schwartz-Leeper is an avid reader, writer, and lover of all things nature with degrees in English and Philosophy.
Born and raised in the Northeast, Hope has always had an affinity for spending time outside. Growing up and attending college in New York, then living on Cape Cod and finally settling in Rhode Island has given her plenty of experience with the climate and environment of these areas.
She loves growing her own food and plants and is always trying to grow something new. She’s hoping her apple trees will one day bear fruit, but for now she’s excited about anything that comes from the garden.