Sweet's is the only elderberry syrup maker around who rotates our recipe's raw honey based on the season. This ensures you get the protective pollen for what's currently in bloom! Honey's benefits are tremendous - 27 minerals, 22 amino acids, 5,000 different live enzymes, hydrogen peroxide, and antioxidants. Together these kill bacteria and fungus, protect your body from cell damage, reduce inflammation, and ease digestion.
Honey has always been highly regarded as a medicine, for everything from sore throats and digestive discomfort to hay fever and acne. It's the only food we eat that contains pinocembrin, an antioxidant associated with improved brain function. Pinocembrin is also found in a couple of herbs - oregano and wild marjoram - as well as ginger root, another key ingredient in Sweet's Syrup!
Shopping for honey can be a confusing experience, so let's break it down.
So many choices...
Completely Raw Honey: It's unheated, unpasteurized, unfiltered and unstrained. Containing propolis (the "glue" used to hold a hive together), wax and pollen, it's full of beneficial live enzymes, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory compounds. It crystallizes easily, and might be crystallized when you buy it. Just put the container in a cup of warm water before use, and the honey will liquefy. The best place to find honey in its purest state is your local farmer's market.
Raw Unfiltered or Raw Strained: This honey may be strained to remove larger chunks. Possibly heated just enough to ease straining, it hasn't been heated enough to lose its raw, unpasteurized status. It still contains healthful live enzymes, pollen, and some propolis.
Creamed/Spun Honey: Some makers spin or blend their honey to create a creamy texture, but they may have pasteurized it to prevent crystallization. It's delicious, but is missing many of the key benefits of raw honey.
Pasteurized, or Showing No "Raw" Label: Most of the honey you find in mainstream grocery stores has been heated above "raw" standards, killing most beneficial enzymes. It tends to be very clear, and will crystallize slowly (if at all). The label may say "pure honey," but don't be fooled. There's no labeling standard for "pure honey," so it may well contain a filler like corn syrup. This honey has very few health benefits, and simply adds sugar to your diet.
When you find a good, quality honey, don't fret over whether it's labeled clover, wildflower, buckwheat, or orange blossom. There's a slight flavor variation depending on what plants the bees visited, but this doesn't affect nutritional value at all. More important is selecting a honey that is local to YOU. It will contain pollen from foliage native to your region, potentially helping you navigate allergy season. Check the label or ask the beekeeper where the honey was harvested.
Sweet's Syrup uses Herb's Honey - the finest in the Southeast - carefully preserving the live enzymes by pouring the raw honey ONLY after our syrup has cooled. If you're in a different region, blend raw honey harvested in your area with a Sweet's Do-It-Yourself Kit, or swallow a tablespoon alongside a daily dose of ready-made Sweet's Syrup.
- Tracy Dygert for Sweet's Syrup