Whether or not honey is a good survival food is a common question. I mean, who doesn’t want a viable long-term natural source of a sweetener? To help you decide whether or not honey is a good choice, I will give you all the answers you need.
Honey is a good survival food because it is nutritious, calorie-dense, and has an amazingly long shelf life. Besides being a great sweetener, honey also has antibacterial properties, which are a big bonus in a survival situation.
Honey is one of the oldest delicacies in human history. It is a very popular choice of food, especially among survivalists. If you read any prepping or survival materials, you will not go very far without coming across the mention of or recommendation of honey as a survival food. Let’s take a look at why this is and how honey should be stored.
What Makes Honey a Good Survival Food
Honey is a good survival food because of its unique properties that make it not spoil. However, it may eventually crystallize, which is actually just a change in appearance and not a sign that it has gone bad. It also has anti-microbial traits that make it its own preservative.
Honey is very nutritional, and it is calorie-dense. There are about 60 calories in a single tablespoon. And the fact that it doubles as a really good natural sweetener is a huge bonus.
Interestingly, these anti-bacterial properties don’t just prolong the shelf life of honey but also make it suitable for use in healing wounds. It helps the healing process by preventing infection and keeping the wound moist for faster healing.
If necessary, honey may also be used as bait to capture small animals that may be used as food. Raccoons, possums, and many other animals are drawn to honey.
The Best Honey for Long-Term Storage
First off, honey has an indefinite shelf life. More on that in a bit.
Basically, the best honey for long-term storage is the one that you most like the taste of and one that won’t crystallize too quickly. I mean, crystallized honey can still be eaten, but it’s much better if it stays close to its natural state as long as possible.
So before I overcomplicate a fairly straightforward topic, let’s look at a few common types of honey. Among these are:
- Comb Honey
Comb honey is raw honey stored by the bees with all the beeswax included in its composition.
- Raw Honey (extracted honey)
Raw honey is the type of honey that has been extracted from the cells, sometimes using a centrifuge device.
- Creamed Honey (granulated honey)
Granulated or creamed honey is made from a mixture of one part fine crystals of crystallized honey and 9 parts of extracted honey. The mixture is then stored at an average of 56 degrees until it becomes a firm cream.
- Chunk Honey
Chunk honey is a blend of comb honey and liquid honey. Different amounts of heat are applied when processing honey.
The lesser the amount of heat used in processing honey, the richer its taste. The drawback associated with honey types that are subjected to minimal heat during processing is the fact that such types are vulnerable to sugar-tolerant yeasts that cause the honey to ferment. That’s something we don’t really “mead,” do we?
On the other hand, when high temperatures (of 160 degrees) and above are used when processing honey, the problem of granulation is eliminated, but the exposure of honey to such high temperatures usually eliminates natural enzymes found in honey. And, if honey is over-processed, it loses its natural enzymes and rich flavor.
So what’s the happy medium? Based on a comparison of all four types of honey, creamed honey is often the best option for long-term storage. This is because it has a well-balanced composition and is not over-processed.
Honey Shelf Life
Commercial or processed honey has a shelf life of approximately two years. Honey that has been stored in perfectly sealed containers may last stable for decades and even centuries. As you know, honey undergoes both physical and chemical changes while in storage.
For instance, it darkens and loses its flavor and aroma. However, it is worth noting that the changes in color and appearance are usually harmless. While commercial honey packages limit the storage of honey to 2, 3, or 5 years, natural, properly preserved, and stored honey does not go rancid, nor will it truly expire.
How to Store Honey for the Long Term
The fact that honey has an indefinite shelf life does not render it indestructible. Proper storage practices are necessary to preserve honey in its best form possible.
For granulated honey, it requires storage under 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This type of honey must also be stored below 70 percent humidity in order to prolong its shelf life. All other types of honey must be stored under similar conditions. Also, ensure to keep the honey in a closed container, like this one found on Amazon, to prevent contamination.
It is also necessary to keep the jar containing honey away from sunlight to avoid heating and degradation of honey as a result of exposure to direct sunlight.
How Much Honey Should I Store for a Year?
It is healthy to keep a stockpile of honey as a means of staying prepared. How much honey you need to store depends on a few factors. One thing to note is that honey is quite expensive, so you have to pay for the luxury.
The good thing is that if you use honey as a sweetener, you will notice that a little amount of honey does the trick as compared to the quantity you need to use with alternative sweeteners. For people who may be considered as heavy users of honey, up to but not exceeding five liters of honey is enough for two individuals for an entire year. A little goes a long way.
Of course, for average people, you only need to store about 2 liters per individual.
How Long Can an Individual Survive on Honey Alone?
An individual can survive on honey alone for a limited amount of time, say, one week at a time. However, it is not recommended for a prolonged time period unless you absolutely have to do so to survive in do-or-die situations.
Prolonged survival on honey by itself will likely have some undesirable effects. One of the first signs of issues manifests itself as abdominal discomfort. This is because honey is mainly composed of fructose, and eating too much of it interferes with the small intestine’s ability to absorb nutrients.
Also, eating honey alone does not provide your body with a balanced diet. Honey is mostly composed of sugars, so it will provide your body with carbohydrates only. However, if you have honey that contains brood (the eggs, larvae, and pupae), it is advisable to eat that as well because it contains protein and fats.
In brief, an individual can survive on honey by itself for quite some time, but it is not recommended under normal circumstances due to the side effects. Instead, honey should be thought of as but an accompaniment to the staple foods in your survival diet.
Where Is the Best Place to Buy Honey for My Survival Stores?
Where you buy the honey is less important than what you buy. Raw, unfiltered honey will keep the longest. But you don’t have to hunt around or go to a farmer’s market. There are good options available on Amazon, such as this made-in-the-USA brand. (Click the link to see Amazon pricing)
Whether you are prepping and building a survival stockpile or are trying to complete that food kit for wilderness travel, it’s important to choose foods that are versatile and long-lasting. In my opinion, honey is virtually a must-have survival food, and no kit or stockpile is complete without it. Its caloric density and overall versatility are unmatched among other survival food. Thanks for stopping by!
Why does honey have such a long shelf life? The reason honey lasts so long is due to an enzyme located in the stomach of bees. When honey is being made by a bee, the nectar becomes acidic, which basically eliminates the ability of bacteria to grow.
What foods can last forever? Several foods can last forever, including unseasoned salt, raw honey, alcohol, powdered milk, ghee, dried lentils, and corn starch. Also, soy sauce can last forever if unopened due to its high salt content.
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Anne James has a wealth of expertise in a wide array of interests, including quilting, cooking, gardening, camping, and making jelly.
She has a professional canning business and has been featured in the local newspaper, and has been her family canner for decades. Anyone growing up in the South knows that there is always a person in the family who has knowledge of the “old ways,” and this is exactly what Anne is.
With over 55 years of experience in these endeavors, she brings a level of hands-on knowledge that is hard to surpass.
Lovingly known as “Jelly Grandma” by her grandkids, Anne hopes your visit here has been a sweet one.