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Awhile back me and the missus were enjoying a meal at KFC. You remember KFC -used to be known as “Kentucky Fried Chicken” before people started becoming more health conscious and that word “fried” started scaring away the customers.  So the clever folks in marketing decided the restaurants should just be called by their initials from now on, and it worked like a charm. The customers started coming back.

It worked on me. I don’t like being reminded I’m chewing on chicken skin soaked in fat anymore than you do. So thanks, KFC! Out of sight, out of mind.

So the wife and I were sitting at the table, slathering our biscuits with butter and honey, when I happened to read the honey packet.  It didn’t simply read “Honey.” It read “Honey Sauce.”

What the heck is “honey sauce,” I wondered?

I turned the packet over and read the ingredients.  Surprise! The first ingredient wasn’t honey. It was High Fructose Corn Syrup. I knew what that was. it’s some sweet substance that’s cheaper to process than sugar. It’s like sugar – only worse than sugar.

The next ingredient wasn’t honey either, it was Corn Syrup. I knew what that was, too. It’s Karo Syrup(TM), that clear thick sticky stuff my mother kept in the cupboard.  Okay, third time’s the charm; this next ingredient would have to be honey.

It wasn’t. Survey says…Sugar! The third ingredient in Honey Sauce was good old refined white sugar, dissolved in and mixed with the Corn Syrup and the High Fructose Corn Syrup.

By the time I got to the fourth ingredient, there it was: honey! The final ingredient in Honey Sauce was caramel coloring, so all that syrup would at least look a little bit like honey (it still didn’t).

To recap: the substance I was spreading onto my biscuit was made up of sugar, sugar, sugar, a little tiny bit of honey, and some coloring. And here’s the kicker: my wife admitted she liked the taste of this stuff better than real honey. Probably because she was raised on this fake stuff and never knew it.

Real honey should be one of the staples in your food storage, because honey has been known to last for hundreds of years  It’s the ideal stored food.

But a lot of the honey you find at the grocery store is no better than that stuff in the KFC Honey Packets -and some of it is worse.

Many Honey distributors have little way of knowing who packed their honey and where. Because of the bee shortage in America, natural honey is getting expensive, and some packers are “stretching” their stock with corn syrup and other additives.

Worse yet, quite a bit of honey sold in America now comes from China and India, and is found to be contaminated with impurities. A lot of it is then thinned with sugar and corn syrup to keep the cost down.

It’s illegal to import honey from China or India into America, but most of it gets through. Researchers have found that 75 percent of all honey sold at major name drug stores is the kind of honey you don’t want. Even when you shop for honey at a grocery store, you’re taking a chance unless you really know your stuff.

EfoodsDirect recommends you purchase staples like sugar, flour, and honey locally. These things are heavy and expensive to ship. Other food storage companies pad their year’s supply packages with these cheap items which saves them money but leads the customers into thinking they’re getting more, but EfoodsDirect prefers to fill your orders with quality meals you can’t obtain elsewhere. You can get your own sugar and honey locally and save yourself money.

If you plan on storing honey, you should make sure you get it locally. That means direct from the source, when possible. A good source is your local farmer’s market. Another is a health food store such as Whole Foods. You can look on the internet for organic honey or local honey sellers in your town. You shouldn’t have any trouble finding some; there are beekeepers everywhere.

You can still find decent honey in some stores, but it’s always a good idea to research even the most familiar brands on the internet. Be aware, though, that even that is no guarantee you’re getting quality. Avoid buying honey with the word “filtered” on the label, as it may seem like that’s proof the honey is pure, but it’s actually an indication that the honey has been imported. All honey is going to be filtered enough to remove pieces of honeycomb and other detritus from the hive. But filtering honey more than is necessary is a way nefarious importers have found to eliminate the honey’s “fingerprint” that would identify its place of origin. U.S. Customs agents can’t refuse honey from the Near East if they can’t identify it as originating in the Near East. Honey close to the hive will be a darker caramel shade; it it looks too light and “clean” that should raise a red flag.

Unfortunately you’re going to have to pay much more than you had hoped to for good quality honey, but if you buy from a local beekeeper you may be surprised at the higher quality. If you notice a substantial difference in taste, that would be an indication that the honey you’ve been buying all these years is more corn syrup than honey.  If you are looking at a container of honey in the grocery store that is priced considerably cheaper than what your local beekeeper is asking, beware. The cheaper stuff is that much cheaper because it’s made with cheaper ingredients.

If you wind up storing the cheap stuff, in ten or twenty years when you go to open it, it may be rancid. Honey will last practically forever. Corn Syrup won’t.

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