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Metal vs. Wooden Honey Spoons

Updated: Apr 19

What's the scoop regarding using metal spoons with high quality honey? Does metal hurt or damage the honey? Is it a myth or real science? Do you need a designated honey spoon? Does metal obliterate the good properties found in honey? Let's take a closer look.

Just like other topics with "experts" on those topics - the metal spoon issue encompasses different point of views too. First, it is important to understad that honey is considered an organic acid. On the pH scale it registers between 3.4 to 6.1. Therefore metal components can break down or corrode when exposed to acid. This is what gave rise to concerns that metal ions can mix with honey and ultimately lead to a change in quality, taste, color, or even result in the destruction of beneficial enzymes. But…does it really?

Consider that high quality honey is stored and sold in glass or food grade plastic containers. I haven't seen honey stored for sale to consumers in metal containers. I have seen some large commercial honey companies store reserves of honey in large metal barrels. So, does coming into contact with metal really hurt honey?

I am not an expert. I am going to share with you a general overview of what I have read and researched on this subject over the course of the last few months. When honey comes into contact and remains in contact with metal it can absorb a small amount of metal and present with a metalic taste. Some experts believe that honey when honey comes in contact with metals like copper or iron (commonly found in spoons) these metals are capable of destorying beneficial enzymes. Metals like copper and iron react with the acids in honey to produce salts. This process kills off useful enzymes. Copper is known to react with acids in honey. It can produce toxic compounds too. Iron can also react with honey. It doesn't produce any toxins, but over time can change the taste of honey. Stainless steel is considered safe to use with honey and considered nonreactive. Silver is nonreactive as well and considered safe. Scientifically speaking, the effects of honey interacting with metal is not fully understood. Studies offer a mixed bag of reviews which is probably why we see warning articles floating online and posts about it on Facebook.

Why care about it? Enzymes are a very important part of honey. They include diastaste, invertase, glugose oxidase (not the type of gluten on a gluten restricted diet from what I have been told), catalase, and proteases. These enzymes help break down complex molecules making it easier for our bodies to digest and absorb.

It is importaint to remember from highschool chemistry class that chemical reactions may take time to occur and may not be immediate. If the chemical reaction we're talking about here creates salt and that salt reaction tears apart the enzymess... salt takes time to form! So, if you use a metal spoon do not leave it sitting inside your honey daily.

From my research, it is considered best practices to use a wooden spoon, wooden honey dipper, or plastic spoon to preserve the integrity of your honey. Wood or plastic are not reactive to honey whatsoever and will not cause harm to honey enzymes. You should properly store your honey in glass jars or food grade plastic jars. Keep your honey a cool dark place (not the refrigerator), away from direct sunlight, and away from heat.

Overall, there is no overwhelming evidence that concludes 100% all metals kill beneficial honey enzymes! There are enough studies and common sense approaches that find correlations based on how these metals interact with other acids as well as long term honey storage in metal. In my opinion, using a wooden or plastic designated honey spoon would negate any concern regarding the use of metal with honey. So, just do it.

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And now the next question of concern: what about all these insulated, metal drinking vessels that we use so much of? I received a Yeti version as a gift and was adding honey to my mushroom coffee in it. I felt I was adding a couple additional teaspoons of health but then realized that the honey would be sitting in the warm water in a metal container, potentially for 4 hours or more... I have since ceased adding honey to this container as I don't want to waste it's potential benefits.

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