Raw honey is physically designed to preserve with 95% sugar solids absorbing bacteria through osmosis. The bees themselves add an enzyme to the nectar before it morphs into honey that develops hydrogen peroxide which aids preservation. Honey has a PH of around 3.9 which is similar to a mild vinegar, another reason for edging out the breakdown of foods. In addition, honey is hygroscopic, which means it absorbs moisture from it’s environment and holds on to it like a sweet sponge, this contributes to it’s moist longevity and preserving abilities.Raw Honey....yum!!!
Apicius, a Roman from the 1st century B.C., used honey religiously in well over half the recipes he compiled. Constantly mixing it with savory items like pepper, herbs, salt and meats. He suggested in his book to, “Cover whatever fresh meat you wish to preserve with a layer of honey.”
Columella, over 100 years later had a similar suggestion, “Arrange (Quinces) lightly and loosely…in a new flagon…they do not deteriorate any further once they have …(honey) added to them:for such is the nature of honey that it checks any corruption and does not allow it to spread.”
Throughout history food preservation was a common practise. Indians, Romans and Chinese kept their meats sealed in honey from year to following year. Fully submerged meats remained free from spoilage and were delicious when finally eaten. Nuts and fruits maintained freshness and flavor for years and honeyed cakes were lush and long lasting.
If you are interested in giving honey preservation a try I would suggest trying nuts. Make sure your honey is raw and fully submerge the chosen nuts. Try your experiment often and compare your results!