Can You Eat Honeycomb?

Most sweet-lovers are familiar with honey's sticky flavor. Chefs drizzle honey on top of pizza and stir swirls into ice cream. Those looking for sugar alternatives substitute spoonfuls into recipes and mix into beverages. But the waxy, chewy consistency of the actual honeycomb can give pause to enthusiastic eaters.

Beeswax consists of nearly 300 different compounds, with the exact composition and taste varying according to location (via Mother Earth News). Take spicy Italian Calabrian honey, for example, or the bitter corbezzolo honey from Sardinia. Yet honey found inside hexagonally-shaped bee hives doesn't need to be manufactured in order to eat, and the goopy honey found in stores is manufactured and processed (per Masterclass). Food Network claims that people have been eating honeycomb directly from nature for thousands of years, but are the gummy habitats of bees really something to eat, or is it better to stick to syrupy mixtures bottled up on shelves?

A naturally sweet, chewy treat

According to Livestrong, raw honeycomb contains unfiltered and unprocessed honey and is, in fact, good for you. In a study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, researchers concluded that honey can treat gastrointestinal diseases and ulcers, and are known to have anti-cancer properties.

Instead of reaching for the first honeycomb you find, Complete Beehives recommends looking for a honeycomb that is white or transparent. Fresh honeycomb is pliable, not brittle or hard. And if you do find yourself taking home a fresh chunk of honeycomb from a local farmer, be sure to store it correctly.

After you've found the perfect piece, sample honeycomb on its own or try pairing it with a food item that enhances the sugary flavor and texture. Asheville Bee Charmer suggests eating honeycomb alongside cheese, chocolate, or toast.

If you have a bee allergy, either to pollen or venom, Danish research warns that honeycomb may cause an allergic reaction. But if you're clear to enjoy, savor this natural dessert.