What Is Honeycomb Made Of and Can You Eat It?

What is honeycomb made of? Wax? Honey? Some other bee-based product we’ve never heard of? Let’s get down to bees-ness (that’s bee business) and find out. 

Bees are incredible creatures. They are crucial for ecosystems because they pollinate plants. They can communicate in complex ways by dancing. And if they sting you, they die—how noble! And I haven’t even gotten to one of bees’ most useful traits: their ability to make honey. This ubiquitous sweetener famously never goes bad, which is a wild concept, and it is delicious—just ask Winnie the Pooh. 

But while you have likely tried honey, maybe you’ve never had honeycomb. What is honeycomb, exactly? What’s it made from? Can you eat honeycomb? Let’s scoop out some answers. 

What is honeycomb made of?

Honeycomb is the yellow, hexagonal part of the beehive. It is made of beeswax (as in the expression “none of your beeswax”). This beeswax comes from the abdomens of worker bees. The bees chew and soften it, then form it into the characteristic comb shape.

Is honeycomb edible?

While the word “wax” may make this sound like something you shouldn’t eat (I wouldn’t recommend chowing down on a crayon or a candle, for example), fear not: Honeycomb is edible. Though it won’t be entirely digested by your body, there’s no harm in chewing and swallowing a piece of honeycomb. There may even be some nutritive value due to the vitamins and minerals hiding out in the comb.

What does honeycomb taste like?

Unsurprisingly, honeycomb has a distinctive “honey” taste. Beyond that, there is a waxy flavor that is slightly sweet and quite mild. Additionally, honeycomb made by bees that have visited different plants will have different flavor profiles, just as honey does. One of the most popular kinds of honeycomb is clover honeycomb, which is mild and sweet, but you can also find wildflower and sometimes even tupelo honeycomb.

How to eat honeycomb

Honeycomb can be plopped right in your mouth and chewed on like a piece of gum. It has a waxy texture (unsurprisingly), and while your body isn’t able to fully digest it, there’s no harm in eating it and it can add some fiber to your diet. 

Honeycomb is often placed alongside meat and cheese on a charcuterie platter as a pop of sweetness. You can also spread it on bread or an English muffin, or mix it in with oatmeal or yogurt

What Is honeycomb candy?

While there is at least one candy available that utilizes honeycomb—Chuao makes a chocolate-covered honeycomb—the term “honeycomb candy” generally refers to a confectionary treat made from granulated sugar, corn syrup, and a little honey. (It shows up on The Great British Baking Show a lot.) There is, in fact, no actual honeycomb in honeycomb candy, generally speaking. Instead, it gets its name from the treat’s web of bubbles that are reminiscent of honeycomb. If you’re interested in making some yourself, Southern Living has a simple recipe. 

About the Author

Matt Crowley

Matt Crowley is a comedy writer living in Los Angeles. He likes maple-flavored snacks, loves every kind of cheese, and is slowly learning to accept mushrooms.

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