Unfortunately, far too many people pick up honey at their local grocery store and think they are getting something healthy and nutritious. However, what they are usually getting is nothing more than a sticky substance that is packed with sugars. If you truly want honey with some real benefits, make sure you are getting “raw” honey.
The simplest way to describe raw honey is that it is honey just as it is in the beehive. The only “filtering” that happens with this type of honey is actually a straining, when they separate the raw honey from the beeswax and dead bees in the honeycombs. After the raw honey is strained, it is good to go.
Most honey you see at the grocery store has a few extra steps involved, which is why it looks so different from a raw honey like Manuka honey. Those honeys are pasteurized, which means high heat is applied to the honey to destroy the yeasts naturally found in the honey. The purpose for this is to extend the shelf life of the honey so it can sit on those store shelves for months without going bad.
In addition, the honey is really filtered, not just strained. This process removes the bubbles as well as any remaining debris that may be in the honey. This process also gives it that smooth, golden look most people associate with honey.
Other honeys will take the filtration process a step further, which are honeys you really want to avoid. They call this process ultrafiltration. While it makes the honey more aesthetically appealing to consumers, it also removes many of the nutrients and benefits people associate with raw honey. To add further deception, some labels will stretch the honey yield by adding addition sugars or other form of sweetener to the honey, in essence turning it into a form of liquid candy.
Raw honey is popular in the health niche because of the naturally occurring amino acids, minerals, enzymes, and vitamins. Processed honey rarely contains bee pollen, which where many of those nutrients come from. Food Safety News published a report in 2011 showing that more than 75 percent of honey sold in stores had no pollen and an amazing 100 percent of the honey at major pharmacies, such as CVS and Walgreens, had no bee pollen in it. While that number has surely changed over the last seven years, it still shows the need to read the label and make sure you are actually getting healthy honey when buying from these outlets.
Something else to keep in mind is that organic honey is NOT the same as raw honey. The organic label simply means the bees nor the flowers have come into contact with any type of chemicals and/or pesticides as defined by the USDA. Here in the United States, organic honey can still be filtered and/or processed.
If you really want to try raw honey, give some of our Manuka honey a try. We offer regular Manuka honey, Manuka Honey UMF 16+, Blue Borage Honey (which is great for cooking), and New Zealand Kamahi honey. To get your order started, click here.