Comparing Commercial and Locally Produced Raw Honey


Oregon Honeycomb from Beekeeping

Did you know that by definition approximately 75 percent of store-bought commercial honey is not honey at all? As defined by the FDA, all authentic honey contains pollen. To most of us that would seem pretty normal, I think; however, most of the commercially available honey contains very little or no pollen at all.

Traditionally, honey is heated and filtered so it will remain liquid longer. In an effort to keep honey’s natural crystallization from occurring, most commercial honey is heated and pasteurized, eliminating its fragrance and changing the chemical composition of the honey itself. At these high temperatures, the honey is then ultra-filtered. Ultra filtering is a high-tech procedure whereby honey is heated, sometimes watered down with corn syrup or other sweet, non-honey products and then forced at high pressure through extremely small filters to remove pollen, which is the only foolproof sign identifying the source of the honey. It is a spin-off of a technique refined by the Chinese, who have dumped tons of their honey on the U.S. market for years. The pollen is removed to prevent tracing where the honey came from.

It’s during the process of pasteurization that much of the nutritional content of raw honey is destroyed. Powerful antioxidants, enzymes, and vitamins are destroyed when heat is applied to raw honey. Raw honey is anti-viral, anti-fungal and antibacterial in nature, but the same cannot be said about most commercial honey because of the heating process that is applied. Frankly, it's probably akin to sitting down and eating from a bag of refined sugar if you’re using store-bought commercial honey.

Backyard Beekeeping in Oregon

‘My Honey Has Crystallized. Has it Gone Bad?’

No, honey virtually never spoils. Archaeologists have found honey in ancient Egyptian tombs that was still edible. Bacteria cannot grow in real honey. It's high acidity and tiny amounts of naturally occurring hydrogen peroxide prevent bacteria from growing. Therefore raw honey never spoils. Don’t put your honey in the refrigerator if you don't want it to crystallize. Cold temperatures speed the crystallization of honey; however, you can gently heat it in a sauce pan of water to liquefy it and still maintain its healthful qualities. Most honey will crystallize eventually and many people prefer it that way. Spoon it into tea where it melts quickly or spread it on toast.

12/16/2014 10:06:21 PM

Great article, very informative, thanks.

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