We all know the endless benefits of honey for health and weight loss while enjoying its naturally sweet taste. However, in this modern era, honey isn’t as natural as it was before; it became filtered and processed to satisfy the market’s needs. Many people have started looking for raw honey as it retains all its nutrients, while pasteurized honey may lack some of them.
Shopping for honey isn’t that simple, as you need to keep an eye out for nutrients, source of honey, and ethical beekeeping practices while browsing honey products, which isn’t all found on the label. So without further ado, here’s what you need to look for when buying your next honey jar.
Understand What Raw Honey Really is
Simply put, raw honey is what is found in the beehive, as it is, without any processing. It gets extracted from the honeycombs of the beehive, then gets purified from beeswax, dead bee parts, and other debris that might be in it. This is done by pouring it over a nylon cloth or mesh, which filters out all the unwanted impurities. Raw honey gets bottled straight after this process, ready for human consumption. It isn’t sent to a factory for any kind of pasteurizing, fermentation, or any unnatural processing. In fact, when honey is exposed to high temperatures, it loses vitamins, enzymes, and lots of other nutrients.
How to Know If Honey Is Raw
For inexperienced eyes, all honey might look the same, but if you know what you are looking for, you’ll spot the differences between processed and raw honey. If you are in a farmers’ market, ask the seller to taste the honey if possible; however, that’s not the only way to determine whether or not the honey is raw. You need to remember that honey can differ in taste based on several conditions, so the taste might only be different if it comes from a source you’ve never tried before.
Don’t Always Believe The Label
What some brands say on the label isn’t always reliable, so you must look at the honey jar; if the honey appears to be clean and with no visible particles or crystals, then it was processed, filtered, or heated. Raw honey, on the other hand, may still have less smooth liquid and crystalized. Keep in mind that any honey may crystalize if there was an exposure to heat, while raw honey may look clean exactly like processed honey. You may have to check several jars of the same seller to ensure whether it is raw or processed. You can also ask the seller specifically for raw honey, especially if you’re shopping at a health store.
Do Your Own Tests
There are some tests you can conduct at home after purchasing the honey to ensure it is raw. Bear in mind that these tests are not 100% accurate and conducting several tests is a must so you can estimate the purity of your honey. In the first test, you can put a small amount of honey on your thumb and check if it will spill or stick. Raw honey is usually thicker, so it sticks to surfaces while processed honey doesn’t. Another test involves putting a spoon of honey into warm water and stirring it just a bit. Raw honey won’t dissolve in the water as it isn’t mixed with sugar syrup like impure honey, yet some processed honey can pass this test. To check if there was added water to your honey, dip a cotton wick of a candle in your honey and light it. Raw honey is inflammable, so if the wick burns then the honey has no added water, if it doesn’t then the honey is impure. If you don’t want to experiment with fire for this test you can put the honey on a paper towel, and if it gets absorbed, then it has water content.
Where to Find Raw Honey?
You can find countless honey jars from different sellers in the supermarket. Naturally, you will look for any honey jar labelled “Raw” or “Unfiltered” to get raw honey. However, regulations on the labelling aren’t strict when it comes to honey, even jars labelled “local” aren’t necessarily manufactured in your country. Luckily, this is easier in some regions than others, especially if you live in Australia. When you shop for raw honey in Perth, you should find local bee farms near you, and if they are far from you, you can visit sellers who deal with bee farms directly. You can also check farmer’s markets or stores that sell natural products as you can verify the purity of honey, unlike global companies.
You Can Sometimes Find Raw Honey in a Pharmacy
If your local pharmacy has a small shop you might discover that they also sell raw honey. Why? Because raw honey is said to relieve seasonal allergies, relieving cough and can even be used to treat skin acne.
Hold it up to The Light
If you look closely at a jar of raw honey you will see fine textured crystals mixed in with the cloudy honey. You might also notice pollen, honeycomb bits, propolis and even the odd wing from a bee that was accidentally broke off. All these things are of course edible and really add to the taste and texture of raw honey.
Most Supermarket Honey is Not Raw
While it might use words to portray that it is raw like “pure” or “natural” most of the time it is not, just the usual pasteurized stye most people consume. There are still a few executions, but most of the time it is pointless looking in a supermarket for raw honey.
Colour of Honey
There are 3 different colours of honey, and each is different in taste. Honey of any colour can be raw, whether it is dark, mild, or light. Dark honey gives a bold taste that will give a better flavour to bland foods, while light-coloured honey is more of a sweetener without changing the taste of food or drinks drastically.
You don’t have to stick to one colour as you can use honey with different flavours in several recipes. Each colour gives a different taste, which makes it a very versatile ingredient to use in your dishes.
Taste of Honey
The saying “we are what we eat” applies also to bees. The flavour of honey depends on the flowers’ nectar the bees were fed. Some sellers put the type of flowers on the packaging to inform buyers of how it would taste. You can ask the seller for a taste test if possible to check if you like the favour, and if not, you can purchase a small sample. In sophisticated packaging, it will specify if the honey is monofloral or multi-floral which tells you if the bees fed on one type of flower or multiple ones.
The benefits of raw honey have been tried and tested for a long time. Because it’s filled with medicinal properties and nutrients, it shouldn’t be tampered with to ensure that you get all the nutrients from it. After knowing what to look for in honey, you can spot the difference between raw and processed honey and buy what’s better for you and your needs However, some people may get allergic reactions from honey if there’s pollen or bee parts in it, so make sure the pollen you’re opting for is not the type you’re allergic to. Further, don’t feed children under 12 months old raw honey as it may contain toxins that will develop botulism.