What is raw honey and how to know if you are buying it?
Now that sugar addiction is scientifically proven, more and more people turn to honey to satisfy their sweet tooth. In an attempt to make a healthy swap, they sweep off every last bottle of honey from their local supermarkets, unknowingly stocking up on even more refined sugar. How is that possible? It turns out, all honey is called the same, but not all of it is processed in the same way. The product that you should be buying is called Raw Honey. Full of nutrients, antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and amino acids, it is the nature’s sweetest candy and its best medicine. But how is it different from the product standing on your kitchen shelf and how to know if the honey is raw? As people who take care of the bees and harvest raw honey, we have some answers!
What is raw honey?
The definition of raw honey is the following – a sweet, light-gold/amber/dark brown food substance produced by honeybees that is pure, unpasteurized, unheated, and unprocessed. In fact, it would have been called just regular honey if it wasn’t for the dominance of processed foods on the market. Raw honey is honey in its initial form – straight from the beehive, just as nature meant it to be. The only way true raw honey is “processed” is by light filtration to eliminate impurities. Other than that, it is untouched, which allows preserving all the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes.
How is commercial honey different?
The honey that we see flooding the supermarkets is pasteurized. It is clear, has a smooth texture, even colour, and is never crystallized. Why pasteurize honey? To kill the yeast cells and bacteria that raw honey may contain, improve their appearance and shelf-life to increase the sales. However, there is one significant downside to pasteurization – it destroys the nutrients in honey, stripping it of all the benefits and leaving you with, well, plain glucose syrup! Some manufacturers even add refined sugar to the honey to enhance the taste. So while you are helping yourself to a spoonful of what you think is a natural sugar alternative, you are actually loading up on the very thing you try so hard to avoid!
So how to know if honey is raw?
Though commercial honey prevails on the market, some retailers do offer healthier alternatives. To make sure you are buying raw honey, look at the label. It should say “100% raw” or “unpasteurized”. Words like “organic” and “pure” do not indicate that the honey was unheated. If the label passed the test, look at the product more closely. Raw honey is cloudier and creamier than the regular one. It may also be crystallized or set, which some people perceive as an indication that honey has gone bad. However, it is not so. You can easily reverse the crystallization at home by putting the jar of honey into hot water. The high temperature will melt the crystals and make the product liquid again. However, be careful not to overheat the honey as it destroys all the healthy nutrients.
What is the best raw honey to buy?
Now that you know the definition of raw honey, you must be wondering where to purchase it. Raw honey is not hard to find. It is widely available at farmers’ markets, supermarkets, and grocery stores all over the world. And you will have no problem finding it using our “How to know if honey is raw?” guide. If you want to save time – shop online! On BeeBaltic.com you will find 100% raw, unheated, and unpasteurised honey harvested organically and ethically from the untouched meadows and forests of Lithuania. Our products are tested in certified European laboratories to ensure that the honey we provide to our customers is free from harmful bacteria, antibiotics, and pesticides. Click here to check out our selection of raw honey. Within our catalogue, you will find traditional forest and wildflower varieties as well as the Baltic alternative to famous Manuka honey! For more information about our products, don’t hesitate to contact us at any time!