When shopping for honey consumers have two options: raw versus regular. The next question is: which is better?
To answer this it’s important to understand the differences:
Raw Honey vs Regular Honey
Simply put, raw honey is extracted from the beehive and strained to remove impurities like beeswax and dead bees. It’s then bottled and ready for consumption.
Regular honey goes through a multi step process involving pasteurization and filtration. Pasteurization is performed by applying high heat to destroy the yeast found in honey. This promotes a longer shelf life and smoother texture.
Filtration removes even more impurities like debris and air bubbles, which keeps the honey as a clear liquid for a longer period of time. Consumers typically prefer a clear appearance as opposed to cloudy.
In addition, some commercial honeys go through an ultrafiltration step to make it more transparent and smooth.
Because their processes are different it provides distinctions in quality between the two. The following are three reasons that raw honey is better for your health than regular honey:
Raw Honey – More Nutritious
- Contains amino acids, vitamins, minerals & enzymes
- Contains polyphenols, which act as antioxidants
- Contains bee pollen, which has 250+ substances including antioxidants, micronutrients, vitamins, amino acids, & essential fatty acids
Regular Honey – No Bee Pollen
- Heat and ultrafiltration processes can destroy the naturally occuring pollen
- Unofficial studies have shown that 75% of commercial honey brands contain no pollen
Regular Honey – Hidden Sugars
- Because US demand for honey is so high 70% is imported from other countries
- There’s concern that added sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup are being added to these honey products
It’s important to note that organic honey isn’t necessarily the same as raw. Organic means it meets the organic livestock standards of the USDA (United States Dept. of Agriculture.) Bees, flowers and honey can’t have contact with any pesticides or chemicals and must meet the criteria set up by the USDA.
Consumers should be aware that raw honey can contain spores of the bacteria clostridium botulinum. This can cause life-threatening botulism poisoning in pregnant women and children under the age of one, who are advised not to consume the honey. As we age our guts are equipped to kill the spores. However, if someone experiences nausea, vomiting or diarrhea shortly after eating honey they should seek medical attention.
September is National Honey Month, which promotes the American Beekeeping Industry and honey as a natural, beneficial sweetener.
The Happy Eggplant carries pure, raw honey from the beehives at Neshannock Creek Apiary right down the road in Volant, PA. Stop in to see our selection!