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Honey: It’s About Time We Went Raw

by Penny WillimannFeb 23, 2015In Blog

Honey:  It’s About Time We Went Raw

Natural Raw HoneyWhat’s the fuss about raw honey?  We all know honey is good for us, so why is raw honey so much better?

To begin with, it is 100% pure - unpasteurized, unheated and non-processed. This means you get all the goodness from a bee’s nectar-laden diet.  All the natural vitamins and living enzymes are preserved when honey is in its raw state.

We know humans have enjoyed the health benefits of raw honey dating back at least 10,000 years. It has been revered as a health asset to such an extent that it even is part of some religious and traditional rituals. Pure honey was even collected in jars and placed next to the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs who couldn’t resist but to take it on their journey into the afterlife!

The Amazing Benefits of Raw Honey

Raw honey’s benefits go beyond the culinary and gustatory delights. As long as you have the pure, undiluted golden liquid, then the gains are numerous.

Raw honey promotes incredible digestive health and also acts as a powerful antioxidant. There is no doubt it strengthens the immune system and is believed to help eliminate allergies.  It is good for fighting bodily reactions and acts as an anti-inflammatory and disinfectant for skin wounds and infections. It does this by combining glucose and fructose that will attract water from the wound which dries it out and makes it difficult for bacteria and fungi to take hold.

The health and medicinal benefits don’t stop there.  Raw honey is a very good source of friendly bacteria that can combat the proliferation of Candida albicans and Escherichia coli. It can also act as a children’s cough remedy and help treat other respiratory conditions.

For weight management, real honey comes into its own once again. Studies have shown pure honey diets have been more effective for weight loss compared to even sugar-free and low-glycemic diet. Honey can improve blood sugar levels, HDL cholesterol and reduce oxidative damage.Grocery Store Honey

What About Supermarket Honey?

Beware the pitfalls of commercial honey.  Commercial manufacturers will try to make honey go as far as possible by heating it, treating it and diluting it. It is likely to be filtered to give a cleaner and smoother appearance, to extend its shelf life, and to make bottling easier.

If the product looks very clear and clean, chances are, it’s not raw honey. It has probably been pasteurized and processed, and it will often say so on the bottle.  So, pasteurization is done primarily to destroy micro-organisms that carry a risk of being harmful to children under the age of one and folks with weakened immune systems.  It’s great that these folks have this option.  However, pasteurization also happens to destroy any natural yeast cells and most nutrients and flavor nuances in the honey, making almost all commercial honey – well, pointless - for the rest of us.  The shame is that there are not more options available to us in the supermarkets.

The Real Deal

Walking in the grocery aisle you are faced with rows and shelves of “honey” in bottles and jars. How can you test your honey to make sure it’s the real deal? 

  1.        The Water Check

Add a tablespoon of “honey” in a glass full of water. Now watch how the “honey” reacts to the water. Pure honey will settle in a lump at the bottom of the glass and takes a good amount of stirring to dissolve. Artificial honey will quickly dilute in water.

  1.        The Finger Test

Pour a drop of “honey” on the tip of your finger.  If it starts spreading right away, it’s adulterated honey. If it stays in a clump, it’s pure.

  1.        Crystal Clear

Real honey will crystallize over time. The high fructose content in diluted honey will make it syrupy no matter how long it has been stored.

  1.        Label Check

If the label shows the name and contact details of where the honey was made and if it’s close to home, then you are likely to have the real thing. Look for additives as well; this should alert you that you have a fake honey on your hands.

  1.        Test of Fire

Get a matchstick and dip in “honey” and strike it against the matchbox to light it. If it’s the real deal, the match will light easily because raw honey will keep the flame burning. Processed honey contains a lot of moisture and therefore will not light the matchstick.

Olio carries natural raw honey produced by The Backyard Farm in Gainesville, Virginia.  The producer, George Wilson, visits the shop periodically for tastings and this man loves his honey bees!  Keep an eye out on our events page to see when he will be back, or sign up for our newsletter to receive information about upcoming events.