You may have heard about jarrah honey or seen some on your supermarket shelf and thought ‘what is jarrah honey, and why is it so expensive’?
What is jarrah honey?
Jarrah honey is mono-floral honey that is comprised of nectar the bees have collected from the flowers of jarrah trees.
In order to be determined as mono-floral honey, the vast majority of the nectar used to make the honey must have come from a single variety, in this case, from the jarrah tree flowers.
Where do jarrah trees grow?
Jarrah trees are native and exclusive to the South West region of Western Australia.
They are a tree widely renowned for its beautiful and industrious hardwood.
Although we appreciate nice jarrah furniture as much as anyone, in our opinion the real bonus of these trees is the honey!
While known about by locals for quite some time, jarrah honey is becoming increasingly popular around the world.
Why is jarrah honey so good?
Well firstly, it tastes great!
Further to that, there is widely available scientific evidence that suggests the health benefits of jarrah honey place it among some of the best honey available in the world.
It is suggested that the ‘activity’ within the honey is responsible for these health benefits.
The antimicrobial activity within jarrah honey comes from the natural enzymes within the honey.
A greater understanding of this high antimicrobial is being developed, with the scientific research confirming the medicinal properties that have been known about and practised for decades.
The high hydrogen peroxide level in jarrah honey can inhibit the growth of bacteria, making it a useful and natural treatment for burns and wounds.
And did we mention, it tastes good too!
Okay, but why does jarrah honey have to be so expensive?
Put simply it comes down to supply and demand.
As more and more people become aware of the health benefits of jarrah honey, the demand for our products increases. As beekeepers, we can only supply a certain amount to keep up with this demand.
Seasonal variations mean that some years are better than others for jarrah honey production.
Sadly, some years beekeepers may not even achieve a jarrah flow and have to look for alternative nectar sources for their bees to survive.
The majority of jarrah honey is produced well outside of our metro areas meaning that beekeepers have to cover large distances in order to tend to their hives.
Beekeepers are required to pay for special permits in order to place hives in the mostly government-owned jarrah forests or seek out and lease spots on private property adjacent to jarrah trees.
There are lots of associated costs involved and, at the end of the day, beekeepers are subject to the continued existence of the jarrah trees.
As mentioned above, the jarrah hardwood has always been very popular. This has lead to much of the jarrah forests being cut down for timber.
The terrain and rainfall areas that jarrah is found are also well suited to agriculture, so this has led to the destruction of many of the old-growth forests.
Couple the above with disease risks to the jarrah trees such as dieback, and increasingly hostile fire seasons, and it is quite clear to see that beekeepers have their work cut out for them in gathering this popular product.
By buying jarrah honey not only are you providing yourself with a great product with many different uses, but you are supporting local industry and helping it to flourish.
I’m sold. So what should I look for when buying jarrah honey?
Look for the TA rating of the honey.
This is the measure of ‘total activity’ within the honey, referring to its anti-microbial properties.
There are facilities available to local beekeepers in Perth which can test and assess their honey for its properties.
The TA tags on products will be expressed in the form of 10+, 20+, 30+, 40+ etc. The higher the number, the higher the activity level and the higher the price tag.
In order to ensure that the jarrah honey has retained all of its goodness, you’ll want to make sure you buy raw honey that has not been heat-treated.
When honey gets heated up, a lot of the nutrients and properties are removed from the honey.
The most astute of honey connoisseurs may also notice a discernible taste difference too.
All of Perth Honey Company’s honey is unheated and remains as raw and natural as the bees intended it to be.
By buying directly from the beekeeper you can ensure the origins of the product you are purchasing and trust that it is what the label says.
Regardless of who you purchase from, we thank you for supporting our industry and taking the time to learn about jarrah honey.