All you need to know about Raw Honey
The term ‘raw’ gets used a lot when discussing honey, but what actually is raw honey?
Well, put simply, raw honey is honey that is sold in the same state as it was when extracted from the beehive.
We consider honey to be raw if it meets the following criteria
– Not heated above 45 degrees Celcius.
Many honey producers will heat their honey to pasteurise the honey, as well as to allow it to pass through finer grades of filtering. This honey is heated above 70 degrees Celsius to kill off any natural yeasts in the honey.
Wild yeasts, when mixed with moisture in the honey, can cause the honey to ferment. When this process is controlled it actually makes some great products – but that is a topic for discussion at another stage. (mead!)
For the most part though, raw honey is very shelf-stable and will not ferment on its own so long as it is stored properly (ensuring no additional moisture gets into the honey). Producers who blend large quantities of honey from a variety of different beekeepers may choose to pasteurise. This is to ensure any variables outside of their control are mitigated.
With good quality raw honey, you need not worry though, as reputable beekeepers selling their own harvested honey will be able to guarantee the quality of their honey supply and need not pasteurise. This raw honey will therefore still retain the beneficial microbes within the honey that would otherwise have been killed off during pasteurisation.
– Has not had sugar, corn syrup, sweeteners or other substances added.
It is an unfortunate fact that some honey producers have been known to add all kinds of substances to honey. This may be done to enhance flavours or to increase overall volume.
Either way, it detracts from the purity of the honey and the consumer is essentially paying for something other than honey.
– Minimal filtration
As alluded to above, another reason honey may be heated is to allow for finer filtering of the honey. When honey is at room temperature it takes a considerable time to flow through even the coarsest of filters.
In order to allow the honey to flow through very fine filters at an economical pace, many producers will take advantage of the increased viscosity of honey when heated.
This process allows them to remove the finest of particles out of honey and is done to make the honey appear more aesthetically pleasing on shelves, by removing fine wax particles, bee parts or other ‘floaty bits’.
Of these particles removed from the mix is valuable pollen. On its own pollen is a great product, and its removal from the honey is disadvantageous for the consumer.
While filtering won’t necessarily mean that honey is not raw, and honey does not need to have bee legs in it to tick the ‘raw honey’ box, minimal filtration will ensure the wholesome nature and goodness of natural honey.
– Not mixed with any other honey
Similar to the addition of foreign substances, honey is no longer raw if it has been mixed with honey that has undergone the above treatments.
Some honey producers may mix their premium honey with cheaper honey of a lessened quality (sometimes even cheap store-bought honey), in order to achieve a higher overall volume for sale.
While some customers may not notice this immediately, they are effectively being deceived and robbed.
– Not diluted in any way
Raw honey is honey that has been taken from the hive, removed from the honeycomb, filtered at room temperature and then bottled for the customer.
If honey has undergone treatment outside of this, then it is not raw and should not be labelled as such.
Can people still enjoy non-raw honey? Of course, but we believe raw honey is by far the best way to enjoy it.
Where to buy raw honey in Perth
Buy from local beekeepers. Look for trusted sellers who are approved and licenced to sell their honey.
The easiest way to pick a genuine seller is to look for labelling that conforms to packaging requirements. For more information on this, follow our simple guide to buying honey.
Ask them about their extraction processes and get to know how the honey is processed from the hive to you.
While local beekeepers operate on a small scale that often requires a premium price to overcome costs, you will find that they offer better value for money.
If you’ve only ever purchased the supermarket honey, we encourage you to try raw honey and see what all the fuss is about!