When someone mentions honey you would think it's a pretty straight forward thing, right? Well, working in a health shop has proven to make the topic of honey a lot more complicated. Terms like raw, creamed, organic, crystalized, local, pure, non-gmo, filtered and unfiltered come up and not everyone knows what they all mean. So here's my breakdown of it...
Raw Honey means that the honey was spun out of the honeycomb - this process uses momentum and gravity to get the honey out instead of heat. Why is heat bad you may ask? If the honey goes through a heated process it looses some of it's natural enzymes. Those enzymes are what makes the honey so healthy and they help fight symptoms like sore throat, hayfever and sinus.
Creamed Honey is the term they give to honey that has been whipped. Almost like you would whip butter to make it more fluffy or whip cream. They do they same to honey and this give it a lovely smooth and creamy texture. This honey is ideal for using as a spread.
Organic Honey is a term that is somewhat heavily debated. Bees normally harvest honey within a specific radius around where their hive stands but you can never control exactly where a honeybee travels to. In the perfect world, organic honey's definition would be that they bees only collected pollen and nectar from plants that have been organically grown. This means that the plants have not been given any synthetic fertilizers or been sprayed with any type of pesticide. Fynbos that grows naturally in the cape area is normally a good indication that they honey from that area would be quite organic but you can't really say that either due to air pollution being everywhere. Also, pesticides from nabouring farms can travel very far in the wind. So to conclude, this is a term to be lightly taken when seen on a honey jar. Hopefully the farmer confident enough to put that on the label will have done his or her homework to make sure that their hives are in a fairly organic area.
Raw Honey naturally crystalizes with time - this is totally normal. Different types of honey crystalize at different speeds. Bluegum for example takes very long to crystalize. You will see that the honey becomes less runny and almost forms tiny granules within the jar. This sometimes makes the honey looked like creamed honey. When honey crystalizes it doesn't mean that there is anything wrong with it. Fun fact actually: Did you know that honey can never go bad?
If you don't like that the honey does this through, don't stress. You can easily just place the jar of honey in the sun or in a bowl of warm water (not boiling hot, as this will make the honey less raw). Just a tip: do not place the honey in the microwave - this will kill all the goodness of the honey - you could just as well use syrup then.
If you can find local honey - that's great! They actually say that people that suffer from allergy related sinus should eat local raw honey. If it's the pollen from local plants and trees that give you the sinus then the honey made from the pollen from those plants act as a natural anti-histamine.
The term pure honey basically just means that there's nothing funny been added to the honey. Some unethical farmers add sugar syrup, molasses or lots of water to the honey to give it bulk. That's why you always need to buy honey from sources that you trust.
Here we sit with another kind of issue like the term 'organic'. If they say that the honey is non-gmo then it just means that they believe that the bees did not harvest pollen from any gmo plants. GM mean genetically modified and plants that are an example of being genetically modified is: Canola.
Filtered and Unfiltered:
After the honey has been removed from the honeycomb that farmer as the option to either filter the honey or just leave it unfiltered. The result of the filtered honey is a very clean and pure honey. If they leave it, the honey may have traces of beeswax, pollen, propolis, etc in - many people prefer the unfiltered honey because that's how nature intended us to enjoy it.
Then just to tickle your fancy, I would like to mention to you the different types of honey. What I mean by this is that when a farmer puts a hive near a specific area or crop the honey ends up with a taste according to the flowers that the bees has access to. In order for a honey to be named Orange Blossom for example, the bees would have had to harvest a minimum of 51% orange blossom pollen.
Here's a list that includes some of the special honeys that we stock at Namo: Aloe, Fynbos, West Coast Fynbos, Bluegum, Orange Blossom, Macadamia, Blueberry, Avocado, Sunflower, Wild Flower, Blombos, Acacia, Bushveld, Karoo and many more. Honey is very seasonal and we buy from local farmers as far as possible. Each one's flavour is so unique - they're all a must try!
Looking to get some honey for your hunny, shop here: https://www.namohealth.co.za/search-results/q-honey/qc-products