Anyone can buy a bottle of grocery store honey, but that doesn’t mean you’re getting the true honey experience. Those who settle for regular honey are missing out on a world of unique flavors and characteristics. Every spoonful of raw honey is a sweet tribute to the hive it came from, and no two bottles are the same. What separates the two kinds of honey? Learn all about it with this overview of the difference between raw honey and regular honey.
How It’s Made
All honey starts at the same source: the harvest from a honey bee hive. Beekeepers remove the bee frames from their hives and place them in a honey extractor. The extractor spins the frames, releasing the honey so that it drips down to the bottom of the extractor’s drum. From there, beekeepers filter the honey to remove debris, such as wax or pieces of honeycomb. This is the end of the process for raw honey. However, regular honey then goes through a pasteurization process, which involves heating the honey to a high temperature to destroy the microorganisms within it. Pasteurization also gives honey a clearer, more uniform appearance. However, this process means that regular honey lacks many of the characteristics that make raw honey so special.
Apart from the pasteurization process, the biggest difference between raw honey and regular honey is the health benefits of each. Honey straight from the hive contains many nutrients and other beneficial elements. Raw honey naturally contains impurities like bits of pollen or propolis. These natural substances contain anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Raw honey is also bursting with enzymes, antioxidants, and vitamins. Regular honey loses these properties when it undergoes the pasteurization process. While this process kills bacteria, it also ends up destroying many of raw honey’s beneficial nutrients. As such, if you enjoy a spoonful of honey to soothe a sore throat, raw honey is the way to go.
Each bottle of raw honey comes with its own unique color, texture, and flavor. These characteristics are the result of the local pollen that exists within raw honey. Some types of raw honey even hold a flavor that matches the flowers the honey bees foraged from while making that season’s honey. For example, a hive that mainly pollinates blueberry plants will produce honey that holds a subtle blueberry tang. When manufacturers remove the pollen and other natural elements during pasteurization, the honey loses that touch of something special.
Raw honey often takes a little more effort and money to obtain, but it’s easily the superior choice. If you can’t get enough of this golden treat, be sure to visit your local farmers market or your friendly neighborhood beekeeper. The more you support beekeepers and their honey bees, the more we can enjoy all the benefits of raw, local honey.