By: Greg Brian
Anything that has the word “raw” next to it might sound risky in a time when we’re all mindful of disease in what we consume. In the case of raw honey, there isn’t much to worry about.
What might confuse you when seeing “raw honey” is what the difference is with the normal honey you buy. There is a marked difference, including in the healthful properties involved.
Defining exactly what raw honey is helps you make better decisions on what type of honey to buy if you’re looking for the healthiest option.
What Differentiates Raw Honey from What You Normally Buy?
All that regular honey you’ve been buying for years is pasteurized, meaning it has a more pleasing appearance. Now you know why pasteurized honey is usually sold more in stores, merely because it “looks” better to the eye.
Only one problem occurs with the pasteurization process: A possibility exists it takes away all the antioxidants found in honey sold raw.
In contrast, raw honey isn’t always quite as smooth looking as the honey you probably buy. That’s why it’s called “raw”, because it’s taken right from the source and not containing additives to alter appearance/taste.
So is there a bias with raw honey not being in grocery stores, or is it easier to find than you think?
Don’t Be Fooled With Pasteurized Honey
For years, you’ve likely purchased pasteurized honey in your local grocery. Because it looked more appealing, little did you know you were never gaining the fullest health benefits.
Regular honey is basically a processed food, meaning it also takes a lot of the pollen out of the product. Science shows bee pollen has numerous micronutrients and antioxidants as just starters. When a honey manufacturer heats the honey, much of that bee pollen evaporates.
No doubt much of this is eye-opening after years of buying favorite honey products with catchy packaging. Much of this is backed up by a health report from nine years ago saying three-fourths of all honey products sold in U.S. grocery stores were not really honey.
To make things worse, the FDA didn’t check these honey products to see if they contained pollen. It really isn’t any surprise you’ve probably bought honey for years and never knew there was a healthier option.
If you’re perplexed why raw honey isn’t more widely available, it’s a little easier to find nowadays. Nevertheless, you probably still won’t find it in a standard grocery store.
Where Can You Typically Find Raw Honey?
Keep in mind you might run across yet another option: Organic honey. With latter, it does come directly from bee farms, yet may also go through pasteurization and other processing.
In other words, if you see “organic honey” on a shelf, it’s really not the same as buying raw.
You’ll most likely have to turn online to find raw honey. A lot of online stores are now selling it, including a few standard online retailers. Those who do sell skip out on any processing and also avoid adding additional sugars as some honey manufacturers do.
If the raw honey you buy looks a different color, don’t be alarmed by it. Many people new to raw honey think that if it looks dark or crystallized, it might be spoiled.
In truth, raw honey is supposed to look different from the processed honey you’ve been used to. Based on climate factors, raw honey can often range in color from a light amber color to very dark. The dark types are generally a lot tastier.
The only real danger with raw honey is a risk of botulism in infants. As long as you keep it out of reach of newborns, you won’t have to worry about disease. At the same time, you’ll know you’re getting honey directly from the source where you thought you were getting it all along.