What is Raw Honey
"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food."
Raw honey is simply unprocessed honey, that is to say it comes straight from the hive to the table, there are essentially just two factors that determine the rawness of honey: temperature and texture. Really raw honey will be opaque, not the crystal-clear honey you find on supermarket shelves. Untreated honey like this tends to crystallize quite quickly, depending upon the variety (some types of honey are quick to crystallize, while others can take much longer). Recently harvested honey will have a more liquid consistency than earlier harvests. Genuine raw honey is never heated above 40 degrees Celsius, temperatures above this figure will destroy the enzymes and change the honeys natural state, taste and aroma. The filtering process employed for raw honey does not remove pollen unlike many finely filtered commercial honeys. Raw honey is simply strained to remove the unwanted wax and hive debris. Why choose raw honey? Because it is a concentrated source of natural goodness. All the healthy elements are still present and it contains its full complement of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, as well as having antibacterial properties.
Crystallisation is a perfectly normal process and sign of high quality healthy honey. All raw honeys will crystallize or set at different rates, they all contain glucose and fructose. The glucose forms the crystals naturally as well as crystals growing on the pollen grains over time. Crystal size will vary dependent on the flower types the bees choose to visit. It’s the glucose that crystallises and so some types of honey are more resistant to crystallization because they have low glucose. Crystallised honey is delicious to eat and tends not to be such a sweet explosion in the mouth, just allow the honey to slowly dissolve on your tongue. If you prefer your honey as a liquid then crystallisation can be reversed. Simply gradually warm your honey in a bowl of warm water until it loosens to a thick consistency. Constantly repeating this process will degrade the honey so it is probably best to do so in small batches. If possible store your honey at room temperature - not too hot or too cold. Keep out of direct sunlight, also cooler temperatures will hasten crystallisation.
Creamed honey or set honey sits between runny honey and crystallised honey. A special mixing process prior to bottling, creams the honey and makes it spreadable it has a gorgeous glossy smoothness, not grainy and none of the honeys unique properties are altered. Here in the UK the preference is for runny or set honey, however light coloured runny honey will crystallise quite quickly unless of course at or before the packing process the honey has been subjected to overheating which kills the enzymic activity and if very fine filtered the majority of the pollen is removed. The resultant liquid is really just a sugar syrup and is certainly not considered a healthy addition to one’s diet!