There is a myth that raw honey is solid. In truth, honey comes out of the comb as a liquid. Depending on the types of nectar and pollen, raw honey crystallizes at different speeds. There’s no good way to know if honey is raw except to check the labels and ask your beekeeper. Here are some questions to guide your next healthful honey hunt.
1) Do you use chemicals in your hives? Make sure herbal or nonchemical methods are used.
2) Do you harvest with an electric knife? Heated knives can superheat honey, decreasing healthy enzymes.
3) Has the honey been filtered? Make sure only the largest particles are strained prior to bottling instead of applying pressure and heat.
4) Is the honey pasteurized? While pasteurizing makes honey clear for the store shelf, health and taste are lost.
5) When was your honey harvested? For those allergic to spring pollens, spring varietals can provide better allergy protection. Or grab one harvested at the end of the previous season for a full array of pollen protection.
6) How do you re-liquify your honey? Bucket heaters can overheat, so consider the speed at which honey is warmed for bottling.
7) How do you feed your bees? Many beekeepers feed bees high-fructose corn syrup or boiled sugar water. Find sustainable beekeepers who feed bees their own honey.
8) Where are you? Raw, local honey is best for allergies, but all raw honey is beneficial. There’s no mileage limit for sellers to claim a “local” product, so make sure bees are collecting from the same plants as where you live.
Dawn Combs is the owner of Mockingbird Meadows Herbal Health Farm in central Ohio and the director of its Eclectic Herbal Institute. Mockingbird Meadows is nationally known for its line of herbal honey spreads. Dawn is the author of Conceiving Healthy Babies: An Herbal Guide to Support Preconception, Pregnancy and Lactation.
Buy Raw Honey
We encourage you to find local honey sources, but these national suppliers offer sustainably produced honey and honey products.
Brushy Mountain Bee Farm
The Carolina Bee Company
Draper’s Super Bee Apiaries
Honey Dew Naturals
Honey Gardens Plant Allies
National Honey Board
North American Herb & Spice
Savannah Bee Company
Really Raw Honey
Y.S. Eco Bee Farms