5 Tips for Purchasing Quality Honey
Honey Purchase Tips
When purchasing honey, try choosing local honey farms as they are the purest, raw, most natural honey available with maximum health benefits. This honey is straight off the hive, screened but not filtered which means bits of bee pollen, honeycomb and propolis high in antioxidants remain. If you are unable to purchase from a local beekeeper, keep these tips in mind when purchasing:
- Unpasteurized or Pasteurized – Raw honey that is heated/boiled to remain liquid has lost health benefits; for this reason purchase regular or creamed honey. To maximize on the health benefits of honey, purchase at it’s rawest form. In grocery stores you should look for the word “unpasteurized”.
- Location of Honey – Each country has different regulations for the honey sold on the shelf of grocers. Check the label carefully to ensure the honey you are purchasing is 100% from your country. Not only does this support your economy, you can be sure this honey goes under the strict regulations of your own country. You may want to look up what those regulations are. Note. Imported products have to adhere to specific guidelines as well but the process to get to that point may be different than from your country.
- Creamed Honey – Creamed honey is just as healthy as raw honey, it just depends on whether or not it was heated to achieve the creamed texture. We use a room temperature, slow whipped process which leaves the health benefits intact. Many people prefer the creamier texture of creamed honey over raw; it’s a preference.
- Raw Honey – Raw honey naturally crystallizes at room temperature after about 4-6 weeks. This does not mean the honey goes bad; raw honey never goes bad. If you find hardened honey on the grocer shelf, it’s a good sign that it is the purest you can purchase off the shelf but also that it’s simply crystallized and is perfectly good.
- Grade of Honey – For clarity, look for and purchase the best grade of honey. For example, Canada No. 1 is the highest grade, a clear, bright, consistent colour and natural flavour. Grade No. 1. honey has the lowest moisture level and visible crystals.
- Store honey at room temperature (in a cool location) or in the freezer, never in the refrigerator. The refrigerator just speeds up the crystallization process where the freezer will halt that process until you thaw the honey.
- To liquify, heat the crystallized honey container in a hot but not boiling water. Never heat on the stove or in the microwave or you will removes the health benefits of the honey.
- Pasteurized honey is a process where the honey is heated at 70 degrees Celsius or more and followed by rapid cooling. This process kills any yeast cell in the honey to prevent fermentation. Honey with high moisture content/humidity levels can ferment over time. There are no health risks to fermented honey but the aroma and flavour of the honey will be effected. Pasteurizing process destroys yeast but also that enzymes needed to activate vitamins and minerals in the body.
- Fermentation results from high humidity honey. A good sign that there is the correct amount of humidity in hive honey is because the bees will only cap off (seal) the honeycomb in their hives once most of the water has been removed. That is when beekeepers know the hive is ready for extraction. High humidity honey can still be consumed without health risks but it will ferment and the smell and taste will not be favourable.
For more information about honey in Canada and/or the regulations required for in-store purchases, go to the Canadian Honey Council website or Government of Canada’s website.
Good to know. I’ve always preferred creamed honey, now I can without worry.