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Jan 9, 2007 03:18 PM

raw honey question

Ok, so i eat a lot of raw foods. i am NOT somekind of raw foodist or raw foodie (or whatever theyre calling themselves these days), i just eat a majority of my veg and fruits raw is all. thats it, simple. i eat cooked meat, sauteed greens, etc, too. overall, very normal i think. anyway, i have a question about raw honey: there are evidently two kinds that BOTH claim to be completely raw (unheated) and unprocessed. i say this because i bought two different brands and one was/is solid at room temp and the other is liquid at room temp. also, the one that is liquid at room temp has the 'cappings' still in there with the honey. these are incredibly delicious and i love them. anyway, any beekeepers or people in the know out there that can do a little clarifying? thanks.

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  1. All honey apart from Tupelo variety will reportedly solidify, given enough time. A beekeeper in s. Florida I visited said their sea grape and mangrove honeys would solidify in a matter of days, vs. their orange blossum which stayed liquid for months.

    Solidification is accellerated by stirring, a discovery which allowed the honey creme products to be developed.

    Comb honey has the greatest proportion of stuff other than honey, and chewing locally produced honeycomb is supposed to be better than raw local honey for prevention of allergy symptoms.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rexmo

      interesting, i wouldn't have thought that the type of flower that the honey comes from would dictate how quickly it solidifies. i do, however, realize that stirring, agitating - that is, just doing anything to the honey that would begin incorporating air in to the product like whipped butter, etc - honey would begin making it solidify.

    2. Yes, different types of honey crystallize at different rates. You can gently warm the honey to re-liquify it without destroying the enzymes that mark it as "raw". The temperature inside most beehives is in the 90s, so honey comes from a naturally warm place. Crystallization happens naturally around the solids in the honey--processed honey is heated and filtered extensively to remove as much of the impurities as possible, so as to forestall crystallization (since Americans generally like clear, runny honey). But that also means you don't get the bits of propolis, pollen, etc. that can add to honey's health benefits.

      4 Replies
      1. re: dixieday2

        It's safe to warm the honey ONLY if you consume it immediately afterwards. If you store it after re-warming, you set up perfect conditions for bacterial growth. Warming and restoring honey is the number 1 reason people get sick from raw honey. Again, it's perfectly safe to warm just the amount you are going to consume immediately and pitching the left-overs.

        1. re: jcanncuk

          Where did you get this "information"? Even without honey's antibacterial properties, nothing grows in a sugar syrup below 80 Brix.

          1. re: rexmo

            Sorry - I omitted the words "warm in the microwave" . Microwaving breaks down some of the chemicals in honey that make it anti-bacterial. Rewarming slowly in a hot water bath is OK. Also, botulism is NOT just a risk for babies - it is a risk for anyone with a comprimised immune system (transplant patients, patients on steroids or chemptherapy, people with AIDS....)

            1. re: jcanncuk

              Compromised immune system people need to take care, of course. But my understanding of honey's antiseptic nature is that it's not about the chemicals it contains (though according to wikipedia it breaks down to hydrogen peroxide when diluted on wounds). It's because there's just not enough water for anything in it to live. By simple osmosis, bacteria get sucked dry. I bet microwaving would further reduce the water content of the honey, and therefore have no impact.

      2. What?? I have never, ever heard of that, and I wrote a book about honey! Honey is naturally anti-bacterial; people use it as a natural antibacterial on wounds. No one gets sick from raw honey that I've heard of. The only exception is that very, very occasionally, honey can harbor extremely small quantities of botulism spores. Only babies under 1 year old would be put in danger even by that (hence the warning against feeding honey to infants).

        1. Well it sounds like both types you have are unprocessed, just variants. When we kept hives we minimally heated the honey just for convenience sake to make it pourable into jars to sell (also strained it thru cheesecloth- this was before alot of the info on how that may mess up good stuff in the honey. Of course the family used what was left in the cheesecloth. The minimally heated ones would still get very stiff at times. Not sure why the one with cappings would remain more fluid, but I can agree with above posters that depending on where the little guys got their stuff, the thickness of the honey definately varied- alot due to seasonal stuff such as fruit trees in bloom versus wildflowers, versus...

          1. I just bought some Zambezi raw honey and it is the finest honey I have ever eaten! Now I am spoiled.