One of the questions I get asked a lot is what is raw honey?
There is a common assumption that most honey is raw, made by bees and put in jars. However a lot of honey is not raw. For example, generic supermarket honey has often been heat treated.
Raw honey on the other hand isn’t heated (or at least not above the normal internal temperature of a hive (roughly 35 degrees Celsius)). This means that raw honey is pretty much in the same state as it is when inside the hive.
One of the reasons raw honey is wonderful (and why I urge you to find it, try it and fall in love with it) is that by not being heat treated the honey keeps a lot of its macro-nutrients and enzymes intact, this has a huge impact on the honey’s taste. The subtleties of flavour are not lost through heating and processing.
In addition raw honey is not fine filtered so it contains more pollen.
Most honey found in supermarkets is pasteurised (often to 70 degrees Celsius or more and rapidly cooled). Commercial regular honey goes through this process in order to make the honey easy for filtering and bottling and from a consumer perspective, to ensure that all the honey looks and tastes the same. Whilst this process makes the honey appear cleaner and smoother and last longer on the shelf, the delicate aromas, tastes and enzymes of the honey are partially lost, which is a real shame as honey has so much to offer. Honey isn’t a generic bland sweetness which mass processed honey has come to represent.
So (not that you needed any encouragement) seek out raw honey when you can, support small producers and delight in the tastes and aromas of honey in its purest state!