Our Raw Honey Story
For years we warmed and stained our honey and put it in jars just like the old timers that we learned from. Oral Kuch, Kirk’s mentor(born in the early 1900′s), warmed his honey on an old wood stove and we started the same way before we built our own honeyhouse. The only raw honey was in the natural honeycomb with the wax.
For twenty-five years Sleeping Bear warmed and strained all the honey and put it in jars until one day Sharon, Kirk’s wife, suggested that many people would prefer honey in the natural granulated state. Not only did raw honey taste better with more nuanced floral essences, but had more enzymes and healthful benefits.
It is in the natural uncooked, unfiltered, unadulterated granulated state and is spreadable as desired. What distinguishes our real raw honey is the flavor of the Star Thistle nectar that thrives in wilds of Northern Michigan so well. Our Real Raw honey is simply exquisite.
We pack our real raw honey in a wide mouthed 2 1/2 pound glass jar (40 oz.) with a large opening to spoon out the honey. We also have a 1 1/2 lb. plastic tub that ships very well.
Raw Honey’s Benefits
Raw honey is not filtered or heated. Real raw honey contains all the live enzymes, pollen, propolis and floral essences that the honeybees put into it. The bees determine the color, flavor, and texture of our honey by the varieties of wildflowers and herbs they forage. Star Thistle is the predominate flower they visit in northern Michigan summers and the fields turn purple in mid summer with blossoms.
For at least 2700 years, honey has been used to treat a variety of ailments through topical application, but only recently have the antiseptic and antibacterial properties of raw honey been chemically explained. Antibacterial properties of real raw honey are the result of the low water activity causing osmosis (honey literally sucks the water out of bacteria), hydrogen peroxide effect and high acidity.
Years ago our children contracted skin lesions from contaminated goat’s milk and we tried two different antibiotics with no improvement. We had started keeping bees and found out that honey applied topically would heal open sores, so we tried it. Within 24 hours the open sores began to heal. Raw honey is primarily a saturated mixture of two monosaccharides. This mixture has a low water activity; most of the water molecules are associated with the sugars and few remain available for microorganisms, so it is a poor environment for bacterial growth.
Hydrogen peroxide in raw honey is activated by dilution. However, unlike medical hydrogen peroxide, commonly 3% by volume, it is present in a concentration of only 1 mmol/l in real raw honey. Iron in raw honey oxidizes the oxygen free radicals released by the hydrogen peroxide.
glucose + H2O + O2 ? gluconic acid + H2O2
When used topically (as, for example, a wound dressing), hydrogen peroxide is produced by dilution with body fluids. As a result, hydrogen peroxide is released slowly and acts as an antiseptic.
The pH of real raw honey is commonly between 3.2 and 4.5. This relatively low acidic pH level prevents the growth of many bacteria.
Is our honey raw?
After our beekeepers bring in the honey boxes full of beeswax combs, the pure beeswax cappings that seal the honey in the cells are removed with vibrating stainless steel knives and the honey is spun out and put into large containers for storage. The honey will eventually sugar up or crystallize in storage within a few months in the completely raw state.
We have two processes for honey packing depending on what you, our customer, desires. Raw in the crystallized form is gently warmed and lightly strained to remove only the coarsest wax particles leaving behind bits of pollen and wax.
Raw honey is removed from barrels by gravity and stirred with stainless steel paddles until it starts to soften. Then we can put it into jars in the sugared or natural crystallized state with all the floral notes and enzymes nature provided. It never gets over the natural temperature of the hive, which is 96 degrees F. It has the best flavor of all.