The Raw Story of Raw Honey

One of the most common questions we field is about “raw” honey. There are tons of “raw honey” products on the market, and this leads to confusion. Today, we’re going to give you the straight story on raw honey, our raw honey, and the rules regarding raw honey.


FDA “Approved” Types of Honey

Like all food products, the FDA has standards for what can go on the label.


Blended Honey: A homogeneous mixture of two or more honeys differing in floral source, color, flavor, density or geographic origin.

Churned Honey: See whipped honey.

Cremed Honey: See whipped honey

Crystallized Honey: Honey in which part of the natural glucose content has spontaneously crystallized from solution as the monohydrate. Also called “Granulated Honey.”

Filtered Honey: Honey processed by filtration to remove extraneous solids and pollen grains.

Honey Fondant: See whipped honey.

Organic Honey: Honey produced, processed, and packaged in accordance with State and Federal regulations on honey and organic products, and certified by a State Department of Agriculture or an independent organic farming certification organization.

Raw Honey: Honey as it exists in the beehive or as obtained by extraction, settling or straining without adding heat.

Commercially Raw Honey: Honey as obtained by minimum processing. This product is often labeled as raw honey.

Notes: 1) Storage or exposure to either ambient (environmental) or applied (deliberately added) heat influences the character of honey. 2) Enzymatic activity, antimicrobial properties, microbial quality, color and chemical composition are all influenced by heat and storage. [2] 3) There are an infinite number of time and temperature combinations that will affect the raw state of honey. 4) The definition of “minimum” processing can be set by purchasing standards.

Spun© Honey: See whipped honey.

Strained Honey: Honey which has been passed through a mesh material to remove particulate material (pieces of wax, propolis, other defects) without removing pollen.

Whipped Honey: Honey processed, by controlled crystallization, to a smooth spreadable consistency.


Fascinating stuff, right?

The two we are concerned with are commercial raw honey and raw honey.

Truly raw honey is exactly that – it’s taken from the hive, and it’s packaged. That’s it. No filter, no strain, no heat, nothing. Just hive to bottle.

Commercially raw honey is much more common.

Commercially raw honey is taken from the hive, and then it is processed – minimally – before being sold to you. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. For instance, liquid honey has to go through at least minimal processing to become a liquid.

So, our most common question – is all our honey raw honey?

Almost all of our honey products (with obvious exceptions, like our spreads and creams) falls into one of the two categories.

The only honey we sell that is 100% untreated, truly raw, is labeled as such.

You can find those products in the Raw Honey category of our shop.

That said, our honey bears and other products could fall into the commercially raw category as well. To avoid confusion, we do not label them as raw.

These honey products are gently heated (to a secret temperature) so as to avoid breaking down the enzymes and other good stuff in the honey. They are also strained – not filtered – to remove larger particles within the honey.

Benefits of Raw Honey vs. Commercially Raw Honey

Often, the customer is concerned that anything about truly raw honey doesn’t have the health benefits they are looking for. In some senses, they are correct. The straining process and heating involved with producing commercially raw liquid honey does take away some of the other material – like pollen – that many people look for when they buy raw honey. But we are careful to not heat or modify the honey too much, leaving the beneficial enzymes and other healthy aspects of honey in tact. But, if you’re looking for that 100% untreated honey and everything that comes with it, you want to stick to the raw honey category of the store.

2 thoughts on “The Raw Story of Raw Honey

  1. Pingback: Heating Honey - Pros and Cons - Sleeping Bear Farms

  2. John M says:

    Your real raw star thistle honey is wonderful. It has a very fresh and unique, delightful flavor. I picked up a 2.5 lb. jar at Healthy Harvest in Cascade. Thank you for an excellent eating experience, and for this informative website.

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