Pure raw honey (and the scary truth about fake honey)
by Jeff Garner (beekeeper and co-owner of Bee-Licious Honey)
When you look for honey at the store, or are offered some at a restaurant, you assume that what you're getting is indeed honey... from honeybees! But scarily, up to 70% of honey sold in the U.S. is not real honey at all.
What is it then? It might be high fructose corn syrup flavored and colored to look like honey. Or it might once have been honey, but the honey content is now outweighed by cheap artificial sweeteners. Many large companies also import honey from countries with little concern for health standards, and so other chemicals may be added to it.
Unfortunately, the FDA does not regulate honey sales, and so anything (even artificially flavored jars of syrup or other sweeteners) can legally be labeled as "pure honey." There's just no way to tell what's real and what's not from the label, or by looking at the contents of a jar on the shelf.
And yet honey is the healthiest of all the sweeteners, with benefits ranging from helping with seasonal allergies, to improved mood and better sleep, healthier skin and boosted energy, and healing of burns and wounds... it even appears to be a promising treatment for antibiotic-resistant bacteria. It is truly nature's wonder drug, but only if it's natural.
In order for honey to provide you with such a multitude of health benefits, it must not be over-processed. But that happens far too often in large-scale commercial honey operations: honey is heated (knocking out most of the essential enzymes), ultra-filtered (removing all of the nutritious pollen), and then frequently diluted before potentially including additives (even diatomaceous earth)!
How do you avoid all this fake honey? The only way to be safe is to buy directly from a beekeeper that you trust. A beekeeper who loves their honeybees and takes pride in offering pure, raw products that preserve all of honey's natural goodness. A product straight from the honeybees themselves.
Pure, raw honey is minimally filtered (strained coarsely to remove any residual wax) and at most gently heated (never more than the temperature at which the bees themselves keep it). You may even see swirls of pollen if you look closely into the jar. And when you open a jar of pure, raw honey and taste it... it will be naturally bee-licious!