Jump to content
Bushy

What is Raw honey in 2019

Recommended Posts

I am curious to know what the current definition of RAW honey is. 

Traditionally raw honey was unfiltered and was defined by stuff (wax, bees bits etc) floating on top. Very simple.

 

In 2019 a lot of jars have "Raw" added to labels and customers are saying they only want raw honey, not ours because, ours has been processed by machines in a factory. That comment could have been fine except I knew I had processed and packed the other persons honey. 

Both honeys were identical from start to finish, but the word "raw" made perception different with consumer.

 

We do not heat treat any honey, and to be honest, very few Beekeepers/honey processors in NZ do these days, so is all honey raw.

 

What is our definition.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I once worked for a beekeeper who put RAW on their honey jars, meaning the honey was liquid not creamed. The irony being that to melt the crystalised honey out of the drums in preparation to being packed, they heated it up pretty dang hot. So it wasn't raw by the common definition of the word.

 

I have seen creamed honey with raw written on the label, the label also included a very brief explanation of the creaming process and why that is done, and also stated the honey had nothing added and had not been overheated.

 

When I started in beekeeping honey was described on the label either as liquid or creamed, a more honest description. Now, to most people, raw honey equates with liquid natural honey, that is the common public perception. Here in NZ we are not allowed to sell anything other than natural honey, so RAW is a meaningless buzz word packers can put on their label to increase sales.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

yes its meant to be unfiltered, but people don't like all the wax and there is a safety issue as well, its not much fun getting stung in the mouth (or throat) as i found out the hard way.

Imagen being allergic to bees and getting stung when you eat the honey.

easy enough to filter out without causing harm to the honey. but then again thats what most commercial honey is.

 

while its really nothing more than yet another buzz word to separate you from your money, most people asking for "raw" honey have no idea what it means.

 

the other one is "cold pressed". extracted cold. which can be true even for commercial honey. but most don't say they melt all the honey out of the drum to be able to pack it into jars.

rather pointless extracting cold if you have to heat it to pack it.

  • Agree 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have run into this to and as far as I'm concerned it is just a buzzword with no meaning. The bees keep the hive at around 38° which to my mind is pretty warm. Last weekend I had several people asking me if my comb honey was raw and I'm not sure they believed me. Raw to me means uncooked and I think most beekeepers are well past those days. Unfiltered  is what you call it when it's full of bees legs et cetera  and I agree with Tristan that the risk of someone swallowing a sting should be enough to put anyone off.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my opinion ‘Raw Honey’ means unheated and minimally filtered.

But there is no ‘legal’ definition to the best of my knowledge. It’s just hyperbole.

Edited by Daley
  • Agree 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Thanks for the replies. IMO anything below 48deg C is normal processing to get through gravity filter bags and at this temp, no damage is done to any honey weather creamed or liquid.

I really don't want to add the word Raw to my labels, but under sales pressure in some markets from those who do have Raw on their labels.

 

These other competitors are doing nothing wrong, but it is getting tiresome explaining to customers there is no difference, knowing they probably don't believe me.

Not the biggest issue on the planet, just trying to decide what to do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My definition at brightwaterbees.co.nz sums it up - no heating no filtering only strained no creaming so we do it shortly after harvesting and pot it up within hours or a day probably not possible with commercials but ok with hobby size operation and just dropped for 45 to 15 hives but we  live on our pensions

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

PS our honey is fantastic with lots of pollen in it as well

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Bushy said:

 

Thanks for the replies. IMO anything below 48deg C is normal processing to get through gravity filter bags and at this temp, no damage is done to any honey weather creamed or liquid.

I really don't want to add the word Raw to my labels, but under sales pressure in some markets from those who do have Raw on their labels.

 

These other competitors are doing nothing wrong, but it is getting tiresome explaining to customers there is no difference, knowing they probably don't believe me.

Not the biggest issue on the planet, just trying to decide what to do.

The struggle is real.

The consumer needs to be educated but it’s not the easiest thing to do.

Adding raw to your label is definitely the easy way to go, and it’s not wrong 🤷‍♀️

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, tudor said:

My definition at brightwaterbees.co.nz sums it up - no heating no filtering only strained no creaming so we do it shortly after harvesting and pot it up within hours or a day probably not possible with commercials but ok with hobby size operation and just dropped for 45 to 15 hives but we  live on our pensions

 

This is as close to what I would call old fashioned raw honey, without the bee stings, so we'll done. 

Already have this size operation in my long term plan, but not quite yet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, tudor said:

no filtering only strained

whats the difference ?

  • Agree 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Twin strainer set stops big bits of wax and all bee parts but allows small wax (gives good mouth feel) and pollen through (gives great complex flavour), not heated and no pressure.  Takes time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Raw comb honey. Makes no more sense than raw honey to me.

  • Agree 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, tudor said:

Twin strainer set stops big bits of wax and all bee parts but allows small wax (gives good mouth feel) and pollen through (gives great complex flavour), not heated and no pressure.  Takes time.

point i was making is your still filtering it. it may be done to a different level, but its still filtered. it terms of labeling its no different from most others.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The difference is so obvious that I suspect that you are being rather obtuse, nothing personal of course :14_relaxed:

  • Agree 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, tudor said:

The difference is so obvious that I suspect that you are being rather obtuse, nothing personal of course :14_relaxed:

not really, for all intends and purposes its the same thing. you can strain (lots of crowds use strainer bags) right down to very fine amounts. i can also filter it to a larger coarse size. 

 

you can't say its not filtered if you have run it through a strainer as they are both the same thing.

  • Agree 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

now to really upset @tudor (sorry!)

 i'm putting tons and tons and tons of honey through the full blown commercial extraction plant at the mo.

but if i poured that honey straight into a jar i could legitimately sell it has "not filtered", simply because there is no filter or stainer in the plant.

some of its even "cold pressed". this is because some goes through the wax press and the rest is floated ....... in a spin float.

nice clean honey and no filter or stainer in sight.

 

Edited by tristan
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

any heating or pressure ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I get asked for raw honey I sell them comb honey. Easiest to explain to them, zero processing, they’re happy and don’t seem to mind the extr cost.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, tudor said:

any heating or pressure ?

wax press has no heat but pressure as per "cold pressed".

spin float is heated but no pressure. this model is gravity fed.

 

this is not about whose product is better but rather the debate over whats printed on the label vers whats actually done to the product.

 

much like a crowd i heard about that puts honey cold through a spin float (pressure fed version) and afaik sells it as "cold pressed", but they pour it into drums and then its melted out of drums to be packed. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What see customers trying to avoid? Honey burnt during processing as it’s forced though a fine filter whilst too hot?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, cBank said:

What see customers trying to avoid? Honey burnt during processing as it’s forced though a fine filter whilst too hot?

There’s a line of thought out there (I’m not defending it) that heating above hive temp will destroy some of the good bits - enzymes or other heat sensitive compounds - which then somehow makes the honey “less healthy”

 

of course pasteurisation also destroys bad bacteria but these customers don’t seem to be worried about that?

Edited by Pinnacle
  • Agree 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Pinnacle said:

There’s a line of thought out there (I’m not defending it) that heating above hive temp will destroy some of the good bits - enzymes or other heat sensitive compounds - which then somehow makes the honey “less healthy”

 

of course pasteurisation also destroys bad bacteria but these customers don’t seem to be worried about that?

Isn’t honey bacteriostatic?

I thought pasteurisation was more about killing active yeasts to keep it stable on the shelf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Daley said:

Isn’t honey bacteriostatic?

I thought pasteurisation was more about killing active yeasts to keep it stable on the shelf

Yes it’s bacteriostatic - but my understanding (and no doubt someone will jump on me if I am wrong) - is that honey has the potential to have bacteria essentially “stored” in it that could later cause an issue once diluted (dissolved in a drink or spread on toast for instance). So pasteurisation would deal  to these bacteria.

 

Again my understanding, is that is why unprocessed honey is not recommended for infants or those with compromised immune systems. The risk to the general population with functioning immune systems is low, but higher for those that may not be able to reflectively able to deal with incoming bacteria

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, cBank said:

What see customers trying to avoid?

a couple of things i've seen is usually that they want good honey and they have heard that certain things are bad, but they don't actually know what is done or how things are done.

just misinformed. often a bit of explaining is required but sometimes its a case of they would rather listen to their know nothing friends than anyone who actually does it.

 

the other big one is anti commercialism. someone makes something for a profit therefore its bad. they will point their nose in the air and storm off once they realize your a commercial beek.

on the flip side this is where you can get a "hobbyist" who happens to sell tons and tons of honey, does commercial pollination contracts but tell everyone they are "hobbyists" not an evil commercial.

 

then there is the ones who want the best, can actually notice the difference and are willing to learn and be informed. so about 0.001% of customers.

they are usually the best customers, best sort of person to deal with, even if your product is not what they are after.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...