How to Buy the Best Honey
Learn why purchasing raw and unfiltered honey directly from the source ensures authenticity, quality, and health benefits. Explore the honey production process and key questions for informed honey buying. Make the right choice for genuine, unaltered honey.
FUN FACT: Honey never spoils. Honey is one of the few foods known to have an eternal shelf life.
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In the world of honey, not all bottles are the same. For such a simple product with one ingredient, there is a lot of word play on the market to appeal to consumers. It gets even more complicated with outlets such as Amazon and grocery stores now marketing “gourmet” honey that may not even be produced in the United States.
Did you know that some honey brands aren’t even 100% pure honey? It’s true! Some packers will dilute the honey with sucrose syrup to maximize profits. Follow these simple guidelines when purchasing honey to guarantee the best quality product for your family.
buy from the source only
In the honey industry, there are two main players: packers and producers. Producers are the beekeepers who go through the entire process of tending to the hive, extracting the honey, and packaging it themselves. On the other hand, packers simply buy bulk honey from beekeepers and package it for resale at farmer's markets or online.
Unlike producers, packers are not directly involved in beekeeping and may not even be beekeepers themselves. To ensure that you're getting an authentic product that matches the source, region, and processing methods indicated on the label, it is recommended to purchase directly from the beekeeper.
Honey sellers are required by law to print their contact address on the honey bottle labels. If the honey is bottled by a seller who has purchased the honey to resell, they are required to put the words, “bottled by” in front of this contact information on the label. However, if the honey is bottled by the beekeeper at the source, the phrase “bottled by” will not be present in front of the contact information.
Here are some great questions to ask when purchasing honey:
• Where are your beehives located?
• What harvest is this from? (Spring or Autumn)
• Do you filter your honey? (If yes, what micro size filter is used?)
• Do you heat your honey?
Buy Unfiltered Honey Only
There is a difference between strained and filtered honey. All beekeepers strain their honey to remove wax particles and other natural hive cast offs from the honey they have extracted. This honey still contains the beneficial pollen and maximum nectar source notes from the region where the honeybees foraged. Gypsy Shoals Farm honey is never filtered so none of the natural benefits of honey escape during this process.
Filtered honey goes through additional steps after being strained that removes the pollen and regional sourced benefits that most are seeking when they purchase honey. Filtration involves putting the honey through one or multiple additional fine filters to produce a smooth and visually transparent product, but at the cost of the health benefits honey provides. Most grocery store honey is microfiltered unless it specifically states otherwise.
Buy Raw Honey Only
Raw honey is never heated. The heating process results in the breakdown and diminishment of all the health and homeopathic attributes that raw honey contains.
Honey can be heated during the packing process for a number of reasons. Most flavored honey is heated to speed up the flavor infusion process. Gypsy Shoals Farm honey is never heated. We take a unique approach to infusing our flavored honey varieties.
Our infused honey is meticulously crafted over weeks of stirring and turning over the married ingredients to encourage the honey to absorb the flavors of the infusion without the use of heat.
By allowing the added ingredients to naturally infuse into the honey without the use of heat, we preserve the raw honey's health benefits while adding delightful notes of flavor. Although this process may be more time-consuming, it ensures that your honey maintains its natural integrity throughout the infusion process. Enjoy the rich taste of our infused honey while reaping all the goodness nature has to offer.
Raw honey is not pasteurized. Pasteurization is the process of heating any edible product with the intent to kill bad bacteria and prolong shelf-life. Honey is already anti-microbial and one of the few foods in the world with a natural indefinite shelf-life. In fact, honey has been found in the pyramid tombs of pharaohs that is still edible.
Unfortunately, many grocery store honey brands are pasteurized because the process delays the crystallization process and keeps the honey looking nicer for consumer display for a longer period of time. When raw honey does begin to crystallize, simply set the bottle into a warm bath of water to gently dissolve the crystallization without compromising the nutritional benefits.
Raw honey is commonly heated during the packing process to simply make the bottling process easier. As the honey is heated, the viscosity (or thickness) of the liquid becomes much easier to pour into bottles. Large manufacturers do this for speed of production.
Gypsy Shoals Farm honey is never heated for bottling purposes. Each bottle is hand-filled here at the apiary about 100 yards from the beehives themselves.
In the realm of honey selection, the choice to buy directly from beekeepers emerges as a testament to authenticity and quality. Discerning customers navigate past the gloss of mass-produced options to savor the genuine richness and value that raw, unfiltered honey offers.
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