These are perhaps the most prevalent questions from new honey users who are unsure which bottle to buy. I wish life were simple enough for me to answer all of these questions quickly. No, it isn’t. Regardless, I’ll try to define “raw,” “local,” “pure,” and “organic” below.
My first bit of advice is to get honey directly from a reliable Best Honey brand in Pakistan. By consuming local, pure, unadulterated honey, you’ll not only benefit the ecosystem, but you’ll also know if it’s raw or organic without even knowing what those labels mean. Request a farm visit from your beekeeper if you want to know exactly where your food comes from and how it is made.
To get the freshest raw honey, you’ll need to visit bee farms or beekeepers, which isn’t possible unless you live near one. Before deciphering honey labels, we must first acknowledge that not all honey is created equal. Weather, soil, location, and pollution levels can all affect the quality of honey (e.g., New Zealand boasts exceptionally low levels of environmental pollution for beekeeping operations). The use of sugar syrup and antibiotics on bees are examples of other issues.
Choosing which honey to buy might be challenging when so many beekeepers claim to have the greatest and purest honey in the world. Medicinal honeys with higher antibacterial properties than others include Manuka UMF 10+ (New Zealand), Pakistan, Tualang (Malaysia), Sidr (Yemen), and honeydew (Europe). Due to their exorbitant cost, some honey kinds are just out of reach for many buyers. Because of this, these expensive varietals are typically kept as a treasure for healing burns and other illnesses.
Intensely flavored raw honey is unprocessed, unheated, and unpasteurized. However, calling honey “raw” or labelling it as such is permitted. We have raw honey that has been lightly warmed to slow granulation and allow gentle filtering and packing into containers for sale. Pure honey claims may be misleading because the product may contain unknown amounts of “genuine honey,” which does not suggest that the product is 100% pure honey.
In order to prevent crystallization and maintain honey smooth and shelf-stable, most commercial honey is pasteurized or heat-treated. They’re also well-filtered, with no specks. Allergies, yes, but many consumers associate pollens, brown stuff, and even crystallization with impurities and low quality, and refuse to buy honey that contains them. What a travesty.
Foreign honey is often cheaper than local honey, making it difficult for small local beekeepers to compete with huge honey exporters. In short, buy local honey to support your local beekeepers, but beware of foreign honey bottled and sold as “local honey” in your area. For example, the US imports most of its honey from China, repackaging and labelling it as its own. While beekeepers find it silly to continue to love beekeeping while faced with grave financial challenges, customers believe it is hard to support substantially more expensive local honey with their limited purchasing power.
Whether you need organic honey depends on your commitment to organic products. The source of nectar, honey bee foraging region, bee management, honey extracting procedure, transportation, processing temperature, and packaging materials must all be organically certified. Organic honey is worth the extra money if you feel it is free of pesticide residues and other environmental hazards.
The flavor of honey is also important to me as a consumer. Its flavor varies based on the flower species utilized to capture nectar. It’s not just honey from unidentified floral varietals. Try mono-floral varietals. Choose a flowery type that you like if you’re going to drink it every day straight or blended with water. Because taste is subjective, not all types will appeal to all. If you use honey in beverages or foods, experiment with several varieties to determine what works best for you. In general, use mild honey for strong-flavored items, and stronger honey for blander foods to make a tastier mixture. For example, adding a flavorful honey like leatherwood or eucalyptus flowery varietal to English breakfast tea transforms the taste. For a more adventurous honey experience, you can mix any honey with any cuisine. Honey flavor intricacies are limitless.
Finally, I believe in eating the best honey you can afford. Affordability, accessibility to beekeepers and reputable commercial brands, and belief in the health and therapeutic benefits of honey all play a role in your honey choosing.
In the end, I prefer commercial and pasteurized honey over refined table sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and any artificial sugar, even if raw honey is unavailable. Buy cheap honey? I’d advise against it. Finding fake or adulterated honey at the same cheap price as rare flower varietals like Corsican honey is easy; finding genuine pure honey at the same low price as corn syrup is practically difficult.
Ruth Tan is the developer of the popular islamichoney.com website Advantages of Honey, a comprehensive resource on honey and its advantages, as well as other health-related issues. Visit our Honey Resource to learn why real honey is superior to all other sugars and sweeteners.