What is your expectation when you buy honey? Are you looking for a natural healthy product or a processed one of which the nutriens are already demaged?
Honey has been evaluated as a natural product consumed for its nutriens. To keep its inner values it is preferrable to avoid its processing like heating and filtering. The most natural honey is called raw honey. It is the unprocessed, unfiltered and unheated form of the honey as it was originally produced in the hive.
According to Dr. Ron Fessenden, M.D., M.P.H. the average American consumes more than 150 pounds of refined sugar, plus an additional 62 pounds of high fructose corn syrup every year. (1) In comparison, we consume only around 1.3 pounds of honey per year on average in the U.S. According to new research, if you can switch out your intake of refined sugar and use pure raw honey instead, the health benefits can be enormous.
What is raw honey? It’s a pure, unfiltered and unpasteurized sweetener made by bees from the nectar of flowers. Most of the honey consumed today is processed honey that’s been heated and filtered since it was gathered from the hive. Unlike processed honey, raw honey does not get robbed of its incredible nutritional value and health powers. It can help with everything from low energy to sleep problems to seasonal allergies. Switching to raw honey may even help weight-loss efforts when compared to diets containing sugar or high fructose corn syrup.
Lesson 1: relation between raw honey and crystallization
Honey is composed primarily of sugars, the main ones being glucose and fructose (in nearly equal proportions) as well as maltose and sucrose, and more than 180 identified components such as minerals, acids and protein.
Honey crystallizes as it is a supersaturated solution. Many factors influence the crystallization of honey. Some batches of honey never crystallize, while other do so within a few days or months of extraction.
The tendency of honey crystallization depends primarily on its glucose content and moisture level. The amount of glucose or fructose prevalent in the plants surrounding the hive that feed the bees determine just how long it will be before the honey will begin to crystallize.
Honey higher in glucose crystallizes faster. Honey lower in glucose and higher in fructose may also crystallize, it will just take more time. Additionnaly cristallization can be stimulated by any small particles – pollen, bits of wax or propolis or air bubbles.
Industrial processing like the filtering and heating of the honey slow or prevent honey from crystallization but destroys many vitamins, minerals, amino acids and enzymes in the honey which decreases honeys nutritional value. It is not incidental that the highly evaluated and expensive manuka honey has a crystallized form: no one tends to pasturize it as it would loose its distinctive value – its health benefit.
So do not worry if you find crystallized honey in the stores shelves or it happens in your kitchen. It proves that the product is natural – as you expected.
Lesson 2: What to do with raw crystallized honey?
To return a bottle of crystallized honey to liquid state, simply place it over a warm water bath of about 40ºC (lowest temperature of your cooker) for about 15 – 30 minutes or as soon as the granules have dissolved.