Honey - From Beehive to Bottles

on September 25, 2020

Raw honey is the untreated version of the honey that is packed into the bottle from a beehive without any filtration or processing. It is generally described as the honey that is present as it is in the beehive. Raw honey does not undergo any form of treatment, unlike the regular honey that is available in the market. There are significant differences in the way beekeeping is done for raw honey and organic honey.

raw himalayan honey

Rearing of bees or Beekeeping is called as apiculture. It is a practice of managing honey bees to produce the desired quality of honey. This thick golden sugary liquid is produced by the industrious bees which are the most studied insects in the world. Honey is a by-product of flower nectar and upper aerodigestive tract of the honey bee. Depending upon the conditions under which these bees are kept the complex chemical composition of the honey varies. The quality and characteristics of honey depend on the flower nectar from which it is extracted.

Beekeeping is not a new concept in India. However, Beekeeping as a commercial project is a growing trend. It can be taken up as a standalone commercial activity or can be done alongside other farming activities.

Other Varieties of Honey

There are different kinds of honey depending upon the blossoms visited by the bees. Some of them are:

White honey: it is produced from the nectar of cotton flowers. It is very sweet in taste.

Alfalfa honey: This type is produced from flowers has a very mild flavour and aroma. It is great for everyday use.

Avacado Honey: This type of honey is produced from flowers of avocado plant. It is dark in colour and has a buttery taste.

Eucalyptus honey:  It is strong flavoured honey and has some sort of medicinal scent. It has high medicinal values. It is great for respiratory, anti-inflammatory, anti-septic, anti-bacterial and can also be used as a deodorant.

Sunflower Honey - It is very less sweet variety of honey, which is available mostly during the blooming season of sunflowers. It is a warm yellowy honey that perfectly complements a toast. 

Mustard Honey - It comes from pure pollen and nectar of mustard flowers collected by bees. 

Some other types of honey are neem honey, orange blossom honey, golden honey, premium honey, chunk honey, comb honey, seesam honey, karthik honey etc.

Differences and Similarities Between Raw Honey and Organic Honey

Like all the other food products or dietary products honey also has a healthy organic variant in the market. The sustainable lifestyle choices that are being slowly gaining importance in everyday life have opened up a whole new market for organic foods and substances. There are some very significant differences and similarities between raw honey and organic honey. Some of them are:

  1. Regular honey is produced by a process that involves extraction, settling or straining. Most importantly Raw honey is not heated or pasteurization. The process of straining is done to remove any body parts of the bees.This honey remains nutritious as it is not processed.

    Organic honey is produced by following certain organic livestock standards. The protocols that need to be followed are that the hives must not be sprayed with any chemicals. And the flowers on which the bees fall should also be free from all forms of chemicals and antibiotics. And organic honey is also not heated beyond pasteurization.

  2. Both raw honey and organic honey are cloudy yellow in colour and the consistency of honey is thick. Both the varieties of honey are thick and opaque and can get crystallized

  3. Raw and organic honey has rich nutritional values, they are rich in Vitamin B and C, as well as have high antioxidant level. However regualr honey due to overheating strip off its nutritional values that makes it less effective. 

Many companies are collaborating with local tribes of remote areas in states like Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu etc and extracting honey by following traditional practices. They do not use any preservatives, antibiotics and also do not overheat the extracted honey. They have created a parallel market for themselves online. One of such traditionally extracted honey is offered by bigTokari. 

Why is Raw Honey important for health?

Raw honey as discussed above has some exceptional health benefits like the organic version of the same. Some of the health benefits of consuming pure and healthy organic honey or raw honey as claimed by the companies are

  1. Anti Oxidant: Raw Honey contains some plant chemicals which act as antioxidants. These help in fighting free radicals those contribute to the ageing process.
  2. Anti Bacterial and Antifungal: Many studies have proved that honey has special properties that aid in killing bacteria and fungus.
  3. Relives sore throat: A spoonful of honey when consumed with a glass of hot water can cure sore throat and also throat infections.
  4. Improves skin textures: The presence of antioxidants makes hone a great ingredient to add in any of your face masks. It helps in improving the skin texture and also lightens pigmentation.
  5. Better sugar substitute: The regular sugar available in the market is proved to be very harmful to the human body. Honey makes for a great substitute.
  6. Relives sunburns: Honey can cure sunburns and also lightens tan and sunspots on the body.

These benefits of pure organic honey make the most favoured sugar substitute. Honey a sweetener is picking up its market gradually in India. The change in trends can be attributed to awareness among people. It is a low-fat food and rich in protein and dietary fibre. It is also rich in Vitamin B and C. It has been used for medicinal purposes owing to its anti-bacterial properties from ancient times.

The traditional sugar sweetener is constantly being proved to be unhealthy and hence other alternatives to this traditional white sugar are being suggested by nutritionists, and doctors to everybody. Amongst the various alternatives to traditional white sugar as a sweetener that is available, honey is the least harmful one. 

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