You might get to think that honey in itself is raw and not really see the main significance of this discussion. Raw honey is ideally the concentrated nectar that comes from flowers. Raw honey is said to be unpasteurized, unheated, pure and unprocessed. Raw honey is said to be alkaline when mapped to the PH indicator scale.
The ingredients in raw honey are similar to the ones found in fruits. Raw honey is used for the purpose of counteracting acid indigestion. When raw honey is mixed with lemon, it helps to energize the body and relieve the effects of nausea. Arguably, raw honey is the most significant in terms of nutritional value as compared to other types of honey. Unfiltered honey contains the amylase enzyme which helps in the digestion of starch.
The honey you come across in the supermarkets is not raw; it is known as commercial that has undergone pasteurizing. It is also filtered in order to look smoother and cleaner thus more appealing when placed on the shelves. Pasteurization is the process of killing yeast cells thus preventing fermentation. Fermentation also slows the crystallization of liquid honey.
When heating honey the main components like the enzymes, yeast and even the aromas are destroyed thus reducing on its efficacy. This is why natural unfiltered honey is said to hold more nutritional value than heated honey. Raw honey has fine crystals and looks milkier. The raw honey is also low in moisture content and also has a high concentration of antioxidants. People use raw honey on bread, or dissolve it in coffee or tea. It is also commonly used in baking some cakes.
It can be very hard to find honey that is 100% raw and unfiltered. In many cases, you will find that the ‘raw’ honey has been heated in order to reduce the chances of granulation.
Forms of honey
Honey comes in a couple of physical forms. It is very important to learn about these types so that you make informed decisions when you visit the supermarket. Through learning the variants of honey, you will also learn about their applicability so you can use them in a more informed manner.
This is extremely difficult to get nowadays. The common use of comb honey has resulted from the invention of the honey extractor. Comb honey is comprised of raw honey that is taken directly from the hive. This is the most unprocessed form of bee honey. It can be chewed to extract the liquid like candy. Honey that is sold in this form tends to cost more because it offers more health assurance to the consumers.
This can be easily spotted almost anywhere. This is the filtered form of honey. It is free of particles, air bubbles and pollen. It is heated in order to melt crystals after extraction from the honey comb through gravity of centrifugal forces. This kind of honey is used in many applications mainly because it is easily miscible. The most common use of liquid honey is in baking and cooking.
This is also referred to as spun honey, whipped honey, granulated honey, or even honey fondant. It is a very effective alternative to liquid honey. It can be spread on a slice of bread like butter and does not drip like liquid honey would do.
Note that honey loses stability due to increase in moisture in it. If you add water to alcohol, it gets to ferment and thus produces the alcoholic smell.
The flavor and color of honey
Color defines the aroma and flavor of honey. Dark honey tends to exhibit a robust aroma as opposed to lighter honey. The color of the honey and even the flavor is determined by the mother flower that produced the original raw material- nectar. Exposure to high heat conditions might also affect the color quality of honey. Honey darkens when subjected to high temperatures. On the other hand, the lighter honey is as a result of granulation. This is the reason why most of the creamed honeys we get in the supermarkets today are light in color and opaque.