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- What is the role of pollen in honey?
Honey is made by honey bees from the nectar of flowers and plants, not pollen. Pollen is actually an accidental guest in honey, brought back by the bee as a source of food for baby bees (the "brood"), or incidentally introduced into the honey through other means, such as during the extraction process. Pollen in honey is sometimes analyzed to help determine the primary floral source. The amount of pollen in honey is minuscule and not enough to impact the nutrient value of honey. Honey is still honey, even without pollen.
- Is raw honey more nutritious than processed or filtered honey?
While there is no official definition of "raw" honey, it generally means honey that has not been heated or filtered. According to the FDA, "nutritious" can be used in reference to the diet as a whole, not an individual food. Nevertheless, we often see or hear claims that raw honey is "more nutritious" or "better for you," primarily because raw honey may contain small amounts of pollen grains that are often removed during processing or filtering.
Honey is produced by honey bees from the nectar of plants, not pollen. Pollen occurs only incidentally in honey. The amount of pollen in honey is miniscule and not enough to impact the nutrient value of honey. According to Dr. Lutz Elflein, a honey analysis expert with an international food laboratory, the amount of pollen in honey ranges from about 0.1 to 0.4%. Similarly, a 2004 study by the Australian government found the percentage of dry weight canola pollen in 32 Australian canola honey samples ranged from 0.15% to 0.443%.
A 2012 study by the National Honey Board analyzed vitamins, minerals and antioxidant levels in raw and processed honey. The study showed that processing significantly reduced the pollen content of the honey, but did not affect the nutrient content or antioxidant activity, leading the researchers to conclude that the micronutrient profile of honey is not associated with its pollen content and is not affected by commercial processing.
- Why is most honey filtered?
According to USDA Grading Standards for extracted honey, filtered honey is honey that has been filtered to the extent that all or most of the fine particles, pollen grains, air bubbles, or other materials normally found in suspension, have been removed.
Honey that is filtered by packers is filtered for various reasons:
Many consumers prefer honey that is liquid and stays liquid for a long time.
All honey crystallizes eventually. Suspended particles and fine air bubbles in honey contribute to faster crystallization. Filtering helps delay crystallization, helping the honey to remain liquid for a much longer period than unfiltered honey.
Many consumers prefer honey to be clear and brilliantly transparent.
The presence of fine, suspended material (pollen grains, wax, etc.) and air bubbles results in a cloudy appearance that can detract from the appearance. Filtering is done to give a clear brilliant product desired by consumers. For the filtered style of honey, USDA Grading Standards for Extracted Honey give higher grades for honey that has good clarity.
Honey is filtered to remove extraneous solids that remain after the initial raw processing by the beekeeper.
Various filtration methods are used by the food industry throughout the world. Ultrafiltration, a specific kind of filtration used in the food industry, should not be confused with other filtration methods generally used in the honey industry. When applied to honey, ultrafiltration involves adding water to honey and filtering it under high pressure at the molecular level, then removing the water. It is a much more involved and expensive process which results in a colorless sweetener product that is derived from honey but is not considered "honey" in the U.S.
Honey that is filtered through more traditional methods is still "honey," even if pollen has been removed along with other fine particles.
For more information on filtration and pollen's role in honey, click here.
- What is raw honey?
While there is no official definition of raw honey, it generally means honey that has not been heated or filtered.
- How do I tell the difference between honey bees and other stinging insects?
To tell the difference between a honey bee and other insects, please visit the following site at the link below.
- How do I substitute honey for sugar?
When substituting honey for granulated sugar in recipes, begin by substituting honey for up to half of the sugar called for in the recipe. For baked goods, make sure to reduce the oven temperature by 25F to prevent over-browning; reduce any liquid called for by 1/4 cup for each cup of honey used and add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda for each cup of honey used. Because of its high fructose content, honey has higher sweetening power than sugar. This means you can use less honey than sugar to achieve the desired sweetness.
- Why can't I feed honey to my baby less than 1 year of age?
Honey may contain Clostridium botulinum spores that can cause infant botulism - a rare but serious disease that affects the nervous system of young babies (under one year of age). C. botulinum spores are present throughout the environment and may be found in dust, soil and improperly canned foods. Adults and children over one year of age are routinely exposed to, but not normally affected by, C. botulinum spores. Honey is safe to consume during pregnancy and lactation. While infants are susceptible to the infant botulism, adults, including pregnant females, are not. The concern for babies stems from the fact that infants lack the fully developed gastrointestinal tract of older humans. Since the mother is not in danger of developing this condition, the unborn baby is protected. Spores are inactivated when manufactured food products (such as cereals or nuts) receive a roasting heat treatment. Graham crackers or cereal, for example, would not contain any viable microbial spores.
- My honey has become solid (crystallized), is it still good?
Crystallization is the natural process by which the glucose in honey precipitates out of the liquid honey. Different varieties of honey will crystallize at different rates, and a few not at all. If your honey crystallizes, simply place the honey jar in warm water and stir until the crystals dissolve. Or, place the honey in a microwave-safe container with the lid off and microwave, stirring every 30 seconds, until the crystals dissolve. Be careful not to boil or scorch the honey. Also keep in mind that you can eat the honey in a crystallized form. Just scoop out of the jar and spread it on your toast or drop it in your tea!
- Does honey have an expiration date?
Honey stored in sealed containers can remain stable for decades and even centuries! However, honey is susceptible to physical and chemical changes during storage; it tends to darken and lose its aroma and flavor or crystallize. These are temperature-dependent processes, making the shelf life of honey difficult to define. For practical purposes, a shelf life of two years is often stated. Properly processed, packaged and stored honey retains its quality for a long time. If in doubt, throw it out, and purchase a new jar of honey!
- What is Mead?
Mead is a wine made from honey. It contains honey, water, and yeast that is fermented into wine.
Mead is, in all likelihood, the oldest alcoholic beverage known to mankind. Before agricultural techniques were developed, humans were traditionally hunters and gatherers. After gathering honey from the hive, it would be saved for special occasions; while it was stored the natural yeasts and the high moisture content would cause the honey to ferment, producing mead. It is no wonder mead is often referred to as the "nectar of the gods", as its appearance seemed miraculous.
The term Honeymoon is believed to have come from the custom of giving mead to the newlywed couple. The bride and groom were given one month (one moon cycle) of mead to drink after the wedding. It was believed that if the couple followed this ritual they would become more fertile.
- Is your honey pasteurized?
No. Honey is naturally antibacterial so it does not need to be pasteurized. Our Honey is warmed just enough to allow for easy straining and then bottled for maximum freshness and quality.