Types of honey products on shelf

Most honey on shelf in South Africa is pouring honey sold in plastic squeeze bottles – consumers are attracted to the convenience, custom and the relatively low price point. The lower price is explained by the large volume of pouring honey imported into South Africa from large honey exporting countries in Asia and the Americas.  Internationally, honey is traded on a large scale and the provenance of import honey is therefore often an issue (and see more here on how to test for real honey).

Honeycomb

This is the least processed form of honey and is the honey contained in the sealed wax cells of the comb. 

Honeycomb showcases the perfection and beauty of honey and just as most honey varies in taste and colour depending on its provenance. It is safe (and delicious) to consume the honey, the waxy hexagonal containers of the honeycomb and chunk honey – being pieces of the whole honeycomb suspended in liquid honey usually sold in a glass jar.  Honeycomb looks and tastes great when presented as part of a cheese platter or a dessert.

Honeycomb showcases the perfection and beauty of honey and just as most honey varies in taste and colour depending on its provenance. It is safe (and delicious) to consume the honey, the waxy hexagonal containers of the honeycomb and chunk honey – being pieces of the whole honeycomb suspended in liquid honey usually sold in a glass jar.  Honeycomb looks and tastes great when presented as part of a cheese platter or a dessert.

Raw honey

Is used to describe honey in its unprocessed form and starts off being liquid and, depending on various factors (including floral source), will crystallise over time. 

The only “processing” is that of harvesting honey from the beehives, extracting the honey from the honeycomb and then bottling it – leaving it in its natural state for consumers. 

It is generally accepted that heating honey, filtering honey and/or irradiating honey destroys the beneficial properties for which consumers buy honey, including that these processes remove the pollen, proteins and enzymes. 

Raw honey is honey that has not been heated to more than beehive temperature and is unfiltered.  It is the best ‘go-to’ honey for any occasion and there are few simple pleasures that taste better than a croissant with raw honey or Greek yoghurt with nuts and raw honey.

"Raw honey is honey that has not been heated to more than beehive temperature and is unfiltered.  It is the best ‘go-to’ honey for any occasion and there are few simple pleasures that taste better than a croissant with raw honey or Greek yoghurt with nuts and raw honey."

Creamed honey

Is made by gently whipping raw honey to form a large number of small crystals.  This gives creamed honey a smooth and spreadable consistency ideal for your morning toast. 

The glucose forming the crystals are naturally white which gives creamed honey a lighter colour than raw honey (which is in its liquid or crystallised form). 

The creaming process does not disturb any of the beneficial properties of the honey and creamed honey therefore retains all the same health benefits as raw honey.

"The creaming process does not disturb any of the beneficial properties of the honey and creamed honey therefore retains all the same health benefits as raw honey."

Pouring Honey

Is mostly packaged in plastic squeeze bottles and has generally undergone a greater degree of processing (heating) to prolong crystallisation. 

Liquid honey in squeeze bottles is convenient for pouring and drizzling over food and beverages to sweeten, add flavour and decorate foodstuffs, including your breakfast oats, afternoon tea, crêpe and other desserts. 

Most of the pouring honey on shelf in South Africa is imported honey and therefore generally irradiated (see more on this here).

In addition to the distinctions above, honey is frequently marketed as being from a predominant floral source or geography and therefore having a specific taste, smell, consistency and other properties, such as Orange Blossom Honey (from citrus fruit), Macadamia Honey, Fynbos Honey, Saligna Honey (Eucalyptus) or even Bean Blossom Honey (from kidney beans) or Pumpkin Honey.  Single source honey can be of any type and the extent to which such honey has been processed therefore remains just as relevant as with other honey.

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