I was a little surprised to learn that most Americans expect their honey to be completely clear, with that particularly golden-colored hue. On one hand, sure- that version of honey looks really pretty, and pretty foods tend to be among the most popular. But my intuition tells me that most people wouldn’t pay that much attention to what their honey looks like. Except that it’s clearly very unlikely that most consumers would buy the milky-colored, thick version of honey, which is the way many raw honeys simply come.
But with the recent news that most American honeys sold in the store aren’t really honey, we’re in a whole new landscape of honey consumption. After all, most Americans buy their honey at grocery stores, and almost all of those honeys, such as Busy Bee, Mel-O, and Sue Bee, are not only not organic or raw, there’s so much pollen taken out of them that FDA doesn’t even consider them to qualify, technically, as honey.
They’ve become honey-syrup hybrids of some sort, and the reason they can be sold on store shelves is because the FDA doesn’t have a system in place for checking the honeys for authenticity. So that means that tons of people are using faux honey, whether in their tea, on their sandwiches, or in their baking. And, very potentially, some of the products that we buy, whether cereals or breads or desserts, could contain this same type of faux honey.
It’s not like eating this version of honey is going to make us sick, it should be pointed out…I think it’s more a case of knowing what you’re consuming, and having some control over it. If you go raw, as in raw honey – preferably local – then you’re getting real honey, which hasn’t been processed or pasteurized, has a much lower glycemic index than the pretend stuff, is an unrefined sugar, and, if you have a palette for honey, you’ll also recognize how much better it tastes.
Raw, unprocessed/unpasteurzied honey is the real deal, and when it comes right down to it, you get what you pay for. So if you’re going to buy honey, I encourage you to buy raw honey– for the taste, for the health, and for supporting small (and ideally local) producers, as opposed to industrial farming. If you shop carefully, you’ll find some good deals on the raw stuff; if you don’t have good access to it, well then that’s what online shopping is for.