Both “raw” and “pure” sound like they could be interchangeable descriptors, but when it comes down to the specifics, they mean very different things for honey. Raw honey refers to honey that has not been heated for pasteurization. It also means that it has not been cut with corn syrup, sugar or another ingredient to dilute it or change the flavor, and that it has not been closely filtered to remove pollen and air bubbles. Raw honey is lightly filtered to remove pieces of honeycomb and other debris, but that is the only processing that it undergoes. Basically, raw honey is as close to the beehive as you can get.
Pure honey only means that it has not been cut with corn syrup, sugar or another ingredient to dilute it. Usually, pure honey has been heated for pasteurization and filtered at least once if not twice, which is what separates it from raw honey. These heating and filtering processes are thought to improve the aesthetic appearance of the pure honey because they remove air bubbles and make the honey look more uniformly transparent. However, the processes also tend to remove or break down the pollen and nutrients that give honey its unique taste and HEALTH BENEFITS.
Pure honey may or may not be different from just plain “honey,” depending on the manufacturer. A lot of products labeled “honey” actually are diluted with corn syrup sugar and other lower quality ingredients. The addition of these other ingredients makes the “honey” sweeter and also reduces manufacturing costs, thereby increasing profits for the grocery store and supplier. Next time you are at the store, take a close look at the ingredients on a cheap bottle of “honey” and you might be surprised what other additives are in there. Plain honey has also usually been pasteurized and filtered multiple times to give it that clear, transparent look.
Raw Honey vs. Pure Honey: Which to Choose?
In terms of the taste and nutritional benefits, we recommend choosing raw honey out of all your options. Raw honey has the highest amount of pollen and nutritional compounds, which means that it is the most beneficial choice for your health. Because of the high pollen count, raw honey will also taste like whatever flowers were used to make it. This means that each raw honey will have a unique flavor that it imparts to whatever you mix it into.
This is why we include many different flavors of Plain Raw Honey and Speciality Honey, in Our Honey Collection, Each of these raw honeys has a completely delicious yet totally distinct taste, thanks to the different regional flora they come from or the infused Fruits and Veggies that where used. This allows you to choose whichever raw honey will enhance your beverage or food the most.
When shopping at the grocery, keep in mind that “honey” without a qualifier is pretty much just a sweetener and does not offer any of the antioxidants or nutritional benefits of raw honey, due to the dilution of ingredients and all the extra processing.