Honey is a staple in our household. It’s a great natural sweetener, and it has great health benefits too.
Not to mention that it’s delicious.
Looking at all of the options that are available at the grocery store, I started to get curious about what kind of honey was best. I saw a lot of organic honey too, and I wondered what organic honey really meant.
Here’s what I found.
What is Organic Honey?
For honey to be certified organic, all of the plants that the bees pollinate must be organically grown without chemicals.
Since bees fly up to five miles from their hives in order to pollinate flowers (and they visit over 500 million flowers in a year), it’s very difficult for farmers to make sure their land and the land all around them meets this requirement.
Additionally, the bees cannot be given any antibiotics.
Due to these strict requirements, the USDA no longer certifies any honey as organic as of 2021.
So… Does Organic Honey Really Exist?
You may still see organic honey on your grocery store shelves. Some may even have a USDA seal. In fact, I’m writing this article in March 2021, and I just purchased honey with a USDA-certified organic seal. This is likely because the honey was bottled and certified pre-2021.
Unfortunately, however, there are no current standards for the term “organic” on honey, so anyone can say their honey is organic (as long as they don’t use the USDA seal).
Any certified-organic honey has to be certified from another country and then imported into the U.S.
It is possible for organic honey to exist (anything is possible, right?), but it’s extremely difficult, and, honestly, pretty unlikely.
What is the Difference Between Raw and Organic Honey?
Looking through the honey available at your local grocery store or farmers market, you’ll probably come across both “organic” honey and raw honey. What’s the difference?
Raw Honey is basically honey as it exists in the hive. It’s simply strained to remove impurities (like the body parts of bees).
Regular and/or organic honey is pasteurized at high heat and further filtered to give it a smoother texture and a longer shelf life.
Is Raw Honey Better Than Organic Honey?
Raw honey is more nutritious than pasteurized honey, and seeing as how true organic honey doesn’t really exist, raw honey is better for you.
The reason raw honey is better is because a lot of the benefits (which we’ll talk more about below) are lessened during the pasteurization process. The pollen can also be very beneficial, but it’s removed from conventional honey.
The Benefits of Eating Honey
Honey can reduce long-term health risks. Honey has a large amount of antioxidants (polyphenols) that have been shown to lower your risk of heart disease, strokes, and some cancers.
Honey eases sore throats. Mary Poppins had something going when she gave those kids “a spoonful of sugar.” Honey can help ease a sore throat, and it can also be used as a cough suppressant. In fact, some research shows that it performs better than some over-the-counter medications.
Honey may improve liver function. The pollen in honey has been shown to improve liver function. It protects the liver from toxins and may help control glucose levels too.
Honey can kill bacteria. You can actually use honey on wounds! It’s been shown to kill bacteria (even some that are resistant to antibiotics).
This article was short and sweet (pun definitely intended), but I hope it was a big help to you if you’ve been on the hunt for organic honey!
Just put some raw honey in your organic tea, and you can reap some of the amazing benefits that we talked about above!