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  • Writer's pictureDower House Honey

A beginner’s guide to honey

Updated: May 19, 2021

What are the different ‘types’ of honey and why does it matter?

There are lots of honey products and flavours out there and most of these will be unique to a country, region or even more specific locations. Generally speaking we can differentiate between liquid/runny, creamed, chunked or hard set honeys, but what makes each and every one unique is the flavour, aroma and scent they carry. These characteristics come from the types of nectar the bees collect; which in turn is directly linked to where the bees are located and what plants grow near the hive.

What are the differences between pure, raw and natural honeys?

All honey comes from the same place (a beehive), but labels reading raw, pure, and natural can get pretty confusing. Raw honey is typically pure and natural, but pure and natural honeys aren't always raw. Still sound complicated? Think of it this way:

  • Natural, means no artificial additives

  • Pure, means no additives whatsoever (even natural ones)

  • Raw, means no additives or processing

Seems simple enough, right?

What’s the difference between “supermarket honey” and locally produced honey?

Locally produced honey should come from a single source and be easily traced back to where it came from. Typically it also only passes through a coarse filter to remove some of the wax during extraction before being put into the jars; a simple straightforward process without many steps. Then, because it’s local, you can be confident it has only travelled a short distance from the beehive to your cupboard.

Put simply, “supermarket honey” is often mass produced by industrial suppliers in a factory; where the honey in the jar is a mixture of honeys harvested from more than one country. This is where the term 'Blend of EU or non-EU honeys' comes from. This type of honey has likely undergone intensive processing methods and could have travelled thousands of miles before arriving on the shelf. These honeys won't offer the flavour or the goodness of a natural product and won't have all of the nutrients and pollen grains of an unpasteurised, unblended product from a local beekeeper.

Additionally, on an industrial scale, the focus is on production quantities with little attention being paid towards the welfare of the bees doing the hard work; along with the environment the honey comes from. For many local beekeepers their passion for the environment and their bees is the priority and the honey is a happy by-product of their passion.

I'm new to honey, what do you recommend?

The colour of the honey is a good first indicator of what it will taste like. If it’s dark it will have a stronger flavour and if it's paler it will have a more subtle flavour. From our range of honeys the English Summer Honey is a great place to start, it’s a sweet and floral runny honey. You'll soon realise that the variety of honeys out there is huge and most importantly there is a honey for each and every one of our sophisticated palates.

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