Honey is nature’s wonder. And health-conscious people around the world are turning their attention towards India, due to its Organic Honey. It is collected from different parts of India including the hilly areas of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Araku Valley in Andhra Pradesh and others. In fact, the famous Kashmir Honey is one of the bestselling varieties and is exclusively collected from the beautiful and mesmerizing landscapes of Kashmir. The Honey collected from rain-fed slopes of Araku Valley acts as excellent digestive and antioxidant due to the presence of a large variety of medicinal plants in the valley.
So, let us see the different varieties of Honey available in India and which one you should choose:
Commercial Honey is actually a pasteurized version. Though you won’t see the word ‘pasteurized’ anywhere on the container, isn’t it obvious that commercial products are all processed? Instead the word you see in description is ‘Pure’. But the reality is very far from it, as there are no set of manufacturing standards that define ‘pure’ on a label. And such commercially manufactured Honey may actually contain fillers such as corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, etc.
It is manufactured and processed to remove all the bits and pieces like pollen, propolis, comb, etc. that come along with Honey during collection. It is heated to get a cleaner final product and filtered for a smooth texture. It is manufactured in such a way that it doesn’t crystallize unless allowed to freeze in a refrigerator. It is heated to high temperature to achieve this and in the process kills all the bacterial enzymes. Though it is not an optimal variety, it is better than refined sugar. If raw or Organic Honey is not available, commercial Honey from stores is the next best form.
Raw Honey is collected and distributed by trusted local beekeepers. This acts as a great immunity source against seasonal allergies. With just a visit to your beekeeper’s unit, you can assess the quality of the Honey. It is usually 100% pure and unadulterated. It will be available in 3 forms:
- Completely Raw Honey – It will be crystallized and crunchy when you buy it. It may contain bits of pollen, wax and other remnants.
- Unfiltered Raw (or Strained) – It will crystallize more quickly than the other types. It is simply strained to free the Honey from large chunks of combs etc.
- Filtered raw Honey – It is slightly heated and filtered. It is completely clean without any bits of pollen etc. It doesn’t have all the other health benefits of a completely raw Honey, but it is considered better than pasteurized variety.
Though the raw Honey is claimed to be unprocessed, there are no strict legal requirements labelling Honey as “raw”. Though they are unprocessed, they are slightly warmed to retard granulation for a short period of time and allow light straining and packing into containers for sale. Therefore, it is difficult to identify the amount of real Honey in 100% pure Honey.
The variety of Honey with best flavor, aroma and health benefits is Organic Honey. Organic Honey manufactures meet the standards set by the local organic agriculture board in terms of bee foraging areas, source of nectar, bee management, extraction, transportation and packaging materials. For Honey to be organic, the beekeepers have to follow the below standards of cultivation:
- The farms surrounding the beekeeping areas about 5 kilometers are organic. Meaning these farms are cultivated only through natural ways and with the use of natural fertilizers.
- No additives are added at any point of time (sugar, sweeteners, non-compliant Honey etc.).
- Mostly, the beehives are maintained in isolated areas far from pollution and heavy traffic areas and cultivated under safe, pesticide-free environment.
- During starvation, bees must be fed organic supplements only like Honey, sugar, fruit concentrate etc.
This kind of farming demands rigorous methods and regular sample tests which ensure that the process is consistently organic.
Organic Honey is a healthier choice and has superior taste when compared to other varieties.