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buy honey

Do you want to purchase a jar, but don’t really know how to buy honey?  Do you know if you are purchasing the real thing?

More and more people are scratching their heads as they read honey labels.  It can be very confusing indeed.  With the reports of fake honey in stores, it’s important to get a little knowledge before buying.

With a few tips, and a few things to keep in mind, you can be more confident that what you are purchasing is real, good quality honey.   And because honey is so incredible for you, it’s worth the effort to know what you are buying.   So here’s a Honey Buyer’s Guide, if you will.

What Should I Look For On The Label?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a set standard for labeling honey, so this is where it can get a bit tricky.    But, there are guidelines that manufacturers follow, so this will help you so that you know how to buy honey.   Keep in mind that the quality of honey depends on how it was produced.    Farmers usually produce honey by hand, and this honey is minimally processed.   That being the case, this type of honey may have small bits of wax, propolis or other things that may be visible, so it is usually strained a bit before being put in jars.  Pollen may be left in the honey, but that’s a good thing because pollen is an important ingredient in honey because it helps to identify true honey and it also enhances the taste.  Honey produced this way is called:

Raw Honey

This is the healthiest form of honey – pure and natural.  All of the enzymes are intact because it hasn’t been heated (high heat), so you get the best healing benefits of the honey.  Sometimes you will see “thickening” or crystallization of honey.  Don’t be alarmed because this does not affect the quality of the honey.  In fact, many people love it this way.  Creamed honey is also made from crystallized honey.   If you want to eliminate the crystals, just warm it and the crystals will liquefy.

Some raw honey may also have a piece of the actual honeycomb in the jar.   The honeycomb is just beeswax.  It also contains several things that are very good for you.  Not only does it look pretty cool, but you can use it on a plate along with fruit or cheese for an amazing presentation, or you can even eat or chew on it.

Pasteurized Honey

This honey has been heated using high temperatures and ultra-strained.  This type of honey is devoid of the beneficial bacterial enzymes.  This type of honey will not crystallize nearly as fast as raw honey.  Pasteurized honey looks clear, is more uniform and presents well, but that does not mean it is the best honey.

Manufacturers usually will not put the word “pasteurized” on the label, so don’t believe that you have raw honey if the word pasteurized is not present.

Pasteurized honey may have the word “pure” on the label.  This means nothing, really.  There is no set labeling standard for “pure” honey.  A honey can be labeled “pure” but have corn syrup in it.  So don’t be fooled.

Filtered raw honey

Filtered raw honey has been slightly heated and filtered.  When this is done, some of the elements such as pollen and propolis are removed, so the honey looks clearer.   Although this type of honey is a better quality than pasteurized honey, it still doesn’t provide all the awesome health benefits.

Organic Honey

In order for honey to be certified organic, it has to meet a set of stringent organic standards during the honey production.  This type of honey has been tested and guaranteed to be free of pesticides, pollutants, etc.  Of course, this type of honey is more expensive (as with most “organic” things), and if you feel it’s worth the extra, then by all means, purchase it.

Medical Grade Honey

Certain hospitals and medical practices use a certain type of honey for medical use.  Although honey, by nature, has excellent healing and antibacterial properties, a certain type, called Manuka honey, is especially beneficial.

Manuka honey gets its name from the manuka tree.  This small shrub grows in New Zealand and Australia.  Manuka honey has both antifungal and antibacterial qualities, so it is used to heal wounds, burns, acne, ulcers, infections, etc.  Manuka honey bandages are currently being used in the medical field, and this type of honey has been proven to heal – sometimes even when antibiotics have not.  Powerful indeed!

Manuka honey has a dark color and a fairly strong aroma, similar to tea tree oil.


Your honey may be labeled as wildflower, buckwheat, clover, acacia, creamed, etc.   This does not mean that your honey has flavoring added (although there are such things as flavored honey – added nuts, spices, etc).  It just means that the honey came from that particular flower nectar that the bees collected in making your honey.  The type of plant nectar the bees collected will determine the characteristics of the honey (aroma, taste, color, etc.)

If You Can, Buy From. . . .

Your local bee farmer.  Local honey comes from your own area, and you can be sure you have a good quality, pure honey.

How Do You Intend To Use The Honey?

If you are going to bake a cake and want to use honey, then you probably don’t care so much about whether or not it is pasteurized.  But, if you are drizzling it over your yogurt for better health, then you will probably want raw honey so that you get all the benefits.  If you are going to use honey to help with gum disease, or as part of your oral hygiene, then you’d probably want to use Manuka honey.  So keep the reason you want the honey in mind when buying it.

So, there you have a few  tips on how to buy honey.   Once you open the jar, dip your finger in and gather some of the best-tasting honey, you’ll be glad you took the time to find out how to buy honey, the best honey.

Do you have any tips for how to buy honey?  Share it with us!


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