What Is Raw, Unfiltered Honey?

Ever stare at a shelf of honey and genuinely not know which ones to buy? Does a recipe call for buckwheat, wildflower or possibly even raw unfiltered honey, making you look sadly with ignorance at your half-full plastic squeezy bear?

Raw, unfiltered honey is an unrefined version of the stuff in the squeezy bear touted for its earthy sweetness and numerous health benefits. Forget everything you know (or still don't know) about agave nectar, this stuff is the bee's knees.

Unlike pasteurized honey, which is heated to 161°F or higher and then strained, unfiltered honey is minimally processed and never heated above 95°F. So don't be worried if you find some wax or a few granules of pollen in your jar — it's all part of the charm.

The nutritional stats are enough to have you sticking your hands right into the hive (don't do that). Raw honey has more enzymes and beneficial bacteria than processed honey. The antibiotic properties are higher when the honey is closer to its natural state, meaning you should be smearing this stuff on any open wounds along with your morning toast. Some even claim that when consumed regularly, raw honey can lessen sensitivities to allergens.

But even if you're not prone to hay fever, you may enjoy the strong, aromatic flavor. Raw honey enthusiasts say it retains notes of floral nectar lost in heating process. When considering flavor, keep in mind that the darker varieties are generally more pungent.

The texture also may take some getting used to. Raw honey is crystalized, but if you're looking for a smoother consistency, just gently heat it over the stovetop. You can still call it raw. We won't tell.

So set the bear on a shelf, at least for now, and give unfiltered a try with these sweet recipes:

  • Avocado Honey Lime Ice Cream
  • Honey Glazed Ham
  • Honey Date Pancakes
  • Sriracha-Honey Wings
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