Difference Between Raw Honey and Pure Honey

Main Difference – Raw Honey vs Pure Honey

Honey is a sweet, sticky fluid made by bees and other insects using nectar collected from flowers. Honey mainly contains monosaccharides fructose and glucose and is more or less similar in sweetness to granulated sugar.  It is mostly consumed as one of the natural sweeteners in the world. This natural sweetener is mainly used as a food ingredient for the production of confectionery products. Honey is a major calorie source although it does not contain significant nutrient content. Therefore, honey is mainly used for baking due to its distinctive flavor and color. There are two types of honey which are known as Raw Honey and Pure Honey. Raw honey is not harmful to your health because it does not undergo any chemical or physical food processing treatments. In contrast, pure honey is free from pollen and other particles because it undergoes some chemical and physical treatment during food processing. This is the main difference between raw honey and pure honey. Although, both raw honey and pure honey belong to the naturally derived honey sweeteners group, raw and pure honey versions have different sensory and nutritional properties and this article explores this differences between raw honey and pure honey.

What is Raw Honey

Honey gets its sweetness from the monosaccharides fructose and glucose. Raw honey is a minimally processed honey. It is not pasteurized, and not heated up to 95 degrees Fahrenheit like processed or pure honey. It is also not fine filtered to remove all the pollen and other beneficial substances. Raw honey can be directly obtained from the hive.

Main Difference - Raw Honey vs Pure Honey

What is Pure Honey

Pure honey mainly refers to the fact that the honey is pasteurized and is filtered to remove all the pollen and other substances that are in honey. US National Honey Board defines raw honey as a 100% unadulterated honey with no other sweetener additives. But honey undergoes some heat treatment and filtration. Due to these various processing conditions, pure honey lacks beneficial vitamins and enzymes compared to raw honey. In contrast, pure honey has high-quality characteristics compared to raw honey. Pure honey can be kept for a long time period because of this filtering process.

Difference Between Raw Honey and Pure Honey

Difference Between Raw Honey and Pure Honey

Raw Honey and Pure Honey may have substantially different sensory properties, nutrients, and applications. These differences may include,

Definition

Raw honey: Although, there is no any specific definition, The US National Honey Board defines raw honey as “honey as it exists in the beehive or as obtained by extraction, settling or straining without adding heat.”

Pure honey: Although, there is no any specific definition, it can be defined as “100% unadulterated honey with no other sweetener additives, but it undergoes some heat treatment and filtration.

Pasteurization

Raw honey: It is unpasteurized honey.

Pure honey: Honey is pasteurized, and purposes of this pasteurization is to slow down the process of crystallization and increase the shelf life.

Filtration

Raw honey: It is not filtered during the processing.

Pure honey: It is filtered during the processing.

Presence of Natural Enzymes

Raw Honey: Raw honey contains natural enzymes.

Pure honey: Pure honey does not contain natural enzyme due to processing.

Presence of Pollen

Raw honey: Raw honey contains pollens.

Pure honey: Pure honey does not contain natural pollen particles.

Loss of Nutrients

Raw honey: The loss of nutrients (vitamins and minerals) is rare in raw honey.

Pure honey: During filtration and heat treatment, some of the nutrients in bee honey can be removed. 

Availability

Raw honey: Raw honey can be directly obtained from the hive and ‘honeycomb.’

Pure honey: Pure honey can be obtained from supermarkets or groceries because it is stored in jars or plastic container during processing.

Appearance

Raw honey: Suspended particles and fine air bubbles can be easily observed.

Pure honey: Suspended particles and fine air bubbles cannot be observed.

Crystallization Process

Raw honey: This  undergoes crystallization process very rapidly and remains solid for a longer period of time than pure honey.

Pure honey: Filtering helps delay crystallization process of honey and enables it to remain liquid for a longer period of time than raw honey.Difference Between Raw Honey and Pure Honey - infographic

In conclusion, both raw and pure honey is essential culinary ingredients, and both have a lot of similar applications. But they are derived from two different processing ways, and they have different characteristics.

References:

Adas, M. (2001). Agricultural and Pastoral Societies in Ancient and Classical History. Temple University Press. ISBN 1-56639-832-0. Page 311.

Carbohydrate quantity and quality and risk of type 2 diabetes in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition–Netherlands (EPIC-NL) study”. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 92, 905–911.

Crane, E. (1983). The Archaeology of Beekeeping, Cornell University Press, ISBN 0-8014-1609-4

Kántor, Z., Pitsi, G. and Thoen, J. (1999). Glass Transition Temperature of Honey as a Function of Water Content As Determined by Differential Scanning Calorimetry. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 47 (6): 2327–2330

Image Courtesy:

“Raw honey” by Emmanuel Boutet – own work, picture from video, via

“Honey” by Scott Bauer, USDA ARS (Public Domain) via

About the Author: Geesha

Geesha has a BSc (Hons) degree in Food Science and Technology and Master's degree in Food and Nutrition. She is currently reading for her PhD in Food science and technology. Sharing what she learned is a passion of hers and enjoys writing.


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