General Question

jca's avatar

What is the difference between store brand or cheap honey and organic or expensive honey?

Asked by jca (35994points) July 6th, 2011

It’s all made by bees, right? Is there a difference?

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12 Answers

WestRiverrat's avatar

The difference is in what kind of flowers the bees made the honey from, and what pasteurizing method if any was used.

The organic and more expensive honeys usually use a single type of flower nectar. The cheaper store brands are usually blended from many different nectar sources.

Aethelflaed's avatar

There’s also a difference in raw vs not raw honey. Raw is much better for you; it has all the nutrients. The stuff in grocery stores has been heated and processed to look better and pour more smoothly, but at the expense of any nutritional value. Raw is found in health food stores.
Eating raw, local honey can help people develop an immunity to their local allergens.

Coloma's avatar

I buy an amazing local organic honey and take it with cinnamon capsules every morning in a bit of warm water. Yes, as @WestRiverrat said, it is all about pasteurizing methods and the flower sources it comes from. I use it for allergies and other purported health reasons.

My brand is made from star thistle, purple thistle, apple blossoms and other local crops.

It is deeee-licious!

Aethelwine's avatar

I was just going to say what @Aethelflaed about allergies. My daughter’s doctor suggested we find a locally produced honey to help her immune system since she has such a terrible time with allergies.

Aethelflaed's avatar

Honey is like wine or olive oil. Technically, it all comes from bees (or grapes or olives), but the processes vary, the locals vary, exactly what has gone into it varies, and you can become quite the connoisseur. I like collecting different honeys (and often pair them with cheese and wine); I’m looking forward to getting some new ones at the farmer’s market this weekend. They have one described as “aromas of dark beer, molasses, soy sauce, hickory and pine” with a “strong, long finish, sorghum-like with a hint of espresso, and a pinch of salt in the finish” and another one with “aromas of orange peel, some barnyard and floral qualities” that’s “dense with nutty, hazelnut taste”. I love local honey tastings.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@Aethelflaed really nailed it. Honey has complex flavors, it does all come from bees, but it isn’t all the same.
Raw honey blows the stuff from the grocery store out of the water. The honey-bear doesn’t even compare. It’s the best when it crystallizes, I eat little hunks of it with a spoon. It’s like being a kid again.
This is my favorite honey at the moment, which you can see has crystallized. (Notice how almost the whole jar has been devoured…)

WestRiverrat's avatar

Actually if you can find fresh honeycomb, get that. It is about as close to perfect as honey gets.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@WestRiverrat There was a chocolate bar years ago that had chunks of honeycomb in it. It was quite possibly the best chocolate bar ever.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
longtresses's avatar

An example of monofloral honey would be Manuka Honey, known to have high antibacterial properties.

sinscriven's avatar

When buying cheap honey you have to check whether it’s honey at all. Just like Maple syrup, sometimes it’s really just corn syrup with flavoring.

DAVEJAY100's avatar

Bees leave the hive each morning each with strict instructions and little maps supplied from the bee-keeper to collect pollen ONLY from plants selected by him, the honey of which he sells for a tenner a pot. Any bee that lands on an inferior plant is reported by the many bee-spies and the culprit is sent to another cheap-jack hive where the honey is sold by the big supermarkets for 99 p per pot. I’m NOT kidding.!!

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