Raw vs. Pure vs. Natural Honey. What are the differences?
Not all honey is equal. All honey comes from the same place, but labels stating the honey is raw, pure or natural can get pretty confusing. Ever stood there looking at “natural honey”, “pure honey”, “creamy honey”, “real honey”, “raw honey” on the honey jars and just scratched your head?
So, what is the difference between natural, pure or raw honey?
And what does it matter? All honey is natural, isn’t it? Honey can be pure without being raw. Raw honey is typically pure and natural, but pure and natural honeys aren’t always raw.
The term natural implies that the honey you’re buying doesn’t include any added colour, artificial flavour, or synthetic substance, but it is probably processed.
With pure honey, no additional ingredients, such as sugar, corn syrup, or artificial or natural flavouring have been added. Pure honey can also be clover, bush, manuka or pohutakawa honey, depending where the bees have got their nectar from. That’s straightforward enough. The confusion begins when pure honey is sold as containing pollen and active enzymes, which it may well do. But pure honey is not raw, unfiltered honey unless it categorically states that on the label.
Unless you see the term “raw honey” on a label, you can assume that it’s been processed: heated.
Honey is best eaten raw and pure
Raw honey is unfiltered, unheated, unpasteurised and packed with good-for-you antioxidants, vitamins, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. With raw honey, as with many foods, any form of heating is avoided to ensure all the natural vitamins and living enzymes and other nutritional elements are preserved.
Most honeys, including pure and natural ones, are treated to prevent fermentation and to preserve it in a liquid state to prevent crystallisation.
Natural means no artificial additives.
Pure means no additives whatsoever (even natural ones).
Raw means no additives or processing: neither heated nor filtered.