Raw honey is a honey that has not been pasteurized. Gourmet honey is a honey gathered from one source of flowers, processed separately from all other honey and bottled so that the honey can be enjoyed as a gourmet monofloral honey. The first question is usually how do you get the bees to not mix the honey? Honey is gathered from the flowers that are flowing with nectar. All flowers do not produce nectar at the same time of day or the same time of year. The bees naturally store only one kind of honey in each honey cell. It becomes the beekeeper’s chore to know when the flower that is producing gourmet nectar is blooming, and then remove that box of honey when the floral source is finished. This is EXTRA WORK for the beekeeper! This is why each gourmet honey has its own taste, like wine, all honey DOES NOT taste the same.
Raw honey is preferred over pasteurized honey because the raw honey has all its natural enzymes that aid digestion and good health. The reason a beekeeper would not store all his honey as raw honey is the raw honey has airborne spores in it that could in time cause the honey to ferment. The honey would then have to be dumped. Most honey worldwide is cooked to 140° and is no longer a raw honey. This pasteurization of honey allows the sealed honey to be stored at 60° for at least 3 years without spoilage. Honey that crystallizes (turns solid) has not spoiled. All honey will crystallize, but can be returned to the liquid state by warming the glass bottle of honey in warm water not to exceed 125°.
Raw Gourmet Honey is one huge step further than just unpasteurized honey. Keeping the single flower source honey separate from all the other honey that the bees bring into the hive is a vigilant task performed by the beekeeper. Much more time and trips to the apiary are required in addition to labeling stored honey supers at the honey-house before extracting. If the beekeeper was to sell raw gourmet honey for $15 a pound it would still be a wonderful price compared to the costly efforts that went into presenting Gourmet Raw Honey to the consumer!
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