Local Honey

Jon Logterman in Osseo WI.

Raw honey in 55 lb. pails or quart jars

Call or email to set up an appointment to pick up honey: Phone # 715-641-0177 or email: j_logterman@yahoo.com

Is all honey on the grocery shelf the same?

Q: When I look in our grocery store for local honey, I see a jar claiming to be from our area. How do I know that the supply is local? Our family has started this conversation because of chronic illness and the need to boost immunity. My very logical son says, tongue in cheek, that the ingredients are the same in all the bottles on the shelf.

How are we sure that local honey isn’t purchased in bulk from (name of state/country removed) and bottled here?

Thanks for any advice you can offer.

A: VERY GOOD question. A couple thoughts:

If you know a local beekeeper, buy from them as the pollen is from within about 15 miles of you will be in the honey and best for mitigating allergies from your local area. If you don't know anyone who sells honey in your area, then ask someone you know who lives close by.

As for honey being shipped from elsewhere, there is a 'true source' label (see this page http://www.truesourcehoney.com) that guarantees the 'source' is as stated on the label. It costs the bottler money to have the true source label but it can be worth it.

Honey contains pollen from the local floral sources. The 'true source’ testing program takes the honey and backtracks through the pollen in the honey to identify where the honey came from. The 'true source' label is a product of the testing. The testing can only work IF the honey has not been super filtered to take out the pollen – something to consider when you are buying honey if you want the honey to help with allergies. I found a great article regarding filtering and thus the removal of pollens. (See excerpts #1 below).

Many suppliers heat the honey so it flows better when bottling - faster flow, less time to bottle. The danger is that if heated too high, (about 98.6 degrees) the heat damages the enzymes, nutrients, minerals, anti-fungal properties and anti-bacterial properties of the honey. (See excerpts #1 and #2 below). Honey heated to 70 C / 158 F is pasteurized and thus many beneficial properties are affected.

As for all bottled honey you find in the store having the same ingredients, not so. China especially, and other countries, are notorious for adding sugar syrup and other extenders to their honey, thus called adulterated, and selling it as pure honey. As you can conclude, the adulterated honey does not have the same health benefits. This honey would not have the 'true source' label.

Honey also has different flavors and colors depending on the floral source.

Honey will keep forever if the water content is 18% or less. Honey has been found in Egyptian tombs and it is still good (not sure I would want to eat it though). If the honey has more than 18.6% water, the yeast spores in the honey grow and cause the honey to spoil. Honey kept at less than 52 degrees stops the yeast spore activity that causes fermentation. Crystallization chances are best, as is fermentation.

Thus, not all 'honey' is exactly the same. So, could out of state/country honey end up on the shelves here in WI. YES.

The only way to know exactly where your honey is from is buying from someone you know and trust locally or the container has the ‘True Source’ label. For best nutritional value, the least filtering and heating the better.

Hope this helps! GREAT QUESTION!

1- https://www.beeculture.com/processing-honey-a-closer-look/

The effects of heat on an enzyme are commonly measured by the time it takes to reduce half of the enzyme’s activity or its “half-life” at a given temperature. For instance, the half-life of diastase in honey is 1,000 days at 68˚F, 14 days at 122˚F, and 30 seconds at 176˚F. The other enzymes in honey are affected similarly. Enzyme activity stops when honey is held at freezing temperatures but returns when warmed back up. It does not return when destroyed by heat.

Two interesting side notes are that almost all the enzymes in honey are introduced by the bees, and all break down when liquefying crystallized honey in a microwave.

2 - https://www.beeculture.com/raw-honey-raw-deal/

To what temperature does honey have to be heated to destroy the health benefits for humans? John Skinner, at the University of Tennessee in an online publication, extension, states that excessive heat can have detrimental effects on the nutritional value of honey. (See www.bees.tennessee.edu) Heating [honey] up to 37°C (98.6°F) causes loss of nearly 200 components, part of which are antibacterial. Heating up to 40°C (104°F) destroys invertase, an important enzyme. Heating up to 50°C (122°F) for more than 48 hours turns the honey into caramel (the most valuable honey sugars become analogous to sugar). Heating the honey to higher than 140°F for more than two hours will cause rapid degradation. Heating honey higher than 160[°F] for any time period will cause rapid degradation and caramelization. Generally, any larger temperature fluctuation (10°C is ideal for preservation of ripe honey) causes decay.”

Prepared by Jenny Gruber 2/28/19