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Frequently asked questions

Raw honey is exactly what it sounds like – honey that is raw, unprocessed, unpasteurised and straight from the beehive. Raw honey is best described as honey "as it exists in the beehive" with nothing added or taken away. Raw honey is produced by extracting honey from the honeycomb of the hive and pouring it over mesh or nylon cloth to separate honey from impurities like beeswax and dead bees. It is then bottled ready to be eaten or sold. On the other hand, the production of mass produced regular honey involves several more steps before it is bottled, such as pasteurisation, filtration and in many cases, ultrafiltration. Pasteurisation is a process that destroys the yeast found in honey by applying high heat. This allegedly helps extend the shelf life and makes it smoother. Although, stored properly the yeast in the honey won’t ever ferment (and the bees made sure of that by removing most of the moisture from the honey!). Filtration further removes ‘impurities’ like debris and air bubbles so that the honey stays as a clear liquid for longer (delaying crystallisation). This is aesthetically appealing to many consumers as many people are under the assumption that crystallised honey is impure or of poor quality. Some commercial honeys are additionally processed by undergoing ultrafiltration. This process further refines it to make it more transparent and smooth, and it removes most beneficial nutrients like pollen, enzymes and antioxidants. Moreover, because the high demands of honey some manufacturers may add sugar syrup or other sweeteners to honey to reduce costs. This is called ‘adulteration’ and it is illegal in some countries. While not all commercial honeys are bad, it’s hard to know which ones are healthy or unhealthy without doing a test beforehand. So when it comes to choosing healthy honey, your best bet is to go raw so you know exactly what you are getting.
We get many people coming to our stalls and they see some crystallised honey. They quickly assume that the honey is of poor quality or that it has gone bad, but raw honey eventually crystallises and that is completely normal and natural. In fact, raw honey is the only food that will not go bad and you may still eat it after 3000 years! So why does honey crystallise? To not bore you with a long chemistry lesson, we’ll make this short. Honey contains 70% sugars and less than 20% water. This makes honey naturally an unstable super-saturated sugar solution. Which is why, over time, almost all honey crystallise. During crystallisation, glucose sugar which is naturally pure white, separates from water and becomes crystals, while fructose stays liquid. That is why crystallised honey is more grainy and sets a lighter colour than when runny. Things that help crystallisation: Crystallisation happens faster in colder temperature. Low fructose to glucose ratio honey crystallises faster than honey with high fructose to glucose ratio. Unfiltered raw honey has particles such as wax bits, pollen grains and propolis which act as a trigger for accelerating the growth of glucose crystals. Why supermarket honey takes longer to crystallise: Very few people appreciate crystallised honey, that’s why many honey suppliers have their honey processed. This makes their honey stay runny for a much longer time! In processed honey: The sugar crystals in the honey are dissolved by heating. Any particles (such as pollen and bits from the hive) and air bubbles that encourage crystallisation are removed by ultrafiltration. This process takes away most, if not all, of the important properties of the honey which destroys its quality, purity and benefits. It takes longer for adulterated and processed honey to crystallise than pure raw honey. TIPS: Storing honey in warmer places of the house may help delay crystallisation.
Many people come by and comment that honey we sell are expensive. They say that honey which are sold in supermarkets are much cheaper, failing to realise how raw honey is nothing compared to the regular honey sold on most supermarket shelves, even those labelled ‘organic’ To ensure honey production and that the bees are well-fed and healthy, our beekeeper transports his hives across the country, placing them in fields or plantation of plants that are in season. Even after all the hard work, there’s not an absolute guarantee they’ll get much honey at the end of each season. Unlike commercialised honey, raw honey offers a variety of types. Some types are harder to obtain than others. Monofloral honey, like avocado honey, for example, is produced in lesser quantities than wildflower honey. The demand for avocado honey is a lot higher than wildflower honey, so this drives the price up for avocado honey. Similar as to why manuka honey is so expensive, as many people want manuka and there’s only so much of it produced each year. Because commercialised honey are blended, they do not have this issue. A single jar of commercialised honey may contain sources from Europe as well as China (where counterfeit and adulterated honey are the norm). Commercialised and most supermarket honeys are produced in mass quantities, which requires shortcuts, outright efficiency and less risk in its honey production. The wellbeing of the honeybees and public consumers are clearly not in their best interest. That’s why mass honey producers are able to produce honey in great quantity without much expenses or losses on their part, consequently enabling them to sell their honey at a much cheaper price. On the other hand, the production of raw honey entails more risks, and involves many variables (such as weather conditions and seasonal blooms) that do not always promise hefty results. Thus, production is very limited and does not often meet high market demands. But at the end of all the hard work and effort, we’re rewarded with premium raw honey that is pure and of great quality (and value for money).
Just as the name suggests, Royal Jelly is a special food fed to the most important bee in the colony. The Queen Bee. Like breastmilk, sourced from the bees’ meals (honey and pollen) Royal jelly is secreted from the glands in the heads of worker bees and is fed to all bee larvae, whether they are destined to become drones (male bees), female worker bees, or queens. After three days, the drone and worker larvae are no longer fed with royal jelly, but queen larvae continue to be fed this special substance throughout her development. This particular substance is white to pale yellow in colour. It is thick, yet smooth, has a distinctive aroma and slightly spicy acidic-sweet taste. Royal jelly contains water, carbs, protein, fat, B vitamins and minerals. Its composition varies depending on geography and climate. Its unique proteins and fatty acids may be the reason for its potential health benefits. It also contains trace minerals, antibacterial and antibiotic components, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and trace amounts of vitamin C, but none of the fat-soluble vitamins: A, D, E or K. Because it contains about 60% to 70% water, honey or beeswax is often added to it to aid its preservation. Although further research is needed before backing the effectiveness of royal jelly on certain conditions, it has been used for asthma, hay fever, sleep troubles, PMS (premenstrual syndrome), stomach ulcers, menopausal symptoms, skin disorders, and high cholesterol among many others. It is also used as a general health tonic, for fighting the effects of ageing and for boosting the immune system. Some people apply royal jelly directly to the skin as a tonic or to the scalp to encourage hair growth. Royal jelly is very popular in the Arab World, many men seeking it for its potential to increase libido.
Bee pollen is a ball or pellet of field-gathered flower pollen packed by worker honeybees, and used as the primary food source for the hive. It is a mixture of flower pollen, nectar, enzymes, honey, wax and bee secretions. Foraging honey bees collect pollen from plants and transport it to the beehive, where it’s stored and used as food for the colony. Recently, bee pollen has gained traction in the health community because it’s loaded with nutrients, amino acids, vitamins, lipids and over 250 active substances. However, the pollen’s nutritional content depends on the plant source and season collected. Our Amalsons Bee Pollen is collected from beehives in Sierra de aguas, Alora in Malaga Province in Spain. It’s from all the flowers and trees around that area. Bee pollen is sold as natural granules you can measure out and taken by the spoonful. You can also mix it into other foods like granola or yoghurt or make smoothies with it. It generally has a bitter taste, although people who take it regularly seem to get used to it. Some people prefer to soak the granules in water for several hours before using them. They claim this makes bee pollen easier to digest. Here are some of the other health benefits bee pollen is known to have:
  • Nutrients. Bee pollen is known to contain important dietary substances like proteins, carbs, enzymes, and amino acids.
  • Antioxidants. Certain chemicals present in the body called “free radicals” can cause chronic illnesses and conditions. Bee pollen contains significant amounts of antioxidant substances that help counteract these free radicals.
  • Protection against liver damage. One 2013 study showed bee pollen helpful in healing liver damage in rats.
  • Anti-inflammatory properties. Bee pollen has been scientifically shown to help with inflammation, resistance to disease and genetic mutations.
  • Relief for breast cancer patients. One small 2015 study showed that pollen can reduce hot flashes, night sweats, and other symptoms experienced by breast cancer patients during treatment.
  • Wound healing. A 2016 scientific study showed an ointment made from bee pollen was helpful in promoting healing from burns.
There's a vast variety of raw honey to choose from, you're bound to ask yourself at some point, what's the best one? All types of monofloral honey are different, in terms of flavour, aroma, texture and more importantly its properties and health benefits. However, they all have shared characteristics and properties, such as being anti-inflammatory and antiseptic/antibacterial. Therefore, they all will assist with curing a cold, digestion, insomnia, burns and cuts, etc. The difference is, some kinds of honey are more effective than others in treating specific things. Some honey types are higher in certain minerals/metals/vitamins that will assist different parts/organs of the body to prevent or cure certain illnesses/diseases. You’ll find, however, that different sources will claim they have the best honey. For example, West Europe claims Heather is the best honey, whilst in East Europe it is Acacia. In South Europe it's Thyme. The Middle East favours Sidr among all types. And of course, you'd probably heard of the famous Manuka honey of New Zealand and Australia. All claim their honey is the best in the world. Therefore, the prices of honey don't have anything to do with quality, but rather the supply and demand of the particular honey in question! Because our honeys are all single-source and mostly monofloral (primarily from a single type of plant), they all have different benefits and flavours. We all have our own personal favourites, and in the end, it mostly comes down to the individual. It's best to try a few and see which works best for you. Consequently, the best honey to buy is the one that suits your taste buds and budget. If you're new to the world of raw honey and you're looking for a bit of guidance, though, we can offer a few tips:          Darker honeys tend to have stronger flavours. Lighter honeys often have more floral flavours (lavender, rosemary, etc.). Darker honeys tend to have a higher mineral content. Every honey has its own properties, based on the plants the nectar comes from (e.g. coriander honey has a small bit of coriander oil). Visit our stalls and try a tester if you're not sure!
Honey and sugar have been used as sweeteners for ages. Honey and sugar are both carbohydrates, consisting of the two types of sugar: glucose and fructose. Refined fructose, which is found in sweeteners, is metabolised by the liver and has been associated with: - obesity - fatty liver disease - diabetes Both fructose and glucose are broken down quickly by the body and can cause spikes in blood sugar levels. The proportions of glucose and fructose in honey and sugar are different: - sugar is 50% fructose and 50% glucose - honey contains 70% fructose and glucose (the proportion varies depending on the type of raw honey you get) The remainder of honey consists of: - water - pollen - minerals, including magnesium and potassium These additional components are responsible for some of the health benefits of honey. Less honey is needed for sweetening for sweet tooth. Sugar is higher on the glycemic index (GI) than honey, meaning it raises blood sugar levels more quickly. This is due to its higher fructose/glucose content, and the absence of trace minerals. But honey has slightly more calories than sugar, although it is sweeter, so less may be required. Some types of raw honey such as Arbutus and Acacia have an even lower glycemic index. This applies to most honey that takes long to crystallise due to low glucose to fructose ratio. Honey may be topically applied. If you’re stranded somewhere and got injured, a jar of raw honey will prove more useful to you than a jar of sugar due to its antibacterial and healing properties. Honey may be easier than sugar on the digestive system. Due to its composition, regular sugar has to be ingested before being broken down. As bees add enzymes to honey, the sugars are already partially broken down, making it easier to digest. In terms of health benefits, raw honey surpasses table sugar by far. But even honey should be consumed in moderation. To get most of its health benefits, you should never cook raw honey, as cooking it or baking it will destroy its nutritional value (it's different if you are using honey for the flavour).
Stored properly, raw honey NEVER expires. The low water content and antibacterial properties found in honey are some of the main factors why this special food has long life storage. This is also one of the reasons you can be sure that no additives or preservatives are needed to aid in raw honey preservation. "While excavating Egypt's famous pyramids, archaeologists have found pots of honey in an ancient tomb. The honey, dating back approximately 3,000 years, is the world's oldest sample – and still perfectly edible. The secret behind honey's eternal shelf life is a range of factors. Hydrogen peroxide, acidity and lack of water work together to make this sticky substance last forever." - @natgeo So even for honey that's 3000 years old, you may still enjoy its flavour and benefits!
After toiling long and hard over the summer, honeybees will have stored up a supply of honey that will last them throughout the winter. In fact, they will often overproduce when it’s been a good summer for them. When the beekeepers take the frames from the beehive, they uncap the honeycomb with a knife. They then put the frames in an extractor, fitting the frames into this special tool. Either manually or electrically the machine is spun until all or most of honey is extracted. The honey descends to a strainer, straining any debris or impurities from the honey. The beekeeper then leaves the honey a day or two so any further impurities will flow at the top which can easily be scraped off. All this is called coarse filtering. However, honey that is filtered by packers is filtered for various reasons: 1) Because some extraneous solids may still remain after the initial raw processing by the beekeeper, further filtering is done to remove that. 2) All honey crystallizes eventually. Suspended particles and fine air bubbles in honey contribute to faster crystallisation. Many consumers prefer honey that is liquid and stays liquid for a long time. Filtering helps delay crystallisation, helping the honey to remain liquid for a much longer period than unfiltered honey. 4) Many consumers prefer honey to be clear and brilliantly transparent. The presence of fine, suspended material (pollen grains, wax, etc.) and air bubbles result in a cloudy appearance that can detract from the appearance. Filtering is done to give a clear, brilliant product desired by consumers. 5) Various filtration methods are used by the food industry throughout the world. Ultrafiltration, a specific kind of filtration used in the food industry is different from general filtering. When applied to honey, ultrafiltration involves adding water to honey and filtering it under high pressure at the molecular level, then removing the water. The result of this is not considered honey in the U.S. Unfortunately, ultrafiltration can remove bee pollen and many beneficial properties of the honey.
Bees have two main menus: honey and bee pollen. It is the forager bees who leave the hive in search of nectar, sugary water, a key ingredient for producing honey. Once a foraging bee finds a flower or plant that contains nectar, she proceeds to suck the sugary liquid from the plant with her proboscis. It is then stored in her crop or honey sac which is located just dorsal to her stomach. Along this process the bee adds her own special and crucial ingredients to the nectar: bee enzymes and proteins. Chemical reactions take place as the sugar in the nectar starts breaking down. The bee also takes from the nectar what is needed to supply her with enough energy for her diligent work. She visits around 50-100 flowers in a single collecting trip. When the bee concludes her expedition, she goes back to the hive and regurgitates (vomits) the nectar and transfers it to a hive bee. The receiving bee will add more bee enzymes to the nectar. That bee will then do the same to another hive bee, regurgitating and transferring the nectar over (also absorbing some of the water). This process is repeated (from one bee to another) until the honey reaches storage quality to the honeycomb. However, the process is not over yet. At this point, the honey is in the cells of the honeycomb, unsealed, still has high water content (about 50% to 70%). To make it into the sticky form we know, the bees flap their wings over it as a group to circulate the air and evaporate the water from the honey. This is a vital step for long term storage and preservation, because honey at this stage contains natural yeast and if left unchecked will cause it to ferment. Therefore, excess moisture should be removed to prevent living organisms (such as yeast) from growing. After the water content in the honey reaches around 17% the bees seal the cells with wax-made-caps. There you have it, in simplicity how bees produce honey.
You can feed your baby honey if they are above 12 months old. On the other hand, you shouldn’t feed honey to infants under 12 months as they may be at risk of infant botulism: a rare but lethal condition that can affect babies under 1 year old. Botulism poisoning is caused by eating ‘Clostridium botulinum spores’ found in soil, honey, and honey products. These spores turn into bacteria in the bowels and produce harmful neurotoxins in the body. Babies with infant botulism might have: - constipation (often the first sign that parents notice) - weak facial muscles that make their face look "flat" - a weak cry - weak muscles in the arms, legs, and neck - breathing problems - trouble swallowing with a lot of drooling These bacteria are harmless to older kids and adults. That's because their mature digestive systems can move the toxins through the body before they cause harm. Infant botulism usually affects babies who are 3 weeks to 6 months old, but all babies are at risk for it until their first birthday. Honey can be a nice addition to your baby’s diet, but it’s important to wait until after 12 months of age. Foods to avoid include liquid honey, whether mass-produced or raw, and any baked or processed foods containing honey. Botulism is a very serious condition that requires immediate medical attention. Go to your nearest A&E department or immediately dial 999 if you suspect your baby or someone’s baby has symptoms of infant botulism. Treatment is more effective the earlier it's started.
Because it is made up of both anti-ageing vitamins and minerals, also higher in vitamin D and special enzymes, Raw Rosemary Honey is often highlighted to be one of the best and is a great ingredient to promoting healthy skin whether used internally or externally. The properties found in this honey help heal the skin and brighten the complexion, lighten scars and age spots as well as even out skin tone. The honey also helps soothe eczema and rashes. Moreover, included as an ingredient for face mask recipes aids in reducing acne and blemishes. The unique process that creates honey makes it especially valuable for cosmetic uses, such as clearing acne, healing scars, and evening out skin tone. Raw honey is also a natural exfoliator, which means applying it to your face takes off dry, dull skin and reveals new skin cells underneath. Some people use it as part of their cleansing routine. It’s great for oily skin, gentle enough for people with sensitive skin and it naturally keeps your complexion looking clear and fresh. Other varieties of raw honey that are exceptionally good for the skin include; Acacia, Thyme and Zandaz.
We don't superficially flavour our honey. Besides packing and sealing them in jars with labels, the honey we sell comes directly from our beekeepers, straight off the hives. It’s amazing to know nonetheless, that the natural flavour of raw honey comes from the type of flowers the honeybees go to to get nectar from. Rosemary honey comes from the nectar of rosemary blossoms. Orange blossom honey comes from bees harvesting nectar from orange blossoms and other citrus trees that happen to be in bloom. Avocado honey comes from the nectar of Avocado tree blossoms and so forth. The source and types of flowers and trees the honeybees gather to produce honey determines the colour, texture, aroma, flavour and properties of the honey. Although, not leaving out that there are, in fact, flavour infused honey. Such as lavender-infused honey where the honey is infused with lavender to give out the aroma and hints of the lavender taste. Our Lavender honey, however, comes from the bees pollinating the lavender fields native to Spain.