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Frequently asked questions
What is raw honey?adminRaw 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.
Why did your honey crystallise?adminWe 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.
Why is supermarket honey much cheaper?adminMany 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).
What is royal jelly?adminJust 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.
What is bee pollen?adminBee 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.