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What is the difference between organic honey and regular honey?

Posted on: August 17, 2020, edit by Jason
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What is honey?
What does organic honey mean?
What is the difference between organic honey and regular honey?
What is organic honey good for?
Prospects of Honey Farming
Requirements for organic bee farming

organic-honey
organic-honey

As people pay more attention to health and environmental protection, the concept of "organic" has gradually strengthened in recent years. For example, organic honey is sought after by people, but what are the differences between organic honey and regular honey?

What is honey?

Honey is a natural sweet substance that is fully brewed in the raw honeycomb from the nectar collected by bees from flowers. It smells fresh and strong and its taste is sweet.

Bees take nectar or secretions with a water content of about 75% from the flowers of plants and then store them in their second stomach. Under the action of multiple transformations in the bees, worker bees will store the transformed nectar or secretions in the nest, and seal it with beeswax. After 15 days of repeated brewing, various honey vitamins, minerals and amino acids are enriched to a certain value, and the polysaccharides in nectar are converted into the monosaccharides glucose and fructose that can be directly absorbed by the human body. The nectar or secretion with a moisture content less than 23% is honey.

Honey is a supersaturated solution of sugar. It will crystallize at low temperature. The crystals are glucose, and the non-crystallized part is mainly fructose.

What does organic honey mean?

Organic honey is natural mature honey. Low-concentration immature honey, artificially concentrated honey and honey with various additives (such as zinc-supplemented honey with metal salts, calcium-rich honey, iron-supplemented honey, elderly honey, Children's honey, etc.) and so-called "fortified honey", etc., are not classified as organic honey.

What is the difference between organic honey and regular honey?

1. Honey production

  1. Different requirements for nectar
    Nectar plants are actually the most important factor in determining the quality of honey. Regular honey has no strict requirements on nectar plants, as long as it can provide bees with nectar (liquid secreted by plant nectary), while organic honey requires bees not to collect nectar from genetically modified plants, let alone artificially fed honey made from syrup or other feeds to the colony.
  2. There is a difference in honey maturity
    There are two types of honey, mature honey and immature honey (commonly known as water honey) due to the different brewing maturity. Among them, organic honey is honey that is completely brewed by bees and has been covered with beeswax, while regular honey is mostly concentrated honey (water honey is concentrated on a honey concentrator), so organic honey must be naturally mature honey (regular honey may not be fully matured by bees).
  3. Whether medicine is allowed
    In the process of breeding, bees will inevitably be infested by various pests and diseases. For this reason, beekeepers often use loads of medicine to prevent and control these pests. Once the medicine is used, it can no longer be called organic honey, which means that organic honey is absolutely prohibited to use any bee medicine, while regular honey allows restricted use of bee medicine to prevent diseases.
  4. Can additives be used
    Honey is purely natural food that does not require any additives, but some businessmen or beekeepers often use additives to achieve maximum profit. That is to say, regular honey may contain additives such as thickeners and preservatives, while organic honey requires no additives. In fact, no matter what additives are contained in honey, it can no longer be called organic honey.
  5. Processing Technology
    During the processing, radiation technology, etc. shall not be used. While the natural mature honey allows the limited use of the above technologies.

2. Honey Bee Products

  1. Taste
    Naturally mature organic honey above 42 degrees is relatively dry and thick, and has a thicker texture, higher sweetness, higher glucose and fructose content, and also has a natural rich floral fragrance; while regular honey with a lower degree of 38-40 degrees has a lower thickness and sweetness, and its floral fragrance is lighter!
  2. Nutritional value
    The comprehensive nutritional indicators of glucose, fructose, vitamins, amino acids, hormones, enzymes and esters of organic honey are higher than regular honey. The total content of glucose and fructose is more than 70%, so it is sweeter, more fragrant and has higher nutritional value! Generally, honey with 38~40 degrees is gathered every 1~2 days which has not reached natural maturity. Many nutrients in it are incomplete, insufficient, and unstable. It is easy to ferment and become sour. Generally, it needs to be dehydrated and concentrated by machine before it is sold. And this kind of honey is generally called concentrated honey or processed honey. Furthermore, it does not have the nutritional value that honey should have. At the same time, the heat-concentrated honey maybe has a longer shelf life but loses the rich aroma of natural honey.
  3. Storage time
    Naturally mature organic honey has lower water content than regular honey, and it is easier to crystallize, and has faster crystallization, whiter crystal and longer shelf life. Honey store in a dark, cool place for ten years. Theoretically, naturally mature organic honey can be stored for hundreds of years. Of course, we can't confirm this. The shelf life of low-degree natural honey that is not concentrated and dehydrated is usually about one year!

What is organic honey good for?

Organic honey benefits:

  1. Skincare
    All honey can be used for skin care and beauty, and organic honey is no exception. Making organic honey into a facial mask or applying it directly on the face can moisturize the skin and also bring voluminous nutrition to the skin. Long-term use can make your skin smoother.
  2. Antibacterial and anti-inflammatory
    We all know that good organic honey will not deteriorate even if it is kept for a few years, which shows that organic honey is very antiseptic. What’s more, organic honey also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects when treating wounds. Just apply organic honey to the wound to promote wound healing, and prevent infection.
  3. Promote digestion
    Organic honey can also regulate gastrointestinal function and make your body secretes gastric acid normally. Scientists have proved that honey can also effectively enhance bowel movement and shorten the time of bowel movements. So people with colitis or habitual constipation can try to eat organic honey. The effect is very good, and more importantly, there are no side effects.
  4. Improve immunity
    The reason why organic honey can improve immunity is that organic honey contains a lot of enzymes and minerals. In foreign countries, organic honey is often used to treat colds and pharyngitis. The method is very simple, just add 2 teaspoons of organic honey, 4 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice to a cup of warm water, and then drink 3 or 4 cups a day.

Prospects of Honey Farming

Organic food mainly includes general organic agricultural products (such as organic grains, organic fruits, organic vegetables, etc.), organic tea products, organic edible fungi products, organic livestock and poultry products, organic aquatic products, organic bee products, organic milk powder, and collected wild products and processed products using the above-mentioned products as raw materials. The organic foods sold in the domestic market are mainly vegetables, rice, tea, honey, goat milk powder, organic grains, organic fruits, organic vegetables, etc.

According to data from the Ministry of Agriculture in 2020, the global organic food market is currently growing at a rate of 20% to 30%, and Chinese organic food industry has maintained a good trend. There are about 50 categories of organic and organic conversion products in China. By the end of 2012, China Green Organic Food Certification Center has certified 850 companies, with a total product volume of 1.95 million tons and a certified area of 2.469 million hectares, including 126,000 hectares of planting area, 600,000 hectares of grazing area, and 249,000 hectares of water area. The wild collection area is 1.494 million hectares.

In the next ten years, China will become the fourth largest consumer of organic food. Organic food is expected to account for 1% to 1.5% of the entire Chinese food market. The international organic food market's demand for Chinese organic food will reach or exceed 5%.

Requirements for organic bee farming

  1. Environment: Organic honey has demanding requirements for the surrounding environment. The bee colony must be placed in an environment with no pollution. There should be sufficient nectar plants and clean water in the honey collection area.
  2. Beehives: The beehives must be made of natural materials, such as wood, instead of the cheap foam synthetic beehives. The nest foundation for storing honey must also be made of pure beeswax, not synthetic plastics.
  3. Supplementary food: Enough natural honey and pollen must be kept in the honeycomb, and sucrose, malt sugar, etc. must not be fed.
  4. Disease treatment: Prohibit the use of antibiotics, sulfonamides drugs and other chemicals.
  5. Extraction of honey: only hair-dryer, smoke or manual methods of driving away bees are allowed, and it is strictly forbidden to use chemicals to drive away bees.
  6. Honey source: Organic honey should not be collected and produced from genetically modified honey source plants.

Conclusion:

The value of organic honey is indeed higher than that of regular honey, but the requirements for producing organic honey are relatively more demanding. Now it’s easy to tell the organic honey from regular honey while you purchase. Also, you can use honey test for simple detection if any drugs residues in the honey at home. The organic honey should not contain any medicine.

References

  1. Wikipedia: Honey
  2. "Definition of honey and honey products". National Honey Board. 15 June 1996. Retrieved 7 January2018.
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