First, let’s talk about how bees produce honey. The process starts by worker bees collecting nectar and pollen from flowers. These hardworking bees can visit up to 100 flowers per foraging trip and can carry a load of nectar and pollen close to its own weight. When they have a full load, they return to their hives.
Back in the hives, bees pass on the collected nectar and pollen through their mouths to other working bees who will chew it before passing it on to another working bee. Bees glands secrete bee enzymes which when mixed with nectar, creates honey. By using enzymes, bees turn complex sugar found in nectar into simple sugar which makes honey more easily digested than table sugar.
The main ingredients in honey are carbohydrates (sugar), but it also contains vitamins, mineral, amino acids, enzymes, organic acids, pollen, fragrance and flavour compounds. Just like flowers have different colours, so does the pollen. This is why different honey has different colour and slightly different ingredients composition.
Now, this is what we call raw honey. Unprocessed honey with no added ingredients.
Most mass-produced honey that we find in the supermarket is heavily processed and pasteurised. This process ensures consistency in colour and viscosity, so the honey has longer shelf life. Sounds alright, but this process of over-heating honey kills most enzymes and its great property – leaving only sugar in the honey.