I spent yesterday afternoon pulling and then extracting eight supers of honey. This is the earliest in the season I have ever harvested honey, and I could have taken this off at least a week ago. The honey is extremely light in color, the result of a heavy black locust bloom, the best in years, and of Asian bush honeysuckle, an invasive exotic shrub which is common here.
I’m off to St. Louis this morning to visit the University of Missouri in St. Louis, the planned site of this summer’s Heartland Apicultural Society Conference. Watch the HAS webpage for upcoming new information about this summer’s conference.
When you extract honey and pass it through a strainer, you can sell it as raw honey. What is not-raw honey called?
First on raw honey. There is no definitive or legal definition of “raw honey” as far as I know, personally I consider virtually all honey sold by local beekeepers as raw honey. Some people may consider “raw honey” as unfiltered honey (no filtering or straining at all) and no added heat during extraction or bottling. Other definitions say “minimal processing”, which means what? Whatever one interprets “minimal processing to be. What is not raw honey is the “ultra filtering” and flash heating that most large honey packers employ to try to reduce crystallization on the shelf. Such filtering is designed to remove any very fine particles in the honey including, pollen grains, on which crystals might grow during crystallization. The heating is designed to melt any crystals already formed; even so small they are invisible to the eye that might be a starting point for the growth of crystals during the crystallization process. What local beekeepers do in terms of straining honey to remove bits of wax, bee wings, or other non-honey particulates that have ended up in the honey during removal from the hive and extraction, is not ultra-filtering. So I think virtually all (and likely you) are producing “raw honey”. I heat my honey in a jacketed bottling tank to 100F to aid in the flow of the honey during bottling (most of the time), this is an aid to me to get the bottling done (especially when bottling quarts) quicker. A jar sitting in a car in summer will quickly get to 100F, I don’t consider this excessive heating.
So now to answer your question, just call it honey or extracted honey. No need to say “non-raw honey”. But I think you could call it raw honey if you wish, be it on the jar or in response to a question from your customers.