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  1. #1
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    Question Raw fermented honey fan

    Hi, I'm a fan of raw honey, especially raw fermented honey. I was never a big fan of honey in the past. It didn't taste that great to me and it caused a scatchiness in my throat. I can remember the first time I tried honey straight when my mother told me to take it to sooth my sore throat. Instead of soothing, the honey made my throat scratchy. This puzzled me. Later on I learned that people can get allergic reactions to the pollen in honey and I figured that this must be what caused the scratching. Some experts claimed that by continuing to consume honey, one could overcome one's allergies to the pollen and that this would be especially beneficial if one consumed local honey (since it contains local pollens). I tried using honey again to see if I could develop this tolerance but didn't have any luck with it.

    I also discovered in middle age with the help of my physician that I unfortunately don't tolerate grain, tuber or fruit carbs very well and fared better on a low carb diet, so that gave me even less reason to eat honey. Then not long ago, some folks highly recommended raw honey. I was skeptical at first, but eventually became curious enough to try a jar labeled as raw from my local market. With my first taste I was amazed at how much better it tasted than conventional heated honey and it didn't scratch my throat nearly as much as the heated honey did. I tested this by trying some heated honey again and, sure enough, the heated honey still scratched my throat more. I also noticed that raw honey didn't seem to give me as much acne, dry skin, chapped lips and other side effects as other carby foods do. I hoped that this might be a carb source that I could tolerate, and maybe if I was lucky I would find other honey brands that I might tolerate even better.

    Curious, I searched for what I could find about raw honey and paid more attention to what it's proponents said about it. One thing I learned is that some "raw" honeys are actually heated somewhat when they are spun in a centrifuge. Again, I was skeptical but I tried a honey brand that supposedly did not involve a centrifuge in its processing. It did seem to have a different, perhaps slightly better taste, though it could have been due to the different flora sources of the honey.

    Then I learned that there is fermented honey. It sounded like mead, but it wasn't, as most of you likely know. I even read one source I was familiar with that had given some good advice in the past claim that fermented raw honey is even healthier than unfermented raw honey. Curious that this might therefore be a honey I could tolerate even better, though still skeptical, I ordered some that was claimed to be both non-centrifuged and fermented to put it to the test. I could detect a slight fermented smell and taste when I opened the jar and took my first taste, but it also tasted surprisingly good (I'm not a fan of vinegar and just tolerate sauerkraut). With the second bite it became my new favorite honey. I didn't expect it to taste even better than unfermented raw honey. Now the unfermented raw honey that once tasted fabulous to me tastes mediocre. I also discovered that I did indeed tolerate fermented raw honey better than unfermented. Strangely, my scalp even seemed to get LESS dry and flaky rather than more so by the next morning after eating the raw fermented honey. It still gave me chapped lips if I ate too much of it, but much less severely so than other honeys and when I rubbed away the thin layer of chapping, the lips below were in very good shape as though renewed, instead of red, sore and cracked like they become after eating too much of other honeys or other carby foods.

    This is all rather puzzling and my curiosity has been further peaked by this, so I'm here to learn more about raw fermented honey and honey in general. There is very little information about fermented honey on the Internet (and when one searches fermented honey there tend to be a lot of hits about mead that make the search more difficult).

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Raw fermented honey fan

    Thanks for posting but I think you have some of your facts wrong. Honey is extracted using an extractor which is sort of like a centrifuge but there are none that I know of that "heat" the honey as it is spun. Fermented honey is honey that has absorbed water and as such has lost it's hyposcopic properties. I have read it is ok to consume but remember, that since it has lost it's antibiotic properties that yeast and other organisums can grow in it...also if you let it sit long enough you will produce mead. Your claim that fermented honey is healthier than straight raw honey is not substantiated in that honey's strongest properties are it's antibiotic properties as well as the enzymes, pollen and other items in the honey. By changing the properties by allowing water to dilute honey causes many changes to those properties and contributes to the growth of yeast and other things which may or may not be good for you.
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid.Ē John Wayne

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Raw fermented honey fan

    Welcome, large honey operations may use steam to assist extraction, but most of us want it as dry as possible. The only water jacketed extractors I have seen were imported to Honduras. Heating, straining, filtering and processing are common in commercial operations. Personally, I do not like heated, or altered honey either.
    americasbeekeeper.com
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Raw fermented honey fan

    Quote Originally Posted by alpha6 View Post
    Thanks for posting but I think you have some of your facts wrong. Honey is extracted using an extractor which is sort of like a centrifuge but there are none that I know of that "heat" the honey as it is spun.
    Youíre welcome, Alpha. There are conflicting reports, so Iím trying to learn the facts as best I can. Itís an interesting subject. I know that the honey is not intentionally heated, but a controversial diet guru named Aajonus Vonderplanitz, PhD claimed that he used a measuring device, I think it might have been an infrared device, to measure the temperature of the honey inside centrifuges and he claimed that it can reach a temperature above hive temperature (one person said the temperature of the honey rises to as high as 100 degrees Farenheit and another said that the centrifuge itself reaches 120 degrees Farenheit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOVDFtvH0Bg Ėwarning to the sensitive, there are some negative comments made about beekeeper techniques that involve heating honey). The fellow in the video claims that the heating is what enables the honey to slide down the sides of the centrifuge into piping. This fellow claims the centrifuges are wired to heat them up and Iíve seen someone else claim that just the spinning of the centrifuge warms it up. On the other hand, someone else I know claims that the centrifuge he uses in a lab does not generate such temperatures.

    Dr. Vonderplanitz also claims that an insulin-like substance he says is in honey (I looked into it and found that there are insulin-like polypeptides in royal jelly http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0022-1910(77)90044-0) are damaged at temperatures above 92 (or 95?) degrees Fahrenheit. I don't know how accurate those claims are, but more importantly, I find the fermented honey (thick and containing no more than trace amounts of alcoholóIím not talking about the beverage, mead, here) tastes better to me and is the only honey that not only doesn't noticeably damage my health beyond requiring additional teeth cleaning, it actually seems to provide me with benefits to my skin, though itís a bit early to tell for sure if itís the honey or coincidence. I don't understand why that would be and itís surprising to me.

    I've been trying many raw honeys to see the best one I could find for both taste and health reasons and found the fermented raw honey to be the best that I've tried so far. Given this, I don't see the point of eating other honeys, unless someone has one that's even better, and will never go back to heated honey.

    I have read it is ok to consume but remember, that since it has lost it's antibiotic properties that yeast and other organisums can grow in it...
    I know that it contains organisms and, strange as it may seem at first blush, I want that. I eat other naturally fermented foods that contain organisms as well (believe me, raw fermented honey is far from the most shocking food I eat :P ). The latest science, as represented by the Old Friends Hypothesis http://blog.autoimmunetherapies.com/...ds-hypothesis/, as well as other scientific and traditional knowledge (as reported by the Weston Price Foundation http://planetthrive.com/2007/08/bene...rmented-honey/, Stephan Guyenet, PhD http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.co...result-of.html and http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.co...ch?q=fermented, Aajonus Vonderplanitz, PhD and others) suggests that probiotic organisms may provide significant health benefits. Instead of becoming ill, my own health has improved while eating raw, naturally fermented foods and I have not had a single cold, flu or other infection since I started eating them a few years ago.

    [/quote]also if you let it sit long enough you will produce mead.[/quote]It's so tasty I doubt that will happen.

    Your claim that fermented honey is healthier than straight raw honey is not substantiated in that honey's strongest properties are it's antibiotic properties as well as the enzymes, pollen and other items in the honey. By changing the properties by allowing water to dilute honey causes many changes to those properties and contributes to the growth of yeast and other things which may or may not be good for you.
    My only claim is regarding myself and what Iíve experienced, and again, I know there's yeast and probably lacto bacilli in the fermented honey and view that as a probable probiotic plus rather than a minus. Do you have any evidence showing that the antibiotic properties, enzymes, pollen and other items are substantially damaged by the water, fungi or bacilli?

    Iíve read that human beings are believed to have been eating fermented honey and other naturally fermented foods for at least tens of thousands of years (http://www.medovina.com/history.htm), that mead was first made via natural fermentation (raw fermented honey was likely first discovered already made naturally on its own in a tree hollow containing honey and water) with environmental yeasts, and that some traditional peoples around the world still use simple, ancient, natural methods to make mead, including not sterilizing it and not using heat (http://www.southafrica.net/sat/conte...tail&pid=109)? One traditional method of mead making apparently involves using the whole hive! (see http://wildhivefarm.blogspot.com/201...hive-mead.html, http://www.gotmead.com/forum/archive...hp/t-9502.html, http://forums.morebeer.com/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=278, and Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers: The Secrets
    of Ancient Fermentation, by Stephen Harrod Buhne). Apparently traditional peoples donít let their mead ferment long before they start drinking it. Thus the alcohol level starts out rather low and it is much closer to the raw fermented honey Iíve been talking about than commercial Western mead, except that even low-alcohol traditional mead is much more liquid than raw fermented honey, of course.

    AmericasBeekeeper wrote: "Welcome, large honey operations may use steam to assist extraction, but most of us want it as dry as possible."
    Thanks, I know that modern Western beekeepers try to avoid letting their honey ferment and I know it may be a shock to you, but there is a growing revival of interest in completely raw and raw fermented honeys amongst the consumers of honey. I for one was amazed by how much better raw and raw fermented honey tastes than heated and how I even appear to tolerate raw honey better healthwise, particularly fermented. I found that a couple of beekeepers posting in this forum in the past were aware of raw fermented honey and even profiting from it (one reported that the margins are higher, BTW--see http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...post205995--so there's profit in it for wise small-scale beekeepers).

    The honey sellers I buy from claim that the honey they sell is "never strained, never filtered, and never heated."

    The process of making the raw jarred honey that isn't centrifuged is described here:
    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...009#post206009
    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...982#post205982
    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...988#post205988

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Raw fermented honey fan

    Quote Originally Posted by buttsbees View Post
    We have always been amazed at the average Americans distaste for fermented foods.
    Yes, much of it seems to be due to widespread and extreme fear of microorganisms in the USA, in part due to dire warnings by governmental authorities. This despite accumulating scientific research that has been re-discovering the importance of beneficial microorganisms (aka probiotics), as I noted above (see also G.A.W. Rook, "Darwinian medicine and the ‘hygiene’ or ‘old friends’ hypothesis," http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2841838).

    Things are gradually changing, bacteria-filled yogurt has come to be re-discovered as a healthful food. Kombucha is another fermented food that has recently become popular. My local healthfood market also carries other fermented foods like traditional raw fermented sauerkraut and kimchi, raw fermented coconut water vinegar, kefir (fermented milk), sour cream, cultured butter, aged cheeses, and pu-ehr tea (fermented tea). Yet even as the benefits of each fermented food become increasingly understood, there is still much resistance as each one is rediscovered, such as with fermented honey. Why more people don't quickly make the connection that the benefits of probiotics are not limited to just one or two fermented foods, I don't know. It's as though there is tunnel vision on the subject.

    Fermented honey holds promise for small beekeepers, as customers like me are willing to pay more for it and it would be difficult for large-scale producers to make it. It could aid the survival of small-scale beekeeping. One of the beekeepers on this forum reported making more money on fermented honey. Why anyone would turn down the extra money, I don't know.

    We have always found a market for our fermented honey among those with cultured taste. And always keep plenty on hand. Contact us at http://buttsbees.blogspot.com.
    Thanks, I'll make a note of that for when I next need to order more fermented honey.

    ------

    Update: I have repeatedly confirmed that eating fermented raw honey does indeed reduce dryness and flaking of the skin on my face and scalp and also reduces excessive oiliness in my hair. I did not expect these benefits and do not notice them from unfermented honeys, not even from raw ones. If you have any insight into how fermented honey might work to benefit the skin and hair, I would appreciate it. Since the fermentation is the only difference, I suspect it has something to do with the probiotics.

    The fermented honey I've bought has never turned into mead, regardless of how long I let it sit, even if exposed to air. I actually tried to make some mead from it and failed. If it easily produced mead, I would see that as a plus, rather than a minus, as I like mead and high quality mead is relatively expensive.

    It turns out that A. Vonderplanitz's PhD is a bogus degree that can be bought from a diploma mill. In my experience, the degree of rawness, while important, seems to be less of a factor than fermentation anyway.

    There are multiple mentions in the broader forum to fermented honey being "spoiled." It is no more spoiled than yogurt is "spoiled" milk. Rather, both foods are improved by fermentation, in my experience (and I have seen others report this as well).

    The reduced hygroscopic nature (ability to absorb more water) of fermented honey was alleged earlier in the thread to be a potential problem due to potential reduction of antibiotic properties. Yet natural raw honey is not free of bacteria. Instead, it has a healthy balance of beneficial vs. pathogenic bacteria. It wouldn't be beneficial to bees or humans if honey killed beneficial bacteria as well as pathogenic bacteria. Indeed, there are beneficial bacteria within bees themselves that are crucial to their health and reduced microbial diversity in bees has been pointed to as a factor in "honey bee decline":

    "Colonies with genetically diverse populations of workers, a result of the highly promiscuous mating behavior of queens, benefited from greater microbial diversity, reduced pathogen loads, and increased abundance of putatively helpful bacteria, particularly species from the potentially probiotic genus Bifidobacterium. Across all colonies, Bifidobacterium activity was negatively correlated with the activity of genera that include pathogenic microbes; this relationship suggests a possible target for understanding whether microbes provide protective benefits to honey bees. Within-colony diversity shapes microbiotas associated with honey bees in ways that may have important repercussions for colony function and health. Our findings illuminate the importance of honey bee-bacteria symbioses and examine their intersection with nutrition, pathogen load, and genetic diversity, factors that are considered key to understanding honey bee decline." (Characterization of the Active Microbiotas Associated with Honey Bees Reveals Healthier and Broader Communities when Colonies are Genetically Diverse, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3299707)
    Last edited by paleophil; 03-03-2013 at 12:41 PM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Raw fermented honey fan

    My experience of fermented food tells me that it increases the nutritional benefit of the food.

    The fermenting process releases or generates considerably more nutrition - apparently up to 50% of some nutrients. B vitamins are often increased exponentially, and also minerals like magnesium, so as honey is already a very nutritious food, I wouldn't be at all surprised if you saw more benefits with the fermented honey.

    Most indigenous cultures include some kind of fermented food in their diet. Yogurt, Kefir, Kimchi, Kombucha, miso, tempeh, sauerkraut, surstromming, even wine and other fermented beverages feature largely in most cultures. Bread dough was traditionally left to rise for many hours - often overnight - and in the case of things like traditional pizza dough and sourdough breads as long as 24 - 36 hours (my extremely gluten-intolerant husband can eat my slow-rise bread made with wheat flour and a little yeast and left to rise slowly in the fridge overnight, without any problems. Unfermented, or short-fermented wheat products turn him into 'Attila the Hun' for the best part of a week).

    The fermenting process helps to break down sugars and awkward proteins (especially in the case of the foreign difficult-to-digest proteins that are found in modern highly-hybridized wheat, barley and rye) for better digestion by the body, and it also generates more of the nutritional elements - vitamins, minerals, trace elements, enzymes, etc., that helps the body digest and process its food for the maximum benefit.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Raw fermented honey fan

    Great post, thanks AliB.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Raw fermented honey fan

    Contact Rand, he has 150kg of it to sell, that should last a while. Dont put the lids on tight. WVMJ
    Meadmaking with WVMJ at Meads and Elderberry Winemaking

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Raw fermented honey fan

    > I know that the honey is not intentionally heated

    Yes, it is.

    > but a controversial diet guru named Aajonus Vonderplanitz, PhD claimed that he used a measuring device, I think it might have been an infrared device, to measure the temperature of the honey inside centrifuges and he claimed that it can reach a temperature above hive temperature (one person said the temperature of the honey rises to as high as 100 degrees Farenheit and another said that the centrifuge itself reaches 120 degrees Farenheit

    Only if it is purposely heated. An extractor (aka centrifuge) does not create any significant heat at all.

    > there are some negative comments made about beekeeper techniques that involve heating honey).

    Because heated honey has lost it's enzymes and it's flavor...

    > The fellow in the video claims that the heating is what enables the honey to slide down the sides of the centrifuge into piping.

    If the extractor is heated it is on purpose, not by accident. Most extrators have no heater.

    > This fellow claims the centrifuges are wired to heat them up and I’ve seen someone else claim that just the spinning of the centrifuge warms it up.

    Some may be wired to heat them up (I have not seen one of those for sale, but have heard of such a thing), but most do not.

    >Dr. Vonderplanitz also claims that an insulin-like substance he says is in honey (I looked into it and found that there are insulin-like polypeptides in royal jelly http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0022-1910(77)90044-0) are damaged at temperatures above 92 (or 95?) degrees Fahrenheit. I don't know how accurate those claims are

    The brood nest of a bee colony is 93 F virtually all the time. When they swarm or get excited temperatures in the hive can easily hit 100 F. On a really hot day, even though the brood nest is 93 F it would not be unusual for the supers to reach 100 F or slightly more. It can't reach a lot more without the combs collapsing.

    >I know that it contains organisms and, strange as it may seem at first blush, I want that. I eat other naturally fermented foods that contain organisms as well (believe me, raw fermented honey is far from the most shocking food I eat :P ).

    Up until honey reaches a level where bacteria can no longer live in it, it is bioactive. It has bacteria and some yeasts living in it. I have no doubt these are healthful.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Raw fermented honey fan

    I sell mine to a fellow who feeds it to his chickens. I have a conflict between a sometimes substantial winter honey flow, hives that die after storing it and a moist climate. Got 20 gallons of fermented honey last winter.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Raw fermented honey fan

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    I sell mine to a fellow who feeds it to his chickens. I have a conflict between a sometimes substantial winter honey flow, hives that die after storing it and a moist climate. Got 20 gallons of fermented honey last winter.
    Who'd of thunkit! Chickens. odfrank is it honey that turned or did you ferment it?

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Raw fermented honey fan

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    The brood nest of a bee colony is 93 F virtually all the time. When they swarm or get excited temperatures in the hive can easily hit 100 F. On a really hot day, even though the brood nest is 93 F it would not be unusual for the supers to reach 100 F or slightly more. It can't reach a lot more without the combs collapsing.
    Mr. Bush in Texas I have seen in 100 degs in Feb. Scarey to think about comb collapse. Ok now I am off to design a mobile pallet...

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Raw fermented honey fan

    I guess I'm not understanding this. I've read that if honey is at the proper water percentage, it won't ferment. If you want fermented honey, do you have to add water?

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Raw fermented honey fan

    >I guess I'm not understanding this. I've read that if honey is at the proper water percentage, it won't ferment.

    Yes.

    > If you want fermented honey, do you have to add water?

    Or harvest uncapped honey.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Raw fermented honey fan

    I read someplace that fermented honey is a result of having too much water in the honey. This may happen when too much uncapped honey is extracted. All from what I have read only.

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