Foundation Diet and Health
Diet and Health
QR Code
The best perspective for your health
This page was translated through Google Translator

Honey (bee honey, raw?, organic?)

Cold-pressed honey is usually raw and contains nutritionally valuable compounds. Organic honey is preferable.
Macronutrient carbohydrates 99.64%
Macronutrient proteins 0.36%
Macronutrient fats 0%

The three ratios show the percentage by weight of macronutrients (carbohydrates / proteins / fats) of the dry matter (excl. water).

Ω-6 (LA, <0.1g)
Omega-6 fatty acid such as linoleic acid (LA)
 : Ω-3 (ALA, <0.1g)
Omega-3 fatty acid such as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
 = 0:0

Omega-6 ratio to omega-3 fatty acids should not exceed a total of 5:1. Link to explanation.

Values are too small to be relevant.

Honey , also called bee honey , is a product produced by bees that is often enjoyed at breakfast or used to sweeten drinks and food. Honey is available raw and in organic quality.

Use in the kitchen

Honey is a natural sweet substance that honey bees (the most important honey bees in beekeeping are European or Western honey bees; Apis mellifera ) produce from the nectar of plants or from secretions of living plant parts or sugary excretions of plant-sucking insects. 1

A rough distinction is made between blossom honey (nectar honey) and honeydew honey (forest honey). Blossom honey includes all types of honey that honeybees make from the nectar of flowers, while honeydew honey is the product of the excretions of plant-sucking insects (Hemiptera) collected by the bees, called honeydew. Blossom honey is further divided into monofloral and multifloral honey. In monofloral honey (forest honey, varietal honey), nectar from a single plant species predominates, while multifloral honey (mixed honey) contains nectar from various plant species. 1,2,3

Honey generally has a sweet taste with different aromas depending on the type of honey. There are honeys that taste mild, sweet and floral, others are spicy and tart. Single-flowered honeys have characteristic organoleptic characteristics determined by the predominant flower variety, while mixed honeys cover a range of tastes. Processing can also influence the taste of honey. Cold-spun and therefore raw honey retains its natural taste best. Heated honey loses its aroma. The consistency of honey can vary depending on the type of honey and storage temperature. Freshly spun honey is usually liquid and flows smoothly. However, over time it can crystallize (solidify). The degree of crystallization of honey depends on several factors, including sugar content (fructose-glucose ratio; honeys with a high glucose content crystallize more quickly than honeys with a high fructose content), processing (cold-spun honey crystallizes more slowly than heated honey) and storage temperature (honey crystallizes more quickly at low temperatures than at high temperatures). Crystallized honey is no worse than liquid honey. However, if you would like it to be more liquid again, you can achieve this by gently heating it (not above 40 °C). Honey ranges in color from whitish, light yellow, golden yellow, light brown to dark brown.

Honey can be used in a variety of recipes. The natural sweetener can be used instead of household sugar to sweeten drinks (especially popular in tea or in shakes such as the refreshing berry shake with wheat germ ) and food. It gives baked goods such as rolls, cakes (eg honey cake, gingerbread) and biscuits a sweet and aromatic taste and makes them juicier. Desserts such as creams and cakes also benefit from the sweetness of honey. Honey is also a popular food on the breakfast table - whether in muesli, porridge or on a slice of bread.

Honey can also be used to refine salty dishes. It can be used to prepare delicious marinades, sauces and dressings. Autumn and winter salads in particular (e.g. lamb's lettuce with pears and walnuts , radicchio with mushrooms, endive with red cabbage or fennel salad with apples and oranges ) taste excellent with a honey and mustard salad dressing. The combination of honey and mustard is generally recommended. Honey also refines soups (especially with carrots ) and tastes delicious with vegetables, whether pan-fried or oven-baked. Honey is also often served with cheese (vegan options are also possible) together with grapes and walnuts. Nuts or chickpeas roasted with honey and salt are a delicious snack.

Is honey vegan? It can be stated that honey is a product made by an animal. On the other hand, honey does not contain any animal protein and some vegans consider it a vegan product. They argue that it is not a product of the bees' bodies.

Is honey raw? Natural honey, i.e. honey that was neither heated nor filtered during extraction (draining, spinning, pressing) and bottling, is considered a raw food product or raw honey.

Recipe for ginger-lemon shot with honey

Ingredients (for 4 small glasses): 40 g fresh ginger root (organic), 2 organic lemons , 100 ml water , 1-2 tbsp honey (preferably raw and organic), ¼ tsp turmeric (ground) .

Preparation: Roughly peel the ginger, cut into pieces and place in a tall mixing glass. Squeeze the lemons and pour the juice into the ginger pieces. Add water, honey and turmeric and puree everything finely. Pour the ginger-lemon-honey juice through a fine sieve and pour into small shot glasses for immediate consumption or into small glass bottles for storage (keeps in the fridge for about 4 days).

There are some recipes online that use large amounts of ginger, which we advise against. Recommendations for a healthy daily dose are covered in the ginger ingredient section (in the Dangers - Intolerances - Side Effects chapter).

Recipes with honey can be found under the note: " Recipes that have the most of this ingredient ".

Not only vegans or vegetarians should read this:
Vegans often eat unhealthily. Avoidable nutritional mistakes

Purchasing - Storage

Bee honey, both blossom and forest honey, can be bought all year round and in organic quality in almost every supermarket (e.g. Coop , Migros , Denner , Volg , Spar , Aldi , Lidl , Rewe , Edeka , Hofer , Billa ) and organic supermarket (e.g. Denn's Biomarkt , Alnatura ). The honey harvest in the DA-CH countries lasts from around April to August. You can find particularly fresh, regional honey from beekeepers in your area.

Unfortunately, it is rarely indicated on the packaging whether a honey is raw or not. If you are unsure, ask in the shop. Raw honey in Switzerland can be found in health food stores as well as supermarkets.

The availability of honey varies depending on the size of the store, catchment area, etc. Our recorded food prices for the DA-CH countries can be found above under the ingredient image - and by clicking you can see their development at different suppliers.

Warning: Honey is one of the foods that is often adulterated. Although honey is prohibited by the Codex Alimentarius Commission , it is mainly found in imported products. Honey, like sugar beet syrup, consists mainly of glucose and fructose, which makes it easy to counterfeit and difficult to detect. Other common adulterants in flower honey include corn syrup , invert sugar syrup and sugar syrup. Forest honey is often adulterated by adding inferior flower honey. 4

Storage tips

Honey is best stored in a cool, dark place, such as a pantry. If stored correctly and handled cleanly, it will last for several years once it has crystallized. Crystallization is not a loss of quality; on the contrary, it indicates that the honey cannot ferment, i.e. does not have too much water content. It can be liquefied again by gently warming it in a water bath.

Health Benefits

Honey has been used since ancient times as a method to speed up wound healing - this ability has been proven many times. It is increasingly being used as a treatment for ulcers, bedsores and other skin infections resulting from burns and wounds. Honey's wound healing properties can be attributed to, among other things, its antibacterial and antioxidant properties and its ability to maintain a moist wound environment that promotes healing and stimulates tissue growth. It also has a high viscosity that helps to form a protective barrier to prevent infection. Medicinal honey and Manuka honey are particularly suitable for the treatment of ulcers, infected wounds and burns. 9,10

Honey contains antimicrobial agents such as hydrogen peroxide (H 2 O 2 ), methylglyoxal (MGO), defensin-1 and -2, which suppress the growth of bacterial cells or kill them. 6,7 The enzymes catalase and peroxidase also contribute to strong antioxidant activity. 6 Honey is also hygroscopic, meaning it can draw moisture from the environment and dry out bacteria. The high sugar content and low pH value can also prevent the growth of microbes. 9

Hydrogen peroxide (H 2 O 2 ) is an important antiseptic and stimulates the wound healing process. It is believed that the antibacterial effect of honey is partly due to H 2 O 2 . H 2 O 2 is an oxidizing agent and is released by the enzyme oxidase added by the bees. The concentration of hydrogen peroxide produced in honey is about 1000 times lower than in the 3% solution commonly used as an antiseptic. Research has shown that the antibacterial activity remains in honey treated with catalase to remove H 2 O 2 , suggesting that hydrogen peroxide is not the only antibacterial agent. Manuka honey, a New Zealand honey made from the nectar of the flower of the manuka tree ( Leptospermum scoparium ), has exceptionally high levels of antibacterial activity, even without peroxide. 10

Manuka honey is one of the few honeys with standardized values for antibacterial activity. This is due to the high stability (light and heat resistance) of the non-peroxidic, antibacterial sugar degradation product methylglyoxal (MGO). In comparison, the antibacterial hydrogen peroxide contained in other flower honeys is less stable, which means that the strength of the antibacterial activity varies greatly. Manuka honey is reported to have an inhibitory effect on around 60 types of bacteria, including aerobes and anaerobes, gram-positive and gram-negative. Another honey with standardized values for antibacterial activity is Tualang honey, which is effective against many different types of wound and intestinal bacteria. 9 Honey is also said to protect the stomach and liver, have hypoglycemic and blood pressure lowering effects, and can shorten the duration of bacterial diarrhea. 8,9

Ingredients - Nutritional values - Calories

Honey is extremely high in calories, with 304 kcal per 100 g. It contains 82 g/100g of carbohydrates, which consist almost entirely of sugar. The protein content is very low at 0.3 g/100g. 5 The following are three notable honey nutrients.

100 g of honey contains 0.08 mg of manganese (4% of the daily requirement). Corn syrup (0.09 mg/100g), date syrup (0.1 mg/100g) and rice syrup (0.1 mg/100g) contain similar amounts of manganese. Apple syrup (0.31 mg/100g) contains slightly more. Maple syrup and dried stevia leaves contain 2.9 mg/100g, more than 36 times the amount of the trace element. 5

Honey contains 0.42 mg of iron per 100 g (3% of the daily requirement). This content is comparable to that of date syrup (0.37 mg/100g). Less iron is found in agave syrup (0.09 mg/100g) and maple syrup (0.11 mg/100g), while rice syrup (1.2 mg/100g), apple syrup (1.7 mg/100g) and the sweetener carob powder (2.9 mg/100g) contain slightly more. Dried stevia leaves are significantly richer in iron at 5.9 mg/100g. 5

The potassium content is 52 mg/100g (3% of the daily requirement). Rice syrup (194 mg/100g) and date syrup (245 mg/100g) contain more potassium. Apple syrup (735 mg/100g), coconut blossom sugar (815 mg/100g) and carob powder (827 mg/100g) contain much larger amounts of the vitamin. 5

Honey is a highly concentrated sugar mixture consisting mainly of glucose (31%) and fructose (38%). The remaining sugar consists of the following disaccharides and trisaccharides: maltose, sucrose, isomaltose, gentiobiose, maltotriose, melezitose, isopanose, isomaltosylglucose, panose and theanderose. In addition to carbohydrates, honey contains other notable compounds such as hydrogen peroxide, methylglyoxal and defensin-1 and -2. 6,7

The chemical composition and biological properties of honey are highly variable, depending on the floral source, seasonality and environmental factors. Therefore, different types of honey have different or varying degrees of health benefits. 6,8

Secondary plant substances

Many of the health effects of honey can be attributed to the secondary plant substances it contains. The article on secondary plant substances provides an overview of the classification of the substance groups, their occurrence in foods and possible effects on humans.

It should be noted that the composition of secondary plant substances in honey can vary depending on the variety, time of harvest and growing conditions - and therefore the quantities and ingredients vary. Compared to flower honey, honeydew honey generally has a higher content of bioactive compounds and, as a result, a higher antimicrobial and antioxidant activity. 4 It was also found that the polyphenol content correlates significantly with the honey color. This indicates that dark-colored honeys have a higher content of phenolic compounds, which indicates increased antioxidant activity. 6

Depending on its origin and variety, honey can contain the following secondary plant substances:


  • Terpenoids 1
  • Carotenoids 1.6
  • Terpenes 1


  • Phenolic acids: caffeic acid, ellagic acid, ferulic acid, cinnamic acid, salicylic acid, hydroxybenzoic acids, vanillic acid, 4 gallic acid 2
  • Flavonoids: Flavones (apigenin, chrysin, luteolin), flavanols (catechin, epicatechin), flavanones (hesperidin, naringenin, pinocembrin), flavonols (myricetin, galangin, isorhamnetin, kaempferol, quercetin, rutin), flavanonols (taxifolin) 4
  • Phytoestrogens: Genistein 4

Studies show that the polyphenols in honey can inhibit bacterial growth, making honey a potential alternative treatment against harmful bacteria, including multidrug-resistant pathogens. However, antimicrobial properties vary depending on honey type, hive location, nectar source and other factors. Honey impairs movement, adhesion and the formation of biofilms and virulence factors in bacteria. In addition, beneficial bacteria in honey successfully fight other harmful microorganisms. However, the exact antimicrobial effect of honey has not been fully investigated due to its complex composition. 7

The diverse honey polyphenols interact with each other in unique ways, synergistically producing honey's bioactive effects, particularly its anti-carcinogenic properties. Polyphenols generally act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatories by neutralizing free radicals that are often involved in the development of cancer cells. 35 Although the exact mechanism is not yet fully understood, several studies have shown that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of honey can prevent cancer development. Honey exhibits an inhibitory effect on the growth of cancer cells both in vitro and in vivo , inducing programmed cell death in them. In addition, honey improves the effectiveness of anti-cancer drugs and helps improve the quality of life of patients during chemotherapy. 37

In addition to their anti-cancer effects, polyphenols - especially the flavonoid chrysin - play a key role in the prevention of other diseases such as diabetes mellitus, inflammatory diseases, cardiovascular diseases and allergies, as well as in the fight against oxidative stress. Scientific studies have also demonstrated its hepatoprotective properties, as well as its beneficial effects on reproductive health, as demonstrated in numerous animal models. 36,38

In addition, the polyphenols quercetin and gallic acid can inhibit the release of certain enzymes that contribute to the development of neurodegenerative diseases. The secondary plant substances contained in honey show promising potential as protection against the progression of such diseases. Further studies are needed to verify this potential in intervention studies in humans. 2

Important: Thermal processing (heating above 40 °C) destroys nutritionally valuable ingredients (unstable, thermolabile components) and impairs the bioactivity of bee honey. Natural, unheated, raw honey is therefore the most effective. 9,11

Dangers - Intolerances - Side effects

Is honey unhealthy? Depending on the variety, honey has a lower glycemic index (50-60) 16 than white sugar (65) 17 , but it is also largely made up of sugar. Like other foods with a high sugar content, it should be used sparingly and consumed in moderation to keep the risk of obesity and diabetes mellitus low. A small advantage: Due to the fructose content, honey tastes a little sweeter than granulated sugar, which is why a smaller amount is needed to sweeten it.

Like other sugary sweeteners, honey is bad for your teeth. If consumed in excess and with poor oral hygiene, honey can lead to tooth decay. Reduce your sugar intake, rinse your mouth with water after eating sweet foods and drinks, and brush your teeth regularly.

Honey can be contaminated chemically by pesticides, antibiotic residues, inorganic substances, or microbiologically by microorganisms from the soil, nectar, pollen, wax, and beekeeping practices. The microorganisms that may be present are those that support the high concentration of sugar and acid, mainly yeasts, fungi and spore-forming bacteria. 4

For example, honey can be contaminated with spores of neurotoxin-producing clostridia ( Clostridium botulinum ). Clostridium spores are particularly dangerous for children whose immune systems and intestinal flora are not yet fully developed. Swallowed spores multiply in the digestive tract of newborns and infants and form botulinum toxin, a muscle-paralyzing poison. If undetected and untreated, infant botulism can cause paralysis of the respiratory and swallowing muscles and, in the worst case, lead to the death of the affected infant. For children over one year of age and adults, the consumption of honey is harmless in terms of clostridia. 4, 12

Heavy metals are regularly found in the air, water and soil, so honeybees are exposed to them either directly when the particles "stick" to their body hair, or indirectly via pollen, nectar, honeydew or water. Heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, mercury and cadmium thus end up in honey. 4,13 Honey contaminated with pesticides also poses a health risk. Honeybees are sometimes treated directly with pesticides to combat diseases. Pesticide residues also come from indirect contamination from agriculture. Pesticides spread in the environment (soil, air, water) and often settle on the plants pollinated by bees. 4

One compound that is not present in fresh, natural honey, or only in small traces, is 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), a breakdown product of sugars. HMF can be formed when honey is heated and preserved. The compound has often been found in heated honey samples that have been stored (warm) for a long time. HMF can be mutagenic, carcinogenic and cytotoxic. In addition to the harmful effects, some studies have shown that HMF has a wide range of positive effects, such as antioxidant, anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory properties. 13,14,15 To be on the safe side, choose honey that is as fresh and natural as possible.

Furthermore, the nectar of poisonous plants can be a source of toxic compounds in honey. Honey obtained from the nectar of Pontic rhododendron ( Rhododendron ponticum ), also called Pontic honey or mad honey, contains alkaloids that are toxic to humans. Other poisonous honeys include honey from rosemary heath ( Andromeda polifolia ), wharangi ( Melicope ternata ) and thornapples ( Datura spp.). Although symptoms of poisoning from eating honey can vary depending on the source of the poison, the most common symptoms include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, cramps, headaches, palpitations and, in the worst cases, death. 13

Allergies to honey are rare but known and can cause reactions ranging from coughing to anaphylaxis. 13

Folk medicine - natural healing

Honey is one of the oldest traditional medicines, which was used primarily to treat infected wounds and common infectious diseases. 7,9 Many people know honey as a home remedy for coughs and sore throats - dissolved in a cup of tea. 18

The medical use of bee products, including honey, propolis and bee venom, is called apitherapy. 9

Ecological footprint - animal welfare

The ecological footprint of a food depends on various aspects, such as cultivation method (conventional/organic), seasonality, country of origin, transport and, if applicable, packaging. Depending on the source, there are differences in the figures: The CO 2 footprint of honey in a jar is 2 kg CO 2 eq/kg according to a German study (2020). 19 The Danish climate database The Big Climate Database puts the CO 2 footprint of honey (packaging unclear) for 2024 at 0.79 kg CO 2 eq/kg (2021: 0.77 kg CO 2 eq/kg). 20

A possible explanation for such differing figures is provided by a study on the CO 2 footprint in various beekeeping systems. The values range from 1.4 to 2.2 kg CO 2 eq/kg for migratory beekeeping, and for non-migratory beekeeping, the figures were between 0.38 and 0.48 kgCO 2 eq per kg of honey. The deviation is explained by, among other things, more effort in terms of distance (journeys to the beehives including placement and inspection), as well as a lower yield and a higher disease burden in "nomadic" bee colonies than in stationary ones. In addition, supplementary feeding, production practices and characteristics of the honey bee breeding chain are included in the calculation of the footprint. 34

A study from dry areas in Iran shows a virtual water footprint for honey at an average of 0.18 l/kg, which is very low for an animal product. 32

Since beekeeping often takes place separately from the rest of agriculture, it occupies a special position in organic farming. There are requirements for organic beekeeping based on the principles of organic farming. The location of the bee colonies (at least according to BundesBio , Bio Suisse and Demeter ) requires that the bee pasture within a radius of 3 km around the beehive consists of at least 50% organic or ÖLN areas (ecological performance certificate) or wild plants (forest). In addition, the location must be sufficiently far away from possible non-agricultural sources of pollution and offer enough natural sources of nectar, honeydew, pollen and water. 21,22

Organic beekeeping attempts to take the needs of honey bees into account (at least in part) by aiming for the most species-appropriate and natural husbandry, feeding and breeding possible. In organic beekeeping, beehives must be built mainly from natural materials, only organic quality feed may be fed (this can also be organic sugar or organic sugar syrup) and honey and pollen reserves must be provided in the brood combs for overwintering. Other principles mentioned are: robust bee breeds adapted to the location, natural breeding without the use of foreign queens (but artificial queen breeding is permitted; not with Demeter ), reproduction through natural swarming (only mandatory with Demeter ), as few interventions as possible and adapted to the bee colony and the promotion of natural honeycomb construction. In addition, measures must be taken to prevent diseases and pest infestations and direct disease control and pest control should only be carried out when necessary and exclusively with natural active ingredients. 21,22

From an ecological point of view, organic honey from the region is preferable - animal husbandry that is more appropriate to the species, no use of chemical-synthetic pesticides and veterinary medicines 3 and short transport routes. From the bees' point of view, honey should not be consumed. Read more about the problems of beekeeping and vegan alternatives in the following chapter "Animal welfare - species protection".

Animal welfare - species protection

From an agricultural perspective, honey is an animal product. As with other livestock farming, there are small family farms, but also large, commercial farms with intensive livestock farming that keep and exploit honey bees under cramped and stressful living conditions. 23 Natural swarming is prevented by genetic manipulation or clipping the wings of queen bees. Queens and their swarms are thus tied to the location determined by humans. Transportable beehives are easy to move from place to place, which means more harvest, but also more stress for the animals. 24

The treatment of the animals is usually rough in large-scale operations. By collecting the honeycombs quickly and carelessly, bees are crushed, their wings are injured or their legs are accidentally severed. Unwanted, maturing queens in their cells and old queens that are no longer productive are simply crushed. 24

In addition, honey deprives bees of their food. Honey is vital for the survival of the small animals, especially in the cold winter months, and serves as protection against disease. Although honey is replaced with an artificial substitute food, usually nutrient-free sugar water, this can make the insects ill and block their normal cell metabolism. 24

Another human-caused problem for European honey bees ( Apis mellifera ) is the Varroa mite ( Varroa destructor ), originally a parasite of the Eastern honey bee ( Apis cerana ). The mite came to Europe via international trade and infested the European honey bee. The parasite kills infected colonies within one to three years. To prevent this, colonies must be treated annually - commercially with chemical-synthetic pesticides and biologically with highly concentrated, caustic organic acids. Stressful living conditions and unhealthy substitute food and the associated susceptibility to disease only contribute to the mites' infestation. 24,25 Insecticides, especially the most commonly used neonicotinoids, are also very toxic to bees and damage their nervous systems. 4 The massive decline in bee populations since the 2000s, known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), is not yet fully understood, but stress, pesticides, disease and poor nutrition appear to be possible causes. 24

Honey bees perform the ecologically and economically important task of pollinating plants. However, because hives are designed to store unnaturally large amounts of honey, they are encouraged to collect much more nectar than is necessary for their survival. In doing so, they take food away from other insects that are also important pollinators. Commercial bee farms therefore encourage insect extinction and biodiversity loss. 24

There are many vegan alternatives to honey, such as apple syrup , pear syrup (birnel), date syrup , agave syrup and maple syrup , although locally grown fruit syrup is preferable from an ecological point of view.

Worldwide occurrence - cultivation

Human use of honey probably dates back 8000 years, as shown by some Stone Age paintings. All earlier civilizations showed some kind of respect for the bee and distinguished it from other insects. The first written mention of honey, a Sumerian tablet from 2100-2000 BC, mentions the use of honey as a medicine and ointment. Aristotle (384-322 BC), in discussing different types of honey, referred to the light honey as "good as an ointment for sore eyes and wounds." 7,9

In 2021, global honey production was 1.8 million tonnes. By far the largest producer is China, followed by Turkey, Iran, Argentina and Ukraine. 26 Switzerland produces 3300 tonnes annually and imports 8200 tonnes of honey. 27

Production and extraction

Honey bees suck up nectar or honeydew drops with their proboscises and store the liquid in their honey stomach (honey bladder). The collecting bee mixes rich secretions into the liquid as it sucks it up. Back in the hive, the collecting bee passes the contents of its honey stomach to a hive bee, which passes it on to another bee. This transfer, known as the feeding chain, occurs several times. The bees enrich the nectar with enzymes and reduce the water content. The last bee in the feeding chain stores the thickened honey bladder contents in a honeycomb cell, where it is further dried by fanning it with its wings and repeatedly picking it up and transferring it to other cells. In this way, the nectar or honeydew gradually turns into honey. Finally, the bees bring the finished honey into storage cells above the brood nest and seal them with a wax lid (capping). 28,29

Beekeepers remove the honeycombs filled with honey from the hive and remove the caps from the honeycomb cells. There are now several methods for extracting honey: spinning, dripping and pressing.

Extracted honey is honey obtained by extracting the capped, brood-free honeycombs. This is a frequently used method. To do this, stable honeycombs are placed in a frame in a honey extractor, which uses rapid rotating movements to extract the honey from the honeycombs onto the outer walls of the extractor drum. The honey runs down and collects in the collecting vessel. Beekeepers use sieves to remove wax particles and other foreign matter from the honey. During the entire process, the temperature should not exceed 40 °C. Only then is extracted honey considered cold-extracted and raw. 3.30

Drip honey is honey obtained by dripping the uncapped, brood-free honeycombs. After dripping, beekeepers sift the honey into a container and stir it, depending on the type of honey. 30 This honey is also considered raw food.

Honey obtained by pressing the uncapped, brood-free honeycombs (with or without heating to max. 45 °C) is called pressed honey. Beekeepers break the honeycombs into several pieces, wrap them in fine-mesh cloths or sacks and place them in a press. After pressing, the honey is sieved and possibly stirred. 30 Honey that is heated to over 42 °C during pressing is generally no longer considered raw honey.

Under certain conditions, beekeepers sell unopened honeycombs, either whole or broken into pieces, as honeycomb honey or sliced honey. 30

By the way: draining, pressing (with or without heating to max. 40 °C) and cold spinning are permitted organic processes. Honey liquefied by intense heating is not uncommon in conventional production. The result: reduced enzyme activity. 3 Organic honey, i.e. natural, raw honey, is preferable.

Further information

How is varietal honey created? Honey bees are flower-constant when collecting, which means that they concentrate on one plant species during a trip and only visit its flowers. They remain loyal to this plant species on their subsequent flights as long as the plants offer enough pollen, nectar or honeydew. Bees are also stationary. By means of the waggle dance, a successful foraging bee tells other bees where it is foraging and recruits them to fly there. Varietal honeys, also known as foraging honeys, can be created through flower-constant and stationary foraging behavior of the bees and the foraging availability of a predominant plant species in the bee's flight area. 31

However, it is not certain that bees will fly to the fields of a plant species in the immediate vicinity and produce a varietal honey of that species. During their exploratory flights, they look for an attractive and productive source of nectar for themselves. Therefore, only a honey analysis can provide information about what type of varietal honey it is. Since bees use selected nectar sources intensively but never alone, varietal honeys do not have to come exclusively, but predominantly, i.e. at least 60%, from a single source of nectar. Honey with a statement about its regional origin, on the other hand, must come exclusively from the specified region. 31

Common honey varieties in Switzerland include acacia honey (actually locust honey), linden honey, dandelion honey, chestnut honey and rapeseed honey. Apple blossom honey and cherry blossom honey are less common. Linden honey and chestnut honey are usually a mixture of blossom honey and honeydew honey, as linden and chestnut trees secrete nectar and honeydew at the same time and bees usually collect both. Honeydew honeys (forest honeys) are divided in Switzerland into fir honeys (from spruce and silver fir) and mixed honeys from different honeydew nectars (with predominantly leaf honey characteristics). 32

Popular honeys in the DA-CH countries include eucalyptus honey, clover honey, lavender blossom honey, manuka honey, orange blossom honey, thyme honey and tualang honey.

The term dandelion blossom honey (sometimes also called dandelion honey), fir tree top honey (fir tip honey) or spruce tip honey is often confused with real honey. This is actually a syrup made from water, flowers or buds (e.g. from firs or spruces) and sugar.

Alternative names

The terms bee honey and honey are used interchangeably.

In English, honey is called honey.

Other uses

In addition to its use as food and medicine, honey is used as an ingredient in cosmetic products such as body creams, lip care and shampoos.