We’re diving into honey and why we’ve added Bee Local’s raw honey as a natural sweetener to two of our raw, cold-pressed juices.

Honey is a thick, golden liquid produced by honeybees. The process begins when a bees visit a flower and collects a sugary juice from the blossom called nectar. The nectar is sucked out of the blossom using the honeybee’s tongue before it is then stored inside their honey stomach. Bees have a stomach for food and stomach specifically designed to store honey until it can return to the beehive. When the bee has a full load of nectar in its stomach, it will then fly back to the beehive where it passes the nectar on to another worker bee through its mouths. The next worker bee will chew on the nectar for about 30 minutes before passing it to the next honeybee.

Through this process of mouth-to-mouth transfer honey is created. A glandular secretion from the honeybee’s mouth is mixed in with the nectar, transforming it from nectar into honey. The secretion is rich in enzymes and provides the honey with royal jelly proteins and enriches it with monosaccharides, fatty acids and vitamins B, C and E. It takes at least eight bees all their life to make one spoonful of honey.

There are several types of honey and they each serve different purposes. Data report that honey contains several molecules, such as hydrogen peroxide, known for their antibacterial, wound healing, and anti-inflammatory properties. For this reason, honey is a common remedy for illnesses in which swallowing is difficult.

Clover honey is one of the most popular and widely available types of honey. It comes from white blossoms, most often from either Canada or New Zealand. It is light in color and ranges from white to amber and has a mild, slightly floral flavor. Clover honey is often added into pies, cakes, cookies and other pastries.

Manuka honey comes from a sacred tree in New Zealand called the Manuka tree. It contains significant levels of antibacterial properties and is potent enough to be therapeutic. One antibacterial component in manuka honey is methylglyoxal (MG). MG is a compound that is commonly used as a medicine to heal wounds, combat infections, heal sore throats, aide digestive illnesses and cure Staph infections and gingivitis. The taste of manuka honey is mildly sweet with a bitter aftertaste.

Sourwood honey is native to Brazil and grows in the Appalachian Mountains. It was once believed that sourwood honey could cure cancer, however, that claim has since been debunked. Sourwood honey is has a buttery and caramel-like flavor and smells of anise spices.

Buckwheat honey is a dark honey produced in New York, Ohio, Minnesota and Pennsylvania from buckwheat flowers. It has a strong molasses and malt flavor and is contains abundant minerals such as iron, manganese and zinc, which are involved in a number of vital functions in the human body.  Studies indicate that buckwheat honey and manuka honey share similar antibacterial activity, however, buckwheat honey contains more antioxidants compared to manuka honey. It is said, the darker the honey, the more antioxidants the honey contains.

Rosemary honey is light yellow and has a strong, sweet flavor, packing a powerful punch just as the herb rosemary does. It is known to assist with cardiovascular issues, liver function, digestion, high blood pressure and gout.

Dandelion honey is a vivid yellow honey that comes from the pollen of bright yellow dandelion greens. Dandelion greens are becoming increasingly popular due to the plethora of health benefits they provide. Reports show that dandelion greens are loaded with vitamins and nutrients that help purify blood, support healthy digestion and contribute to healthy skin and vision. A serving of dandelion greens exceed the recommended daily value of vitamin K and A. Additional vitamins and nutrients found in dandelion greens include vitamins C and B6, thiamin, riboflavin, calcium, iron, potassium, manganese, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, and copper.

Acacia honey comes from the Black Locust tree found in Europe and North America. It is light in color and mild in sweetness. Acacia honey is a popular sweetener for tea drinkers and when paired with herbal teas, it can contribute to relaxation. Studies have demonstrated the hypoglycemic effect of honey. Acacia honey, in particular, has a high concentration of fructose and a low sucrose level making it a novel anti-diabetic agent. Due to its antimicrobial properties, it is also known to help fight inflammation, improve liver function and aide intestinal tract function.

Eucalyptus honey comes from Australia and California. It is popularly consumed to relieve headaches and colds due to its cough-suppressing properties. Its flavor is more herbal than other types of honey with undertones of menthol.

Portland Juice Co.’s Sama and Tantra juices each have a dollop of raw honey added to them. We source our honey locally from Bee Local, which whole-heartedly believes in practicing sustainable beekeeping through the Pacific Northwest. Their award-winning honey is sustainably harvested, never heated, treated, blended or ultra-filtered.