Honey and Temperature
Date: December 2007
At what temperature does the nature of the honey denature, and
destroy the enzymes and remove the volatiles and pollen particles?
The honey bees keep the temperature of their brood nest at just under 100
degrees. Many figure that honey should not be raised above this temperature
to preserve many of its good qualities. If honey is heated above that,
there is disagreement on what the temperature is at which the helpful
enzymes are damaged. It is likely in the 120 to 140 range.
Honey distributed by large distributors and sold in larger stores is usually
heated to 180 degrees. This is to dissolve even the smallest crystals that
might act as "seeds" that promote crystallization. Although crystallization
does not harm the honey in any way, it is considered less desirable (in the
US but not necessarily abroad). The enzymes that are not visible are
sacrificed for the sake of "good" looks.
You mention pollen. That is not removed by heating. It is remove when
honey is filtered through very fine filters. Again, large bottlers filter
out all these small particles. Bottlers are afraid the buyer will see
specks and reject the product. Many people wish to buy honey that contains
If you want honey because it is sweet, buy it anywhere. If you desire the
pollen and enzymes, buy from a smaller beekeeper and ask how they process
their honey - no heat and limited filtering is best.
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Update: June 2012