Generally, honey is bottled in its familiar liquid form, but it is sold in other forms, and can be subjected to a variety of processing methods.
Crystallized honey occurs when some of the glucose content has spontaneously crystallized from solution as the monohydrate. It is also called “granulated honey” or “candied honey”. Honey that has crystallized (or commercially purchased crystallized) can be returned to a liquid state by warming.
Pasteurized honey has been heated in a pasteurization process which requires temperatures of 161 °F (72 °C) or higher. Pasteurization destroys yeast cells. It also liquefies any microcrystals in the honey, which delays the onset of visible crystallization.
However, excessive heat exposure also results in product deterioration, as it increases the level of hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) and reduces enzyme (e.g. diastase) activity. Heat also affects appearance (darkens the natural honey color), taste, and fragrance.
Raw honey is as it exists in the beehive or as obtained by extraction, settling, or straining, without adding heat (although some honey that has been “minimally processed” is often labeled as raw honey). Raw honey contains some pollen and may contain small particles of wax.
Strained honey has been passed through a mesh material to remove particulate material (pieces of wax, propolis, other defects) without removing pollen, minerals, or enzymes.
Filtered honey of any type has been filtered to the extent that all or most of the fine particles, pollen grains, air bubbles, or other materials normally found in suspension, have been removed.The process typically heats honey to 150–170 °F (66–77 °C) to more easily pass through the filter.Filtered honey is very clear and will not crystallize as quickly, making it preferred by the supermarket trade.
Ultrasonicated honey has been processed by ultrasonication, a nonthermal processing alternative for honey. When honey is exposed to ultrasonication, most of the yeast cells are destroyed. Those cells that survive sonication generally lose their ability to grow, which reduces the rate of honey fermentation substantially.
Ultrasonication also eliminates existing crystals and inhibits further crystallization in honey. Ultrasonically aided liquefaction can work at substantially lower temperatures around 95 °F (35 °C) and can reduce liquefaction time to less than 30 seconds.
Creamed honey, also called whipped honey, spun honey, churned honey, honey fondant, and (in the UK) set honey, has been processed to control crystallization. Creamed honey contains a large number of small crystals, which prevent the formation of larger crystals that can occur in unprocessed honey. The processing also produces a honey with a smooth, spreadable consistency.
Dried honey has the moisture extracted from liquid honey to create completely solid, nonsticky granules. This process may or may not include the use of drying and anticaking agents. Dried honey is used in baked goods, and to garnish desserts.
Comb honey is still in the honeybees’ wax comb. It is traditionally collected using standard wooden frames in honey supers. The frames are collected and the comb is cut out in chunks before packaging.
As an alternative to this labor-intensive method, plastic rings or cartridges can be used that do not require manual cutting of the comb, and speed packaging. Comb honey harvested in the traditional manner is also referred to as “cut-comb honey”.
Chunk honey is packed in widemouth containers consisting of one or more pieces of comb honey immersed in extracted liquid honey.
Honey decoctions are made from honey or honey byproducts which have been dissolved in water, then reduced (usually by means of boiling). Other ingredients may then be added. (For example, abbamele has added citrus.) The resulting product may be similar to molasses.
Baker’s honey is outside the normal specification for honey, due to a “foreign” taste or odor, or because it has begun to ferment or has been overheated. It is generally used as an ingredient in food processing. Additional requirements exist for labeling baker’s honey, including that it may not be sold labelled simply as “honey”.