We pride ourselves in delivering unfiltered raw honey, just as the bees intended. Our simple process ensures that every bottle of Sandt’s honey is all genuine, pure honey.
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The first step starts with the beekeeper before arriving at Sandt’s. The beekeeper first cuts or scrapes away the wax cappings of the honey comb, and then places the comb in a cylindrical machine that spins rapidly, literally throwing honey out of the comb by centrifugal force. Once the honey is removed, the beekeeper may or may not allow the honey to sit for a time so that larger particles settle out before it is put into large containers, most often 55 gallon drums.
The honey that Sandt’s receives may be liquid, partly solid, or completely solid. In order to remove the honey from its container, clean it of foreign matter and bottle it, the honey must first return to a completely liquid state. While all honey packers must heat the honey to liquefy it, the methods employed to heat and clean the honey can vary significantly – changing the honey’s true natural composition.
Over a period of two to three days, Sandt’s heats its honey to no higher than 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature is sufficient to dissolve crystals and destroy yeasts that can cause fermentation, but it is not so high that it will alter the honey’s natural flavors nor harm its mineral and nutritional content. The heating process also slows – although it does not prevent indefinitely – honey’s tendency to recrystallize.
After liquefying, Sandt’s allows the honey to flow through a stainless steel mesh to strain out any foreign particles, but not the pollen, enzymes, anti-oxidants or vitamins (i.e. the “good stuff”). Once the honey is strained, it is poured into bottles and labeled to make it ready to send to our customers to enjoy.
Many commercial packers take their process a step further by filtering their honey, primarily to reduce the tendency for honey to naturally re-crystallize. Filtering necessitates heating honey to higher temperatures, approximately 165 degrees Fahrenheit, and processing it through a very fine filtering material – a food grade version of diatomaceous earth. It is the same material used to clean swimming pool water. For a clean swimming pool, diatomaceous earth is great for removing particles down to 3-5 microns, well below what the naked eye can see.
When honey is filtered using diatomaceous earth, all the “good stuff”—the pollen, enzymes, antioxidants, and vitamins— is removed. One might as well be eating processed corn syrup. Unlike the majority of honey sitting on store shelves today, we at Sandt’s do not alter any of our honey. Nor do we add extenders, additives or anything else. Every bottle of Sandt’s honey is genuine, pure honey.
Because bacteria cannot live in honey, it will not spoil and needs no refrigeration, which merely hastens granulation. Optimally, honey should be kept covered in a dry place at room temperature.
Even when properly stored, honey will begin to recrystallize at some time – usually six months to a year after bottling, depending on the honey variety. Again, this is completely normal – the honey is perfectly fine to eat. The honey is easily reliquefied by placing the container in hot – but not boiling – water or in an oven set no higher than 140 degrees. However, please be careful not to overheat the honey and melt the plastic container.
Granulation, or crystallization, is a natural phenomenon that does not harm the honey in any way. Likewise, the white foam often seen around the rim of the honey bottle is not cause for concern – it is not mold. The foam is a result of the bottling process.
Sandt’s goes above and beyond the normal industry standards (mandatory inspections from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and U.S. Food and Drug Administration) to ensure that every ounce of honey we process is of the highest quality. Short of actually observing the beekeepers gather honey directly from their hives, Sandt’s takes every precaution it can to ensure 100% pure honey is being procured for the enjoyment of its customers.
Completely volunteer; rigorous third party food safety audit
Most honey packers in the industry do not bother with this, however, we feel it’s necessary to benchmark our food handling practices against the best food safety standards – providing further comfort to our customers.
Completely volunteer; periodic, unannounced onsite inspections
All of Sandt’s honey is kosher certified by the largest and most recognizable kosher certification organization in the country, OU (Orthodox Union).
We guarantee the natural integrity of our honey. We do this by having our honey analyzed by the leading firms in the honey testing industry: Quality Services International GmbH (QSI) and Intertek Food Services GmbH (Intertek). In addition, we select random samples of our honey, even honey previously analyzed by QSI and Intertek, for SIRA (Stable Isotope Ratio Analysis) testing to determine if there has been any C4 additions (i.e. corn syrup and or sugarcane) adulterating the honey.