Kosher honey is any raw honey that is 100 percent natural and free of additional ingredients. The fact that pure honey is considered kosher is frequently a source of much confusion, particularly for those who are just learning about what foods are kosher and why. Confusion over kosher honey stems from the fact that bees are considered non-kosher, or unclean animals. Generally, if the insect or animal is impure or unclean, then the food that comes from the insect is also impure or unclean. This does not apply when it comes to bees and honey, because the honey is not actually produced by the bee.
In understanding kosher honey, it is necessary to understand how bees produce honey. The physical makeup of bees provides them with two stomachs. One of these stomachs gives the bees the ability to store the nectar that they take from the blossoms of plants. This stomach is referred to as the honey sac or the honey stomach. Blossoms that provide the bees with the nectar for their honey sacs are of the Earth and are considered kosher.
When the honey sac is full an enzyme is released and the nectar begins to break down into complex sugars. Once processed, the nectar is then taken to the honeycomb where the process of turning the nectar into honey is completed. The fact that honey is not actually a product of the bee or the bee's body is what makes it a kosher product.
Although it is not necessary for 100 percent pure honey to be certified, some people may prefer to purchase certified kosher honey. Honey that is sold as certified has undergone a specific processing procedure and is packaged in a manner that is in compliance with Jewish regulations for kosher food. A kosher certification organization or agency then certifies the product.
Honey turns into a non-kosher food when other ingredients are added, such as corn syrup or if the honey is altered in any way. Flavored honey is not typically considered kosher if there have been artificial, non-kosher flavorings or dye added to the honey. This does not mean that all flavored honeys are non-kosher. Certain types of honey will be labeled with the name of the blossoms that the nectar came from, such as orange blossom honey. For this reason it is important to check the label prior to purchasing any type of honey that has not been certified as kosher honey, to ensure that it is raw and pure.