Local honey is not vegan, but you’ll find many vegans eating local honey. The main reason is that local honey is produced by small farms. These beekeepers don’t exploit bees like commercial farms.
What is Local Honey?
Local honey is often described as honey taken from the hive in the spring season. It is the leftover honey after bees have already completed their winter requirement. This is excess honey and does not affect or starve bees.
Vegans don’t eat anything made from or made by animals. These include meat, dairy, eggs, and honey. However, some vegans are okay with foods made from insects such as bees. It depends on your preferences and how strictly you follow veganism.
Why is Local Honey better than Commercial Honey?
Local honey is produced by small-scale beekeepers. The bees in such farms are not exposed to cruel practices that most commercial farms use to increase honey production. Let’s see why local honey is better than commercially produced honey.
Wing Clipping: Commercial farms clip the queen bee’s wings to prevent her from swarming and starting a new hive. It is viewed as a cruel practice by most vegans.
Honey Substitutes: Many commercial beekeepers replace the honey they remove from hives with substitutes such as high fructose corn syrup. This damages bees’ health as honey is necessary for bees to stray strong and live. Many vegans view eating honey as the equivalent of killing bees. Humans can survive without honey, but bees cannot.
Pesticide Use: Honeybee colonies are often sprayed with pesticides to stop mites and fungi from damaging bee hives. These pesticides are harmful to bees and often lead to colony collapse.
Hive Burning: Beekeepers burn the hives affected with diseases such as American Foul Brood. It is a contagious disease, and burning the affected hives stops it from spreading. Most vegans consider it a cruel and unnecessary practice, as regular monitoring can prevent such diseases.
Vegan Substitutes for Honey
There are many plant-based vegan substitutes for honey. The options discussed below are 100% vegan, cruelty-free, and taste great. However, since they are all sweet and some are processed, you must eat them in moderation.
Agave Nectar: It is derived from the agave plant and processed to give it a texture and taste similar to regular honey.
Maple Syrup: Maple syrup is the most common honey and refined sugar vegan substitute. It is made from maple tree sap and contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Barley Malt Syrup: Made from barley sprout, it is a dark brown, thick, and sticky sweetener with a distinctive malty odor.
Blackstrap Molasses: It is made by boiling sugar cane juice 3-4 times. Blackstrap molasses has a thick texture and is rich in calcium and iron.
Date Syrup: Date syrup has a thick texture as it is made by blending boiled dates with water.
Brown Rice Syrup: It is another common plant-based sweetener. Brown rice malt, also known as rice syrup or rice malt, is made by exposing brown rice to enzymes that break down the starch in the rice.
Bee-Free Honey: Many brands are now making bee-free honey. They take regular honey DNA and multiply it to produce bee-free honey. The end product’s texture and taste are similar to regular honey.
Can I make Vegan Honey at Home?
Yes. You can make vegan honey at home using common ingredients like lemon juice, apple juice, sugar, and chamomile tea. It is better to use organic sugar as refined sugar involves the use of animal bone char.
Manuka honey is not vegan, but it is better than other types of honey because it is a monofloral honey. Bees collect honey before consuming it, and the collection process doesn’t kill or harm bees but still exploits bees.
No. Wildflower is not vegan. Wildflower is made when bees collect honey from different types of wildflowers.
No. Clover honey is not vegan. It is made by honeybees that extract nectar from clover plants.
Acacia honey is not vegan. Acacia honey, like all other types of honey, is made by bees that extract nectar from the acacia flower. Acacia honey is famous for its unique taste and transparent color.