Honey is a sweet, thick sugary solution made by bees. The composition of honey consists of varying proportions of fructose, sucrose and glucose, water, oil and special enzymes produced by bees. (Glucose, sucrose and fructose are types of sugar)

The first step in making honey begins when field bees fly from flower to flower collecting the nectar that a flower provides. With their tongues, the field bees suck out the nectar and store it in sacs within their bodies. After filling their sacs with these sweet juices, the field bees fly back to their bee hive and regurgitate the stored nectar into the mouths of house bees.

These house bees are assigned the job of adding enzymes from their bodies to the nectar. The enzymes unchain a series of chemical reactions that ripens the nectar and evaporate its water, in order to turn it into honey, once it´s stored in a honeycomb.

A global commodity

Honey is produced all over the world, from the heat of the tropics to the crisp cold of Scandinavia, Canada and Siberia. The warm climate of equatorial countries allows honey to be produced for most of the year, whilst beekeepers in Finland have a short season of just 2-3 weeks each year! The distinct aroma, flavour and colour is determined by the type of flower from which the bee collects the nectar. Some honey closely mimics the characteristics of the herb or tree whose flower the bee has visited, such as Orange Blossom and Lime Blossom, or Rosemary and Thyme.

Most honey comes from bees foraging on many different floral sources, and are known as polyfloral. However some plants provide enough nectar during their short flowering season, and are so irresistible to the local bee population, that a hive can yield honey from one single type of flower. This honey, known as monofloral, is keenly sought by beekeepers.

Honey type Country(ies) of origin
Apple blossom UK
Acacia Eastern Europe (Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria)
Borage UK/ New Zealand
Cherry blossom UK
Clover Canada/ New Zealand
Eucalyptus Australia
Hawthorn UK
Heather UK
Lavender France/ Spain
Leatherwood Tasmania
Lime blossom China/ UK/ Poland
Orange blossom Spain/ Mexico
Rosemary France/ Spain
Strawberry clover Australia
Wild thyme Greece/ New Zealand/ France/ Spain
Sunflower France/ Spain

A Natural conservant

Honey does not spoil. This is because the evaporation of the water from the nectar renders a mositure of about 14 %, and as long it doesn´t exceed 18 % virtually no organism can successfully multiply to significant amounts in honey. Nevertheless, it is not advisable to feed honey to infants that hasn´t totally devoloped it´s immune sistem, because enough bacteria survive to make honey dangerous, specially the bacteria that produces botulism.

Tips

  • Bees can fly for up to six miles, although one or two is more common.
  • Bees collect pollen and nectar in the spring when most plants are in bloom.
  • Once they have collected the pollen and nectar, they process and store honey in honey combs in the beehive.
  • Honey is one of the easiest foods to digest.
  • Honey is used in many cough syrups because its smooth, thick texture soothes throats.
  • As a result of honey’s unique ability to readily absorb air, it is often used as a moistening agent in baking.

Health Benefits

Honey has long been recognized as a natural remedy and has been used as a medicine for thousands of years. It has antiseptic properties and can be used as a remedy for ailments from sore throats to burns and cuts.

  • For a soothing drink for sore throats, mix honey with the juice of half a lemon, add boiling water and stir.
  • If you’re feeling low, try a spoonful of honey as a pick-me-up. The fructose and glucose in honey are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream.

Naturally, it is widely used in the kitchen, but that is another chapter.

No related content found.