The waxen walls of a bee’s honeycomb have a
gold-tinged translucence, are fragile and easily
crushed. Yet, left untouched, it can be perfectly
preserved. Edible honeycomb was found in the
tombs of the Pharaohs, over 3,000 years old.
Harvesting honey is as old as man's sweet tooth.
Archaeologists have unearthed in northern
Israel the ruins of a beekeeping operation 3000
years old. The hives, made from straw and
unbaked clay, are intact. They were stacked in
rows in a room. Along with the hives were
found honeycombs and beeswax.
Out of the 20,00 species of bees, 4 produce honey.
Bees actually have two stomachs; their honey crop
which they use like a nectar backpack and their
regular stomach. The honey crop holds almost 70
mg of nectar and when full, it weighs almost as much
as the bee does. Honeybees must visit between 100
and 1500 flowers in order to fill their honey crop.
Nectar is almost 80% water with some complex sugars. House bees add a salivary enzyme to the nectar to convert it to honey. When the moisture content has dropped to less than 20%, the bees move the ripe droplet of honey to a cell. When full of honey, the cell is capped with fresh wax. Honey that has been harvested by the beekeeper with the moisture content above 20%, is considered unripe and will ferment. Capped honey can also ferment if humidity is high. Harvested unripe honey can be manually dried by the beekeeper. Honey weighs about 12 lbs. per gallon.
Honey is classified according to source, color, and flavor. Nectar gathered from several sources is called wildflower honey. Color wise, honey ranges from white, light amber, dark amber, to straw colored. Flavor is mild in the lighter colored honeys; generally the darker the honey the stronger the flavor.
Honey is packaged either as liquid, comb, a combination of both, or creamed. Liquid honey has a tendency to eventually crystallize. In an effort to control this, some beekeepers make creamed honey. Creamed honey is the controlled granulation of honey and results in extremely small sugar crystals. The smaller the crystals the better the creamed honey. A good creamed honey is smooth, not grainy. It spreads like butter at room temperature, and unlike liquid honey, doesn't drip. Honey should be stored in air tight containers between
70 - 80 ° or below 52 °. While honey can be frozen, do not refrigerate.
Honey is a great source of antioxidants, potassium, calcium, minerals and 22 amino acids. Honey also has a much lower Glycemic Index than sugar and is more easily digested, letting your body absorb the nutrients. Table sugar has little value other than as a sweetener. When sugar cane is processed to become the white table sugar we all know and love, all of the inherent nutrition is stripped away. The sugar loses all of those vitamins, proteins and good-for-you enzymes. Since there is no processing for honey, it retains all of that.While honey has more calories per tablespoon (64) than the sugar (46), it is naturally more sweet than sugar- so you end up needing less.
Typical Raw Honey Contents:
Water 17%, Natural Sugars 79.5% ,Fructose 38%, Dextrose (Glucose) 31%, Maltose 7.3%, Sucrose 1.3%,
Other Sugars 1.5%,
A, Beta carotene, B1 Thiamin, B2 Riboflavin, B3 Niacin, B5 Pantothenic acid, B6 Pyridoxine, B8 Biotin,
B9 Folate, C, D, E, K
Calcium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium, Sodium, Sulfur, Phosphorous, Zinc
Tryptophan, Leucine, Lysine, Isoleucine, Methionine, Cystiene, Thresonine, Arginine, Phenylalanine, Histidine, Valine, Glutamic acid, Tyrosine, Glycine, Serine, Proline, Alanine, Aspartic acid, Hydroxyproline, Butyric acid
Consuming locally produced raw honey is said to have health benefits. Raw honey may reduce sensitivity to seasonal allergens due to the locally gathered pollen within it. Plus, we all know to put honey in our tea when we have sore throats, but most of us don’t stop to ask why. The unique chemical composition of low water content and relatively high acidic level in honey creates a low pH (3.2-4.5) environment that makes it very unfavourable for bacteria or other micro-organism to grow. Due to its naturally occurring antiseptic and antibacterial qualities, raw honey has been used for centuries as a topical application to help prevent infection. While this practice became less frequent with the discovery of antibiotics, honey is making a comeback in modern medicine, again being used as a topical dressing.
Imported honey may be impure and include questionable additives. Commercial processing of honey destroys its nutritional value. Buying raw, filtered honey locally insures you are receving pure honey with the best flavor and all its nutrition intact.
Ways in Which Temperatures Affect Honey:
"Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and health to the bones"
Proverbs 16: 24