This great-tasting, all natural sweetener is loaded with nature’s goodness. Easy to digest, honey is a quick and natural energy source for any occasion!
Honey gets its sweetness from the monosaccharides fructose and glucose, and has approximately the same relative sweetness as granulated sugar. It has attractive chemical properties for baking and a distinctive flavour that leads some people to prefer it over sugar and other sweeteners. Most microorganisms do not grow in honey because of its low water activity of 0.6.
Generally, honey is bottled in its familiar liquid form. However, honey is sold in other forms, and can be subjected to a variety of processing methods.
- Pasteurized honey is honey that has been heated in a pasteurization process which requires temperatures of 71˚C or higher. Pasteurization destroys yeast cells. It also liquefies any microcrystals in the honey, which delays the onset of visible crystallization.
- Raw honey is honey as it exists in the beehive or as obtained by extraction, settling or straining, without adding heat. Raw honey contains some pollen and may contain small particles of wax. Some allergy sufferers try using raw, local honey to build up a tolerance to the pollen in the air. However, hay fever is typically caused by pollen in the air, which is mostly from trees, weeds, and grass, rather than flowers.
- Strained honey has been passed through a mesh material to remove particulate material (pieces of wax, propolis, other defects) without removing pollen, minerals or enzymes.
- Creamed honey has been processed to control crystallization. Creamed honey contains a large number of small crystals, which prevent the formation of larger crystals that can occur in unprocessed honey. The processing also produces a honey with a smooth, spreadable consistency.
- Dried honey has the moisture extracted from liquid honey to create completely solid, nonsticky granules. This process may or may not include the use of drying and anticaking agents. Dried honey is used in baked goods and to garnish desserts.
- Comb honey is honey still in the honeybees' wax comb. The comb is cut out in chunks before packaging.
- Crystallized honey is honey in which some of the glucose content has spontaneously crystallized from solution as the monohydrate. Also called "granulated honey" or "candied honey." Honey that has crystallized (or commercially purchased crystallized) can be returned to a liquid state by warming.
Bee pollen is a mass of pollen that has been packed by worker honeybees into granules with added honey or nectar. Bee pollen is found in brood cells, chambers of wood and mud created by female ground-nesting bees. When the pollen ball is complete, a single female lays an egg on top of the pollen ball, and seals the brood cell. Pollen balls are harvested as food for humans. Bee pollen is sometimes referred to as ambrosia.
Like royal jelly, honey, and propolis, other well-known honey bee products, the exact chemical composition depends on the plants the worker bees gathering the pollen from, and can vary from hour to hour, day to day, week to week, colony to colony, even in the same apiary, with no two samples of bee pollen exactly identical.
Foraging bees bring pollen back to the hive, where they pass it off to other worker bees, who pack the pollen into cells with their heads. During the packing, the pollen is mixed with nectar, enzymes, fungi, and bacterial organisms. Bee pollen is the primary source of protein for the hive.
The study of pollens and spores in raw honey (melissopalynology) can determine floral sources of honey. Bees carry an electrostatic charge whereby they attract other particles in addition to pollen, which become incorporated into their honey; the honey can be analysed by the techniques of melissopalynology in area environmental studies of radioactive particles, dust and particulate pollution.
Propolis is a dark, sticky, protective substance gathered and used by bees to keep their hives clean. The bees collect this propolis on their foraging trips from plant secretions, resins and gums which are naturally found in the buds and leaves of flowers and shrubs and are liquid. They store it in their pollen sacs. On returning to the hive, the house bees remove these resins from the foraging bee’s hind legs and using their tongues pack the propolis resin throughout the hive dwelling.
Propolis is used to seal cracks and openings in the hive and, in particular, the bees will close up the hive entrance if it is too large or if they need to reduce the ventilation gaps in the hive. In winter bees will reduce the hive entrance with propolis and then open it up again in summer by chewing away the excess propolis. It is also the bees’ anti bacterial agent used to cover virtually the entire area of the hive. The combs are disinfected and polished using propolis – hence the reason why new comb changes from white and yellow to dark brown after many seasons of use.
In the wild, bees will also use propolis to cover the outer sides of the comb area to protect it, and cover over decaying insects and small rodents which have penetrated the colony’s space to avoid bacterial contamination within the hive.
Propolis does have medical value for humans and has been commercially rendered into lotions, creams, tablets and “propolis tincture” as a homeopathic remedy.
Royal jelly is secreted from the glands in the heads of worker bees, and is fed to all bee larvae, whether they are destined to become drones (males), workers (sterile females), or queens (fertile females). After three days, the drone and worker larvae are no longer fed with royal jelly, but queen larvae continue to be fed this special substance throughout their development. It is harvested by humans by stimulating colonies with movable frame hives to produce queen bees.
The component of royal jelly that causes a bee to develop into a queen appears to be a single protein that has been called royalactin. Only jelly laced with royalactin caused the larvae to become queens.
The honey bee queens and workers represent one of the most striking examples of environmentally controlled phenotypic polymorphism. In spite of their identical clonal nature at the DNA level, they are strongly differentiated across a wide range of characteristics including anatomical and physiological differences, longevity of the queen, and reproductive capacity.[
Studies have shown that Royal Jelly can help support the immune system, increase energy, and benefit the skin and hair.
Honey bees use the beeswax to build honeycomb cells in which their young are raised with honey and pollen cells being capped for storage. For the wax-making bees to secrete wax, the ambient temperature in the hive must be 33 to 36 °C
For thousands of years, beeswax has had a wide variety of applications; it has been found in the tombs of Egypt, in wrecked Viking ships, and in Roman ruins. Beeswax never goes bad and can be heated and reused. The three main types of beeswax products are yellow, white, and beeswax absolute. Yellow beeswax is the crude product obtained from the honeycomb, white beeswax is bleached yellow beeswax, and beeswax absolute is yellow beeswax treated with alcohol.
The use of beeswax has become widespread and varied. Some examples:
Production of food; it is used as a coating for cheese; by sealing out the air, protection is given against spoilage (mold growth). Beeswax may also be used as a food additive, in small quantities acting as a (glazing agent), which serves to prevent water loss, or used to provide surface protection for some fruits. Soft gelatin capsules and tablet coatings may also use beeswax. Is also a common ingredient of natural chewing gum.
Skin care and cosmetics; a German study found beeswax to be superior to similar barrier creams (usually mineral oil-based creams such as petroleum jelly), when used according to its protocol. Beeswax is also an important ingredient in cosmetics and hair products, which make hair look sleek and shiny.
Candle-making; has long involved the use of beeswax, which is highly flammable. In addition, this material traditionally was prescribed (in large part), for the making of various religious candles
Other products using beeswax are as diverse as; an ingredient in surgical bone wax, which is used during surgery to control bleeding from bone surfaces; shoe polish and furniture polish, organic surfboard wax, Cutler's resin, an adhesive used to glue handles onto cutlery knives and batik dying.