Bee honey is one of the healthiest foods and is recognized for the many benefits it brings to the body. We dedicate a complete article to it and teach you how to distinguish natural honey from that with synthetic ingredients.
- Honey, a food and a remedy used for millennia
- Types of honey and how to obtain it
- The nutritional values of honey
- Benefits and uses of bee honey
- Contraindications and risks of excessive honey consumption
Bee honey is a food used in almost every world for thousands of years. It is a viscous, sweet liquid produced by bees to feed. It was first used in religious rituals, but later it was used in food, cosmetics and natural medicine.
Annually, over 1.5 million tons of bee honey are produced worldwide (1.78 million tons in 2016), the largest producers being China, Turkey and the United States. Our country is among the first producers of bee honey in the European Union, with an average annual production between 22,000 and 24,000 tons.
Although we produce a significant amount of honey, we are not big consumers of this product. Honey consumption in our country is 500-600 grams per capita per year, three times lower than the European average. Honey is one of the healthiest foods, its benefits being doubled by the sweet taste and the many ways it can be used.
Types of honey and how to obtain it
Honey can be of several types, depending on the origin, the flowers from which the nectar was collected, as well as the way of obtaining it. Depending on these aspects, bee honey can be:
Flower honey – it is also called floral honey and is made by bees by processing nectar and pollen from flowers;
Hand honey – also called extrafloral honey or forest honey, is made from other substances that come from plants (sap from the leaves of trees such as pine, spruce or oak). It is darker in color than flower honey.
After the flowers from which the nectar was collected:
- Polyflower honey;
- Acacia honey;
- Lime honey;
- Rapeseed honey;
- Manuka honey;
- Tualang honey.
By extraction mode:
- Extraction of honeycomb pieces;
- Drained freely from the honeycomb;
- Extract by centrifugation;
- Honeycomb pressing;
How bee honey is produced
Honey is produced through a complex process, which begins with the collection of pollen and manna from flowers and trees. Bees travel hundreds of kilometers every day to bring these raw materials to the hive. Mixed with the bee’s saliva, but also with other substances (enzymes and amino acids), then passed through the same process by other bees, the honey becomes more and more viscous.
Subsequently, the honey is stored in the honeycomb cells and left in the air for a while, so that the water evaporates. Finally, these cells are sealed with wax caps.
How to choose bee honey
Bee honey is a very popular product, and this causes some producers to resort to various tricks through which they can get more honey. There are several ways in which the purity of honey is altered. The addition of various types of syrup, such as industrial glucose, is the most common trick used by bee honey producers. Sometimes flavors are added, so that the honey tastes like acacia or lime honey, without it being produced from these sources.
One aspect that we are often guided by to choose pure honey, 100% natural, is the crystallization of honey, a phenomenon also known as “sugaring”. It is, indeed, an aspect that you can follow (natural rapeseed honey is sweetened in a few days after extraction), but crystallization is difficult in some types of honey (acacia or hand honey) and we can not wait that long. long until we are convinced that it is natural. Other ways to test honey to see if it is pure are:
Bubble test – when we turn the jar, the air bubble that forms in the natural honey moves slowly and does not break into other smaller bubbles, it remains intact;
Dissolution test in water – pure bee honey is harder to dissolve in water than with various additives. Put a little honey in a glass of water at room temperature and observe how long it dissolves. If it lasts a few seconds, then it is a counterfeit honey.
Honey price – honey production is a complex, long process. For this reason, the price of natural honey is also high. A low price can often hide substances from another source.
Label reading – never buy honey (and no other product, by the way) without reading the label. Manufacturers are required by law to write down all the ingredients, and if tests are done and it is found that they have not mentioned certain ingredients, they receive hefty fines.