*Honey is a sweet, viscous, amber colored, natural liquid sweetener produced by the honey bees from the nectar of the flowers.
*Honey bees collect nectar from the flowers and store it in the bee hives as a food source.
*The production of honey is a complex process involving many steps. First, the nectar is ingested and regurgitated by the honey bees several times until it is partially digested and stored in the honeycomb. Then the water content of the honey is reduced by the bees fanning their wings over the honeycomb, which raises the sugar concentration in the honey, and prevents fermentation.
*Honey has a very distinctive taste and flavor, and can be replaced 1 cup to 1 cup for sugar in baking.
*The taste, flavor and composition of honey differ greatly depending on the type of flowers available to the bees that produced the honey.
*There are different grades of honey depending on how they are processed -
1. Comb honey – Honey sold in the original honeycomb.
2. Organic honey – Honey produced from honey bees that have not been treated with any kind of antibiotics or chemicals. This is very rare to find.
3. Raw honey – This is honey extracted from the honeycomb, settled, and strained. This might have small pieces of wax or pollen.
4. Strained honey – Honey strained through a mesh material to remove all particulate matter without removing the vitamins, minerals and enzymes. This may have a cloudy appearance.
5. Ultrafiltered honey – This is honey that has been filtered under high pressure and heated up to 170 F to remove all particulate matter. This is clear, has a long shelf life and does not easily crystallize.
6. Heat treated honey – This honey is treated with heat to reduce the moisture and any yeast cells present in them.
7. Unltrasonicated honey – This is honey exposed to ultrasonication, which is a non-thermal process to inactivate any yeast cells present in honey. This is clear, and does not crystallize or ferment easily.
*Buying and storage: Buy good quality unadulterated honey. Store it in an airtight container in a cool, dry, dark place away from light and heat. Do not need to refrigerate.
Is it raw?
Yes and No.
*Yes, generally honey is raw.
*No, sometimes honey in the supermarkets is heat processed to increase the shelf life. Make sure you read the label.
1. Honey has almost equal amounts of fructose and glucose, other carbohydrates, and trace amounts of minerals and vitamins. It may cause a sudden spike in blood sugar, so diabetics have to be cautious and use it in moderation.
2. Honey has been used extensively in herbal medicines for the treatment of many common illnesses. It has anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. It is also being studied for its anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties. All these properties are found in raw honey, and heat processing destroys the substances responsible for these properties.
3. Fresh raw honey available in summer months has friendly Lactobacilli that have therapeutic properties. Honey collected in the winter months does not have these useful bacteria.
4. Honey has 1:1 ratio of fructose and glucose and small amounts of sucrose, this combination of sugars is shown to improve blood sugar control in mild diabetes and Type I diabetes.
5. When applied topically, honey acts as an antiseptic therapeutic agent and improves wound healing, burns, and ulcers.
6. Honey has antioxidants that scavenge the free radicals from the body. Regular consumption of honey is shown to enhance the natural immunity.
7. Honey also reduces the LDL and total cholesterol in the blood, thus reducing the risk for cardiovascular diseases.
8. Taking honey orally effectively relieves symptoms of cough and sore throat.
9. Honey also relieves congestion in the upper respiratory tract.
10. Honey taken along with ginger improves digestion.
11. Gargling with honey helps fight bad breath, and inhibits the spread of infection causing bacteria in the gums.