How is honey made?
Bees prepare honey from
nectar which they collect from flowers and blossom of trees. They use it, as
well as pollen, as food for their young. Honey is a mix of natural sugars (80%),
water (18%) and minerals, vitamins, pollen, protein and amino acids (2%). Around
70% of honey's natural sugar content is made up of fructose and glucose
Varieties of Honey
Liquid or set?
Around 70% of honey's natural
sugar content is made up of fructose and glucose. Clear and set honeys can be
compared to ice and water - two different forms of the same thing. The more
glucose a honey contains, the more likely it is to crystallize and therefore
become a set honey. All honey starts off as liquid but will set eventually. The
speed at which this will happen depends on the sugars they contain and the
temperature at which they are kept. Both types are equally pure and contain no
additives and there is no difference in the taste or nutritional value of these
Is it true that honey
Heat is almost always
necessary to liquefy honey in order to filter it and actually get it into the
jar. Mild heating does not damage the natural enzymes or nutrients (bees
maintain a constant 94 degrees inside the hive). This is particularly important
with set honey which has a naturally high glucose content.
Does heating destroy
the natural flavor of honey?
Quick and/or gentle heating does not destroy the natural
flavor of the honey. Nothing is ever added or taken away from honey
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.
Honey in Cooking
You can use honey in cooking
instead of sugar. Because it is sweeter than sugar, you need to use less. The
first thing to consider when using honey to cook with is that it is judged to be
twice (2 X) as sweet as sugar. Therefore, to get the same sweetness as sugar,
you use one half as much as you would of sugar. Honey is about 18% water. If
you round that off to 20% you can easily figure that about 1/5th of the honey
you add to your recipe is water. Therefore, you cut back on the moisture
in your recipe by 20% (1/5th). Honey is hydroscopic (meaning it attracts
water) so it is good for baking cakes as it keeps them moist for longer. Look
on our recipe pages for some delicious recipes using
History and Heritage
The word ‘honey’ comes from
the Germanic word ‘hunaga’ which means golden. Flowering plants which produced
pollen and nectar had evolved by the Jurassic period about 150 million years
ago, but the bee did not appear until 100 million years later in Asia. To put
this into perspective, man has only existed for one or two million years.
Thousands of years ago honey was a source of food in times of famine but was
mainly regarded as a medicine, with almost religious or magical significance.
Honey was the only available source of sugar in countries where it was made. By
the time of the Roman Empire, honey production and beekeeping were well