Honey is produced by bees collecting nectar for use as sugars consumed to support metabolism of muscle activity during foraging or to be stored as a long-term food supply. During foraging, bees access part of the nectar collected to support metabolic activity of flight muscles, with the majority of collected nectar destined for regurgitation, digestion, and storage as honey. In cold weather or when other food sources are scarce, adult and larval bees use stored honey as food.
By contriving for bee swarms to nest in human-made hives, people have been able to semi domesticate the insects and harvest excess honey. Honey is collected from wild bee colonies or from domesticated beehives. On average, a hive will produce about 29 kilograms (65 lb) of honey per year.
How is honey collected?
To safely collect honey from a hive, beekeepers typically pacify the bees using a bee smoker. The smoke triggers a feeding instinct (an attempt to save the resources of the hive from a possible fire), making them less aggressive, and obscures the pheromones the bees use to communicate. The honeycomb is removed from the hive and the honey may be extracted from it either by crushing or by using a honey extractor. The honey is then usually filtered to remove beeswax and other debris.
Preservation of honey
Honey is suitable for long-term storage, and is easily assimilated even after long preservation. Honey, and objects immersed in honey, have been preserved for centuries. The key to preservation is limiting access to humidity. In its cured state, honey has a sufficiently high sugar content to inhibit fermentation. If exposed to moist air, its hydrophilic properties pull moisture into the honey, eventually diluting it to the point that fermentation can begin.
Adulteration of honey
Honey is sometimes adulterated by the addition of other sugars, syrups, or compounds to change its flavor or viscosity, reduce cost, or increase the fructose content to stave off crystallization.
In modern times the most common adulterant became clear, almost-flavorless corn syrup. The adulterated mixture can be very difficult to distinguish from pure honey.
According to the Codex Alimentarius of the United Nations, any product labeled as “honey” or “pure honey” must be a wholly natural product, although labeling laws differ between countries. In the United States, according to the National Honey Board supervised by the United States Department of Agriculture, “honey stipulates a pure product that does not allow for the addition of any other substance… this includes, but is not limited to, water or other sweeteners”
USE OF HONEY
Honey can be used in –
- As a spread on bread
- As an addition to various beverages such as tea
- As a sweetener in some commercial beverages.
One hundred grams of honey provides about 1,270 kJ (304 kcal) of energy with no significant amounts of essential nutrients Composed of 17% water and 82% carbohydrates.
honey has low content of fat, dietary fiber and protein.
OTHER USES OF HONEY
- Wounds and burns– Honey is a popular treatment for burns and other skin injuries. Preliminary evidence suggests that it aids in the healing of partial thickness burns 4–5 days faster than other dressings, and moderate evidence suggests that post-operative infections treated with honey heal faster and with fewer adverse events than with antiseptic and gauze. The evidence for the use of honey in various other wound treatments is of low quality, and firm conclusions cannot be drawn.
- Antibiotic– Honey has long been used as a topical antibiotic by practitioners of traditional and herbal medicine. Honey’s antibacterial effects were first demonstrated by the Dutch scientist Bernardus Adrianus van Ketel in 1892. Since then, numerous studies have shown that honey has broad-spectrum antibacterial activity against Gram- positive and Gram-negative bacteria, although potency varies widely between different honeys.
honey does not cause increased weight gain.
Honey is generally safe when taken in typical food amounts.
honey may be useful for controlling side effects of radiation therapy or chemotherapy used to treat cancer.
Giving honey is considered safe in infants from one year of age.
Author & Founder Healthfitness102