Honey, the first natural sweetener discovered by humans, is the expression of terroir (combination of soil, aspect of the land, climate, flora and fauna). This natural sweetener is a reflection of the diversity of landscape and what flora and fauna it supports. At first there were wild honey hunters who skilfully harvested from giant, natural hives, high on trees, the sweet nectar.
Eventually, beekeeping evolved to a science with specially designed beehives and scientifically trained beekeepers to set up their production facilities in potentially suitable locations.
Honey contains fructose (38 per cent), glucose (31), sucrose (1), maltose (7), water (17), polyphenols, and proteins, small amounts of vitamins B and C, and high quality carbohydrates. Beekeepers strive to produce honey free from extraneous smells and impurities. Honey should be fresh tasting, stable, sweet but not cloying and crystallize in a natural way.
Bees are tireless workers, yet one bee in his lifetime produces one teaspoon of honey that is stored in meticulously constructed wax combs.
Honey can be organic or not. Organic honey originates in areas with organic crops. Monofloral honeys like acacia, blueberry, orange blossom, alfalfa, avocado, chestnut, French lavender, rosemary, thyme, heather, eucalyptus, bramble and others are much in demand.
Bees fed with sugar solutions produce inferior quality honey.
At the end of the season beekeepers collect the combs full of honey, which bees work to produce for the whole season. The honey is preserved for winter, processed (pasteurized), and packed. Pasteurization induces flavour loss.
Honey grades are A, B, and C
The following are officially recognized categories:
In Middle Eastern countries, honey is used in pastries i.e baklava, lokma, tulumba and others, but if honey is heated above 28 C it loses its antiseptic quality.
Major producers of honey are: China, Argentina, the U S A, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Germany, Canada, Turkey, Ukraine, France (mainly Corsica), New Zealand (mainly Tasmania), Greece, and Chile.
is a versatile food that can be used to sweeten tea, in cooking, to make mead, in medications and is a mild laxative.
By-products of honey are highly valued medicinal ingredients like royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and others commonly used in everyday life candles, honey vinegar, beeswax.