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Honey

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Honey is a sweet food made by certain insects using nectar from flowers. The variety produced by honey bees (the genus Apis) is the one most commonly referred to and is the type of honey collected by beekeepers and consumed by humans. Honey produced by other bees and insects has distinctly different properties.

 honey

Honey bees form nectar into honey by a process of regurgitation and store it as a food source in wax honeycombs inside the beehive. Beekeeping practices encourage overproduction of honey so that the excess can be taken without endangering the bee colony.

Honey gets its sweetness from the  fructose and glucose and has approximately the same relative sweetness as that of granulated sugar  It has attractive chemical properties for baking, and a distinctive flavor which leads some people to prefer it over sugar and other sweeteners. However, honey sometimes contains dormant endospores of the bacteria which can be dangerous to infants as the endospores can transform into toxin-producing bacteria in the infant's immature intestinal tract, leading to illness and even death

Honey has a long history as a comestible and is used in various foods and beverages as a sweetener and flavoring. It also has a role in religion and symbolism. Flavors of honey vary based on the nectar source, and various types and grades of honey are available. It is also used in various medicinal traditions to treat ailments.

The main uses of honey are in cooking, baking, as a spread on breads, and as an addition to various beverages such as tea and as a sweetener in some commercial beverages. According to international food regulations, "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". Honey barbue and honey mustard are common and popular sauce flavors.

Nutrition

Honey is a mixture of sugars and other compounds. With respect to carbohydrates, honey is mainly fructose (about 38.5%) and glucose (about 31.0%), making it similar to the synthetically produced inverted sugar syrup which is approximately 48% fructose, 47% glucose, and 5% sucrose. Honey's remaining carbohydrates include maltose, sucrose, and other complex carbohydrates. Honey contains trace amounts of several vitamins and minerals. As with all nutritive sweeteners, honey is mostly sugars and is not a significant source of vitamins or minerals. Honey also contains tiny amounts of several compounds thought to function as antioxidants, including chrysin, pinobanksin, vitamin C, catalase, and pinocembrin. The specific composition of any batch of honey depends on the flowers available to the bees that produced the honey.

Storage

Because of its unique composition and the complex processing of nectar by the bees which changes its chemical properties, honey is suitable for long term storage and is easily assimilated even after long preservation. History knows examples of honey preservation for decades, and even centuries. The main goal is to prevent the fermentation of the honey. Honey should also be protected from oxidation. The ideal example is the natural process of bees sealing of the honey in honeycomb cells with wax caps. The best honey is in the uncut honey combs. After being removed from the comb, honey is very vulnerable, and the main losses of quality take place during preservation and distribution.

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