Monday, November 29, 2010

Hi! Honey!

I am doing some sweet talk here, literally.

Many people know honey comes from bees but few know much beyond that. Interestingly, despite that brief understanding, many think that honey is good for them, somehow.

If you have always wanted to know a little more, this post is for you.

What is honey?

Honey is a gift of nature: The flowers offer their nectar and the bees make the honey. This manufacturing process is nothing short of amazing. (Read 'How do honeybees make honey?')

The secret of honey is long known and mankind learnt how to produce it more than 2000 years ago. It was used as food, medicine and preservative for the dead. (Read 'Honey as a natural cure')

Honey never goes bad and many believe it is the only food that does not spoil. It was reported that archeologists discovered honey in a 2000-year old Egyptian tomb and found it to be as good as new.

Types of honey
  1. Comb honey - This is honey found in beeswax comb in the same way bees would have stored it.
  2. Liquid honey - The color may vary depending on the variety of flowers.
  3. Creamy honey - This is also known as granulated honey.
  4. Chunk honey - This is comb honey in a jar filled with liquid honey.
Beware of 'the best deal in town'

Naturally, consumers are attracted to 'good buys'. When you find a cheaper option, do not be trigger happy. Some honey contains substance other than the pure stuff made by the bees. More often than not, when you pay less, you actually get less.

Read the label

When the jars says 'pure honey', the contents usually turn out otherwise. It is always advisable to read the nutritional label. Honey sold in the stores is often added with substances such as corn syrup or starch.

You can test the 'purity' of honey by dissolving it in water. As a rough guide, it takes more effort to dissolve pure honey compared to syrup. However, other factors such honey varieties could affect the results too.

Go for trusted brands

This does not sound like a clever advice. However, when all else fails, this gives you the best bet.

Not pure? So what?

It is alright to consume honey with added substance. It usually does not make you sick. It just brings you less nutritional benefits.

How to store honey?

Even though honey does not spoil, it is given a shelf life for commercial reasons. I believe no one feels easy eating honey that is decades old.

Honey tends to absorb moisture from the air and that will reduce its quality. Consumers are often advised to store honey at room temperature. That is not so helpful because room temperature varies from place to place. Wherever you are, just remember that honey prefers to be kept between 21°C to 27°C. Cap the jar tight and keep it at a dry place away from direct sunlight.

Finally, take a simple quiz and see how much you know about honey.

'Honey' in Wikipedia

You might also want to read an earlier post:

"Life is not merely to be alive, but to be well." 
~Marcus Valerius Martial~

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1 comment:

Ms Demeanour said...

I discovered the other day that you can mix 2 tablespoons of honey with 2 teaspoons of milk for a noursihing, natural face mask! :)