Understanding the preparation!
Honey is biologically simpler compounds of natural sugar that is present in flower nectars in the form of fructose and glucose.
Honeybees are credited to be the most industrious creatures on Earth and spend most of their lives preparing this wonderful natural sweetener. Simply stating, they collect nectars from different flowers and carry that to their hives, chew the nectar to create some compounds necessary for honey making. After this, they simply deposit the solution in cells of honeycomb and dry it with their wings so as to allow only 10-15% water content to remain and evaporate the rest.
This cycle is followed throughout the lifespan of about 6 weeks of the worker bees.
What should be the ideal color of honey?
Honey does not have any true or original color. Honey’s color purely depends on the type of flower from which nectars have been collected by the bees and it might range from bright yellow to transparent to dark amber and even red in case of few flowers like Rhododendron, or Buransh as we commonly call it.
What makes honeybees strange creatures?
A worker bee has wing speed of about 300 beats per second. Just imagine drying all the water content by just using their wings!
Also, a honey bee can carry nectar weighing almost equal to its own body – that’s strange because most air vehicles are designed to carry a maximum weight of almost a quarter of their weight.
Honey and hot beverages!
Heating alters the chemical composition and this is the reason why honey or anything that contains sugar (even glucose or fructose like in the case of Honey) for that matter should not be heated beyond what we call warm because it leads to the formation of an enzyme – HMF which is considered unhealthy. Also, honey when heated loses most of its nutritional value and the bactericidal properties that are responsible for boosting body’s immunity. So the next time you wish to add honey to your glass of hot milk, tea or water, just make sure that they are warm and not hot! Appropriate temperature will be the one at which you can keep your finger in it or hold it in your mouth.
Is crystallization of honey normal?
Neither do crystallization mean that the honey is adulterated or processed nor does it mean that the honey has expired. Instead, crystallization means that the honey is pure, raw and unprocessed, and the honey that does not crystallize is processed and adulterated. Crystallized honey can very well be consumed – infact it tastes creamier than the usual one with a more pleasant tone to the tongue.
Why do honey crystallize?
Honey is a saturated solution with two types of natural sugars – glucose and fructose with negligible water content. It is highly probable for the sugars to separate from this solution and form a thick white-creamy layer – a phenomenon known as “Honey crystallization.” This does not mean that the honey has gone bad, but instead makes it taste better and creamier. The crystallization process of honey depends on the type of flowers and is faster for some honeys (specially for those with higher glucose content) as opposed to some others with a higher fructose.
Why do some honeys not crystallize?
In order to prevent honey from crystallizing, some companies process it by heating to a certain temperature and then packing it. This process is called “Honey Pasteurization.” This is indeed not prescribed because heating honey or any sweet substance above mild temperatures lead to some chemical reactions killing most of the beneficial properties and enzymes and this way it loses most of its goodness.
How to de-crystallize honey?
If you want to bring your honey back to its original form, just keep the honey glass jar in a container semi filled with water and heat it to very mild temperatures. Stir the honey slowly and it will break fructose crystals to again form a homogeneous solution. Just keep in mind that de-crystallizing honey many times will make it crystallize again faster, but completely safe for consumption.
How to store honey?
Honey is a saturated solution of natural sugars and bees put in a lot of hard work to dry the water content from nectars. Honey needs to be stored in airtight containers (preferably glass) at room temperatures that are not too hot. The reason for this is that if it comes in contact with air for long, it’ll absorb moisture and that leads to an increase hydration in it.
Honey is attributed as one of the nature’s longest lasting edible products! If stored properly and kept away from air and moisture, honey can last for years, or even decades (people prefer calling it “forever”). This is the reason honeybees also use it to repair the inner walls of their hives because it’ll never go bad.