Honey…What’s it? Super delicious, I love it in all its shape, with sweet and salty food, exceptional antibacterial, it’s good for abrasions and for sore throat as well…it manages anything! But what does it have inside? What is its composition? When I eat or use something, I like to understand always something more about it and I was wondering this…it’s sooo good, but what does it consist of?
What about finding it out together? keep on reading!
What is honey composed of?
I know, I know, I will surprise you now: honey is essentially composed of water and sugar! But why isn’t it liquid? Or better to say, why doesn’t it stay liquid like when it’s just harvested? Because honey is a supersaturated solution… what does it mean? This means that it contains more sugar in a certain amount of water than the water is able to assimilate under normal circustances. If for example you follow a recipe with 80 g of sugar in 17 g of water, the sugar won’t dissolve. Something similar happens with honey once it’s not under the ‘special beehive’ circumstances.
Indeed, observing it closer, honey is composed by about 80% of sugars and by 17% of water. The small percentage left is made by minerals, amino acids and acids. All those substances that give that special aroma and specific properties to honey.
Have you understood now why honey is so sweet?
Simple no? Honey is composed basically by sugars! In particular, by two monosaccharides sugars (this means simple ones), that are fructose and glucose. Nevertheless, you know, it may sound strange but honey is not only sweet! It’s much more: indeed, honey has an aroma and this depends on all these other substances that can be found in it, even if they are in very tiny quantity, they are really important.
Among the kinds of honey with stronger aroma and taste, we can find those with a lighter colour, such as linden, orange and rosemary, and darker and spicy ones such as erica and eucalyptus.
Remember that if the first thing that comes to your mind when it comes to honey is its sweetness, there are more bitter and/or sour ones. An example of less sweet honey? Honeydew honey!
This one has a very special origin: if bees are super greedy for nectar and its sweetness, on the other hand, there are other insects (such as aphids, butterflies, parasites) that don’t care at all of it. Once they get the nitrogen from the plant sap, they leave the rest there on the plant. Bees can’t help falling in love with this kind of sticky substance and from there we get this very special honey!
You were mentioning bitter honey…seriously??
I would have never imagined it, but during the honey sensorial course I finished to attend a couple of weeks ago (I will speak further about it one day, if you are curious!), I had the chance to taste some bitter honey. It was a kind of trauma, but try to believe it! The chestnut one, not to mention the erica arborea…I can grant you that they exist! Honey world is super enchanting, don’t stop at the sad ones from the supermarket…there is much more behind! And especially, for any taste 🙂
And what about the smell?
With regard to the smell, just a short thing to point out: bear in mind that not always honey has the smell of its flower. For example, for lavender and citrus it will be easier to perceive some similarities between honey and its flowers. For others, such as rosemary, it may come to our mind the strong rosemary smell but its honey is completely different. But why this? Because most of the essential oils of a plant, so its smell as well, are inside its petals and not inside the nectar collected by the bees.
You too have hearted-eyes when it comes to honey? 🙂 We hope we managed to clarify the honey composition. Not so complicated in the end: sugar, water and that special extra touch. In any case, feel free to ask should you have any doubt! If this edible gold enchants you as well, we suggest you to keep on following us because we will speak more about it! 😉
A sweet hug,