God Ra cried and when his tears fell on the Earth
they became a bee.
The bee built its honeycomb and worked much with many plants,
and in this way wax made
and honey too
from Ra’ s tears.Ancient Egypt, approx. 300 b.C.
We had decided to start the month of June with one of our favourite products: honey! This for different reasons: because the honey season has officially started, because we got so much sweeten from our Italian relatives and friends’cuddles after so long,…well, I couldn’t and I did not want to speak about anything else! And you know what? We will keep on with this topic for a while, since it’s good, it’s healthy, since we love it (and our bees too!) and our hearts explode with joy by speaking of it!
Before starting to get closer to the beekeeping universe, I would have never imagined that there are so many enchanting things to know about honey…I have learnt much from Basti and granpa Heinz, I have read some books, I have attended some courses (yep, there are even courses about honey!). Imagine how much can be learnt about it. And therefore, we decided to share it with you…because good things are made to be shared (a motto of ours 🙂 ).
C´mon, admit it: you are a bit curious now, aren’t you? Get ready for diving into much honey 🙂
It is so good…but what is inside?
As we spoke more in depth here Honey composition: in the end honey is composed by…? – Gaeblini, honey is composed essentially by sugar and water. As far as sugars are concerned, we speak mainly of glucose and fructose. But is it only about water and sugar? Of course not, there is much more (acids, amino acids, minerals, pollen micro particles,…) that gives that extra touch and make it so unique, good and healthy! Another special aspect of honey is that it crystalizes! Let’s debunk the ‘liquid honey myth’. All honey are going to crystalize sooner or later, this means that it becomes more and more solid. It’s simply a natural process and it can’t be avoided (unless it is treated with very high temperatures, but at that point it loses its healthier properties and special features).
So, in the end, if it’s mainly composed by sugar…honey and sugar are equivalent?
Mmm no, not at all! A part for its healthy properties, we are speaking about different sugars: those included in honey are more easily digested and give much short-term energies. Another difference? The same quantity of honey is much sweeter than a sugar one. In addition, if purchased from good beekeepers, these are truly natural flower juices…completely another story!
Flower juice…so is it a vegetal origin product??
In your opinion, is honey a product with a vegetal or animal origin? At a very first sight, you could think that it comes from animals. In the end, it’s made by bees. Bees are animals, that’s it! However, this is the wrong answer. It is a vegetal origin product…why?? Because it comes from flowers and plants! Do you remember when here Why are bees so important? – Gaeblini, we were telling that bees fly from flower to flower and, without realising it, they become pollinators too? Have you ever wondered why they visit all these flowers? If pollination is not their visits’ goal, why do they do so?
Because bees collect nectar from flowers. After visiting them and their ‘honey bag’ is full of nectar, bees run back to their hives. They give the nectar to their reliable sisters that will promptly take care of it. Honey will be stocked in the honeycombs cells and, once ready, it will be closed with a wax layer. You can find more details here How do bees make honey? – Gaeblini. Have you now understood why here Here I am: Cri, the beekeeper-to-be! – Gaeblini, I was pointing out how much their organisation is perfect? Respect!
But bees work so hard…and then you steal them the honey??
This is among one of the first questions I had ever asked to Basti! I was pretty thoughtful and concerned about this point, to be honest. However, luckily there was no reason to. Bees prepare endless provisions, like if there is no tomorrow. They keep on collecting and collecting nectar, hardworking and full of joy. It’s not a coincidence if they get pretty nervous when the weather gets worse and they can’t go out visiting flowers 😉 so this what does it means? It means that at the right moment the good beekeeper harvests the surplus of honey, considering always bees and what they need. Also because, think about it, if beekeepers took too much honey and bees starved, do you believe that beekeepers would be happy? It’s first of all the ‘bees sheperd’ the one that wants to protect the bees! We have investigated deeper into this issue in this article How do bees make honey? – Gaeblini.
Does it expires? How to keep it?
This too is something that people often wonder…Honey expires or doesn’t expire? Well, if you take a honey pot you will find an expiry date (and it must be this way, this is among the compulsory fields of a honey label), but actually no, it does not expire. So, why mentioning an expiry date at this point? Honey is food, so producers must specify a date by which it is suggested to eat it. In any case, if you eat it after this date nothing bad happens. Don’t worry, you won’t feel bad! Generally the expiry date is after one year and half/two years from the day in which honey was harvested. Till that date its aroma and properties stay more or less untouched, then gradually they begin to get altered and honey becomes more and more similar to a mere sugary substance. Hence, it doesn’t get harmful or poisonous. Of course, its being fresh depends also on how it was stored. If it is kept in a dark and dry place, at fresh temperature, there is no issue and neither the risk of fermentation.
Honey world through the senses
Well, as you may have understood, there is a whole enchanting world behind honey. We all often have a flat idea of it: golden, a bit transparent, super sweet and liquid. We imagine it this way, almost sad and two-dimensional. Nevertheless, beyond a personal perception, there is so much more. And I am not speaking of only colours, but also consistency, smells, aroma and tastes. Another aspect that makes honey so special is that you will never find a pot 100% same as another one: its result depends on the flowers visited by the bees, on how and when beekeepers have harvested it, on how you are storing it,… Everytime you have in your hands a honeypot, you can seriously think that this an absolute unique piece. Have you ever pondered about this? The more I think of it, the more I believe it’s simply wonderful!
Do you like honey? How much honey do you generally eat? We are looking forward to a comment of yours, we would like much to know more about you and your honey-eater experience.
The Gäblini – Serial honey-eaters 😉