IS HONEY MORE THAN SWEETENER

How honey is made

Honey bees are collecting nectar from flowers or from secretions of other insects on plants. With the help of their enzymes, they change sugars secretions into honey. They store honey in honeycombs. When the honey is stored it contains too much water. Bees have to eliminate excess water from honey. They walk around honeycombs and waving with their wings so the water can evaporate quickly. When honey becomes sufficiently dense and mature enough, bees start to cover honeycombs with wax. Such honey contains around 15-20% water and it is ready for extraction. Honey contains about 75% sugar, 20% water, and some essential oils, proteins, acids, minerals, and other substances. Due to its good taste and high calorific value, honey is the most widely used in the diet. One tablespoonful (15 ml) of honey provides 46 calories (kcal) of energy (Wiki). Honey can be collected from wild bees and most commonly from hives of domesticated bees.

Honey bee collecting nectar

When and why honey crystallize

Honey is a natural product, so it is even more susceptible to fluctuations in taste, appearance and other natural processes. For natural processes, honey is normal to crystallize, in which the aggregate state of the honey changes from liquid to solid. This natural phenomenon proves the authenticity of honey. In some countries, they buy only crystallized honey. The appearance of crystallization does not cause any chemical or sensory changes in honey. The rate of crystallization depends on the type of honey, sugar content, amount of water in honey and storage temperature.

As mentioned, the crystallization of honey depends on various factors, the most important being the ratio of glucose to fructose and the ratio of glucose to the water content of honey.

Honey extraction

Glucose has a much lower solubility in water than fructose, and glucose concentration in honey is usually close to saturation, so it is excreted in the form of crystals. The higher the glucose content compared to fructose and water content, the faster it crystallizes. Crystallization is also accelerated by lower temperatures, other factors such as air bubbles, more pollen grains and mixing or shaking of honey. Honey can crystallize in different ways, also the size of crystals can be different.

Any natural honey can crystallize. Typically, crystallization starts at the bottom of a jar. When the honey is heated to a temperature of 40 ° C, it becomes liquid again. When we are heating honey, we must be very careful, because if we heat above 40 ° C, it would lose its natural properties and active ingredients. And we will have only a sweetener, not a remedy. 

Acacia, sage, walleye, and spruce honey crystallize most slowly, medium-fast forest, linden, and chestnut honey, floral faster, and rapeseed, sunflower, dandelion, and buckwheat honey faster. 

Can honey expire

Beekeeper is responsible for the quality of the honey production. The beekeeper must follow the guidelines of good hygiene practice. honest beekeepers extract only frames that are 2/3 covered with wax. This is the easiest way to ensure that the honey is ripe and low in the water. After the extraction is it important storage. honey must not be exposed to the sun. Container with honey should be tightly closed (honey absorbs the external odors and quickly loses its aroma, also absorbs water (moisture)) and at a temperature below 8ºC. It is best to keep the honey in the refrigerator at home.

Honey store in a glass jars

I recommend that you do not heat the honey to sweeten the tea or to sweeten the pastry as the temperature destroys most of the enzymes in the honey.

Honey contains various enzymes: diastase, invertase, glucose oxidase, catalase, and acid phosphatase. Bees add enzymes during the ripening of nectar and mana honey and are responsible for the complex composition of sugars in honey. The amount of enzymes in honey depends on the age of the bees, the weather conditions and the intensity of pasturing. Enzymes are the most abundant in fresh honey, and they decline with aging and heating of honey. After one year, HMF is statistically significantly more and diastasis activity declines.

Honey is indeed a very resistant substance to aging, but we must be aware that honey is rapidly losing its healing properties with aging. Especially if it’s not stored properly and overheated. So check with your beekeeper how he stores honey and if it is raw. When honey crystallizes, eat it as it is if you can. Otherwise never heat it above 40 ° C.In short: the shelf life of honey is not unlimited, but it can be useful for many years if it is stored airtight and in the cold dark place. As it ages, it loses its value, but if we look at it as a sweetener, even after decades, it will be a better sweetener than regular sugar.

Is honey vegan

Vegans do not consume honey. The reason is damages honey bees during the extraction of bees products, splitting colonies, massive scale beekeeping(destroying wild bees and bumblebees colonies) and so on. Vegans also find it controversial that beekeepers steal honey from bees, which they are later replaced with sugar. nowadays vegans have many alternatives that replace all forms of animal products.

There are many choices for sweetmeats that can easily be substituted for honey, whether it is in a drink or in a dish. To name a few: dates syrup, maple syrup, rice syrup, agave syrup, coconut syrup, fruit concentrate, molasses, honey from dandelion flowers, and more.

Can babies eat honey

If babies consume Honey they can get botulism, a very dangerous digestive tract infection. Botulism in an infant is a disease that occurs when a newborn infects a bacterium that produces a toxin within the body. It is a very dangerous infection of the digestive tract. Increasing evidence suggests that this type of botulism may be the cause of honey. Honey is a source of spores formed by Clostridium botulinum.

When introduced into the body by an infant, these bacteria produce a toxin that causes botulism in infants, a serious but very rare food poisoning. Therefore, children under 12 months of age should never be given honey. Botulism in infants is not a dangerous disease as it attacks the baby’s nervous system and in the most severe cases can even lead to death. However, most children recover.

The most common signs and symptoms of botulism:

Constant constipation.

Flabby arms, legs, and neck.

Weak crying due to muscle weakness.

Breastfeeding problems, the baby does not have the power to suck.

Expressed infant fatigue (constant sleepiness).

Difficulty breathing.

After a year, honey can be introduced into the diet if there is no one in the family who is allergic to honey (pollen). It is important to introduce it gradually. Start with a minimum amount of honey (top of a teaspoon) mixed with milk, tea or fruit juice. Wait 48 hours and then give a little more honey than before. It should be at least a week before you get to one teaspoonful. wiki

If you notice any changes in your baby – itching, coughing, diarrhea, cramps, check with your pediatrician. Keep your baby under control after eating honey because of the potential for an allergic reaction.

For starters, it is best to choose natural acacia, honey. Of course, your baby can take honey without any reaction, but it is important to know what to expect.

These bacteria can occur in honey that is extracted and stored in an unsanitary environment. Therefore it is wise that you know your beekeeper and environment that he is working on it.

Honey vs sugar

The difference between white (crystalline) sugar and honey is more than obvious. White sugar contains only sucrose disaccharide, which breaks down into two monosaccharides, glucose, and fructose. Honey also contains sugars, but more than a thousand other substances are found in it, which means almost everything that the human body contains and needs. The main components of honey are sugars, enzymes, minerals, hormones, antibacterials, acids, fragrances, vitamins, amino acids, and flavonoids.

For centuries was honey almost the only sweetener. In the third century AD, Indians learned how to produce from cane juice concentrate, sugar. So gradually the consumption of honey decreases. As a sweetener, honey almost lost its role. 

Honey mainly contains simple sugars (monosaccharides), in particular, fructose and glucose, as well as disaccharides such as cane and beet sugar (sucrose) and only in small amounts of polysaccharides. In honey, fructose is usually the highest (33 to 42%), slightly less (27 to 36%) glucose, and little (1 to 4%) sucrose. The ratio of these sugars varies greatly in honey, depending on the honey variety and the efficiency of the enzymes (invertase, saccharase) that come into the honey partly with the honey, and mainly from the bee glands.

There is more fructose in honey than glucose. Even in nectar, the amounts of sugars vary. Fructose crystallizes harder than glucose. In crystallized honey, glucose crystals are surrounded by liquid fructose. It is sweeter than glucose.

I consider bee products as natural remedies or nutritional supplements. Due to the very rich composition of healthy ingredients, we can use bee products as an immune booster. On the other hand, sugar is the only sweetener and has no beneficial health purposes on the human body. We can start adding honey to tea, coffee, pancakes…. and so on. 

In my opinion, it is wise that we avoid refined withe sugar in our diet. The scientist has proven that sugar is the lead factor to many diseases. On the other hand, if we can’t hold the temptation of something sweet I recommended that you put raw honey in your diet. But beaver that honey is most healthier if it is not heated above 40 ° C. Because above this temperature most enzymes start to deteriorate. So put honey to warm milk, tea or coffee, put it on bread with butter and enjoy it. For baking purposes, you can use low quality honey. In the cookies is only for taste it has not had any remedy function. For cooking, we can also include maple or rice syrup.