Honey - Sweet and Healthy
Most of us love honey. Especially if we’re trying to cut down on sugar but need to sweeten our cereal. Did you know that honey has been around for millenniums. Cave paintings in Spain that are 8000 years old show humans gathering honey. It is widely used as both food and medicine. From prehistoric times to present day, honey is used as food, an offering to the Gods, and as a cure. In Hinduism, it is one of the five elixirs of immortality.
There are many varieties of honey depending on the bees producing it, but the most common is the one produced by the honey bees (the genus Apis). Honey can be produced by bumblebees, stingless bees, honey wasps, and other similar insects. These have different properties and are produced in lower quantities. They are harder to harvest and hence are not commercialised. Some brands offer natural honey for really high rates but you will find pure or raw honey online for reasonable prices if you research before you purchase.
How Sweet is Too Sweet?
Honey contains two sugars - fructose and glucose. This makes it a tad sweeter than regular sugar. Since the water content in honey is less than 20%, microorganisms cannot thrive. This gives it a long shelf life. Premium quality honey has water content of 18% or less. Honey is said to be hygroscopic, which means that it pulls moisture out of the air. So to prevent fermentation, you need to store it in an airtight container. If properly stored, you can preserve honey for decades.
Apart from the water content, processing should be taken into account when the quality of honey is in question. Good-quality honey is minimally processed, which means it should only be slightly heated and strained. This lets the honey retain its minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins. Water content and minimal processing are not the only things to keep in mind when buying honey. There are many honey-flavored products out there that are basically corn syrup. Adulterated products may also contain flour, starch, dextrose, preservatives, etc., so be sure to read the label.
What Does Pollen Have to Do with the Quality?
Good-quality honey contains pollen, which is why it does not look clear when you look at the jar. The filtration process leaves pollen inside while removing debris like bee parts and wax. The clearer the honey, the more processed it is. If you want to go for high-quality honey, opt for the ones that don’t look extremely clear. You can easily buy honey online at reasonable prices.