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Honey is made by bees from nectar collected from flowers, with some help from other plant saps and honeydew. The color, aroma, and consistency of honey are all determined by the flowers foraged by the bees. Female worker bees are always forager honey bees. The queen and drone bees never go foraging.
Honey is a sweet and viscous liquid produced by a variety of bees, the most well-known of which are honey bees. Honey is produced and stored to feed bee colonies. Bees make honey by collecting and purifying the sugary secretions of plants (mainly floral nectar) or the secretions of other insects, such as aphid honeydew. This refinement occurs both within individual bees, via regurgitation and enzymatic activity, and during hive storage, via water evaporation, which concentrates the honey's carbohydrates until it is thick and viscous.
Process of making honey 🍯
The foraging honey bee flies back to her nest, which could be in a hollow tree or other natural cavity, or inside a man-made hive. Her honey sac, a modified part of her gut, contains the nectar she collected from the flower. She regurgitates the fluid and passes it once inside the nest.
It is passed through her mouth to one or more 'house' bees, who swallow and regurgitate it. A small amount of protein is added and water is evaporated as each bee sucks the liquid up through her proboscis and into her honey sac. The proteins that bees add are enzymes that convert sugars in nectar into different types of sugars. Before being placed in a honeycomb cell, the liquid travels through a chain of bees. Bees continue to process the liquid after it has been placed in the cell, and more water evaporates as they do so. The nest temperature near the honey storage area is usually around 35 °C. This temperature, combined with the ventilation produced by fanning bees, causes more water evaporation from the honey. When the water content of the honey is less than 20%, the bees seal the cell with a wax capping, indicating that the honey is 'ripe' and will not ferment. The bees have prepared a concentrated food store for themselves, packed in a small space that can be stored until needed. The bees have prepared a concentrated food store for themselves, packed in a small space that can be stored until they need it during any future period of no flowers or winter. The honey has been produced and stored in such a way that its quality will not deteriorate significantly - it will not go mouldy, and there will be no fermentation problem during storage.
Importance of Honey in Ayurveda
Honey, also known as Madhu in Ayurvedic scriptures.
It is known as "Perfection of Sweet" in Ayurveda.
It is one of the most important healing ingredients used in Ayurveda.
One of the most well-known home remedies for dry and wet cough is honey.
Honey is used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat the following illnesses, ailments, and injuries, whether it is mixed with other remedies and consumed or applied to the skin.
It can be combined with ginger juice and black pepper to relieve coughing and throat irritation.
Consuming honey in lukewarm water every morning improves digestion and aids in weight management.
Uses of Honey
Honey is produced by bees to serve as a food store for the colony during periods when there are no flowers or the weather is unfavorable. For example, few plants flower in northern, temperate countries between October and March, and bee colonies require honey stores to survive during this flowering dearth period, as well as when it may be too cold to leave the nest. In tropical countries, bees must survive dry seasons, periods of drought, or periods when bees are unable to forage due to rain or other inclement weather.
Honey is a good source of high-carbohydrate food, and it typically contains a wide range of minor constituents (minerals, proteins, vitamins, and so on), which adds nutritional variety to human diets.
Honey is regarded as a medicine or special tonic rather than a daily food in many countries. Honey has medicinal properties that are increasingly being recognised by modern medicine.
Honey is widely used as a sugar source in the production of honey wines and beers, as well as in the production of many secondary products such as breakfast cereals, bakery goods, and a variety of other value-added products.
Because it contains a variety of nutrients and medicinal properties, it is an excellent substitute for refined white sugar.
Granulated Honey- Glucose is a major constituent of honey, and when it crystallizes, the honey solidifies and becomes known as granulated honey. Granulation is a natural process, and there is no nutritional difference between solid and liquid honey. This process is analogous to ice and water in that liquid honey and granulated honey are both the same substance in different forms.
Some honeys are much more highly sensitive to granulation than others, and almost all honey will granulate if the temperature is lowered. Different people prefer different qualities of honey, just as different people prefer different colours of honey: some prefer granulated honey, while others prefer liquid honey. If honey is needed in granulated form but is slow to granulate, the granulation process can be started by'seeding' it with some finely granulated honey and stirring it in until it is evenly distributed. If kept at a low temperature, the honey will now granulate.
If a jar of granulated honey is needed in liquid form, place it in a container of warm water (60 °C) and it will quickly liquefy. Heating honey, on the other hand, always reduces its quality by destroying enzymes, evaporating volatile compounds, and thus reducing flavour.
Temperatures below 15 °C, a high concentration of glucose, and the availability of nuclei to act as seeds to begin the crystallization process (e.g. pollen or existing crystals) are all important for rapid granulation.
Honey of high quality- Bees always store clean and perfect honey, regardless of where they live - in their own nest built in the wild or in any type of hive. The location of bees has no effect on the quality of honey they produce. Only subsequent human handling reduces quality; if the honey is harvested when the water content is still too high (honey is still 'unripe'), if it is contaminated, overheated, over-filtered, or otherwise spoiled.
According to the consumer, quality- The important characteristics of honey for the consumer are its aroma, flavour, colour, and consistency, all of which depend on the species of plants visited by the bees. Bees foraging on sunflower, for example, will produce a golden honey that granulates (crystallises) quickly, whereas bees foraging on avocado will produce a dark honey that remains liquid for a long time. Honey aroma and flavour are subjective, and honey is frequently judged based on its colour. Dark honeys typically have a strong flavour, whereas pale honeys have a more delicate flavour. The flavour of honey is influenced by a variety of substances (alcohols, aldehydes, organic acids, and esters).These are volatile compounds that evaporate easily at temperatures above 35 degrees Celsius, which is one of the reasons why heat reduces honey quality.
It is impossible to assign a monetary value to the subjective qualities of flavour and aroma because the relative popularity of dark and light-colored honey varies by country. Because honey darkens during storage and heating darkens honey, colour can be a useful indicator of quality. Many perfectly fresh, unheated, and uncontaminated honeys, on the other hand, can be very dark.
Quality - according to trade standards- Honey is not a simple commodity with a uniform composition. Although honey is harvested and sold in nearly every country, and is sold globally, there is no single international standard for honey quality. Nations and market regions establish their own honey criteria, defining what honey is and how it should be composed. Exporters may find it difficult to market honey as a result of this. Honey is a natural product produced by bees in a variety of vegetation zones and climates around the world.
Colour- A "Pfund grader" is used to determine the colour of honey (named after the inventor Dr Pfund). A sample of honey is placed in a wedge-shaped glass container in this instrument. (Only liquid honey can be colour graded; granulated honey must first be liquefied). The sample is viewed through a narrow slit, and the honey "tray" is moved until the density of colour visible through the slit matches that of a standard amber-colored glass. A scale on the instrument provides a numerical value for the colour of the honey, which can be used to determine the colour category of the honey. Color descriptions range from "water white" to "amber" to "dark".
Difference between Raw Honey and Processed Honey 🍯
Several studies have revealed that commercially processed honey may contain acaricides such as amitraz, celazole, bromopropylate, coumaphos, flumethrin, and tau-fluvalinate. According to research, some of these chemicals cause respiratory and neurological problems in humans.
Raw Honey is Unpasteurized, unprocessed, and unheated 100% pure forest raw honey. There are no artificial flavours, sugars, additives, or colours added. To preserve the natural flavour and goodness of 100% pure honey, raw honey is bottled without any processing or heating. Collected in deep forest areas devoid of pesticides and fertilisers.
Flora Honey / Natural Mono floral Honey- Natural floral honey (there are over 18 different types of natural honey, including Eucalyptus Flora Honey, Drumstick Flora Honey, Ajwain Flora Honey, Saunf Honey, Jammu Flora Honey, Litchi Flora Honey, and many more).
Humans are creative and experiment wherever there is an opportunity. We can also have mono floral honey, which is honey that contains mostly single flora nectar. In nature and under normal conditions, we will have multiflora, honey.
Mono floral honey is made by domesticating Apis Mellifera and Apis Cerena and then moving them to a location with a large number of flowers from single plants. For example, in December and January, mustard (sarso) flowers bloom in abundance. We will place our beehives in mustard fields during this season. Bees will collect as much nectar as possible from mustard flowers and turn it into honey. This honey will contain mustard properties. Tulsi, sounf, Sheesham, neem, Jamun, litchi, acacia, ajwain, alfalfa, drumstick, coffee, and other plants have flowers in different seasons. As a result, we can have a variety of monofloral honeys.
It is verifiable through laboratory testing.
Flora honey has several advantages.
The availability of various plant properties and nutrients is the main advantage of mono floral honey.
Multifloral honey (also known as polyfloral honey) comes from a variety of botanical sources, none of which are dominant, such as meadow blossom honey and forest honey.
Does Honey expire?
Honey, in general, does not spoil or expire. It can be kept for a very long period of time. It can, however, go bad if contaminated or improperly stored. If your honey has visible mold or smells fermented or "off," it's time to throw it out.
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This blog was written by Jaya Singh, a content writer.