Want to know how bees make their incredible honey? Read this blog!
Honey has been valued as a natural sweetener long before sugar became widely available in the 16th century. Honey production flourished in ancient Greece and Sicily and is truly a remarkable substance, made even more extraordinary by the process with which it is made. This blend of sugar, trace enzymes, minerals, vitamins, and amino acids is quite unlike any other sweetener on the planet. And while honey is high in fructose, it has many health benefits when used in moderation (assuming you’re healthy).
It takes about 60,000 bees, collectively traveling up to 55,000 miles, and visiting more than 2 million flowers, to gather enough nectar to make one pound of honey. Once the nectar is gathered, the bee stores it in its extra stomach where it mixes with enzymes, and then passes it (via regurgitation) to another bee’s mouth. This process is repeated until the nectar becomes partially digested and is then deposited into a honeycomb.
Once there, the honeybees fan the liquid nectar with their wings, helping the water to evaporate and create the thick substance you know as “honey.” This honeycomb is then sealed with a liquid secretion from the bee’s abdomen, which hardens into beeswax. Away from air and water, honey can be stored indefinitely, providing bees with the perfect food source for cold winter months.
There are more than 300 kinds of honey in the US, each with a unique color and flavor that is dependent upon the nectar source. Lighter colored honey, such as those made from orange blossoms, tend to be milder in flavor while darker-colored honey, like those made from wildflowers, tends to have a more robust flavor.
Stay tuned for more bee facts, fun, and practical uses! Next week will do a post on the 5 things you didn’t know about honey!
Yours in Health,
Team at CCC