How is Honey Made?
Honey bees sip nectar from flowers, and bring back pollen on their legs, to the hive. The nectar mixes with chemicals in the bee’s stomach, and is regurgitated as honey. The bee deposits the honey into the cell walls of the hive. The moisture content of the honey is reduced by the wind created by the flapping of the bee’s wings. The nectar, honey, and pollen in the hive all provide food for the bees.
On average, a bee will visit 50 to 100 flowers on one round of nectar collection. About 2 million flowers will be visited by bees to create 1 pound of honey. The average worker bee will create 1/12 teaspoon of honey during a lifetime.
The creation of honey relies on the relationship between bees and flowers. While sipping nectar, the bees are also pollinating the flowers. This relationship supports both parties and creates a precious food for people to eat.
Health Benefits of Honey
Honey is a naturally nutritious sweetener. In addition to carbohydrates, honey provides vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and traces of enzymes. The food also contains a variety of antioxidants, which protect cells from damage within the body.
Just like most foods, honey is the most nutritious when it is unprocessed. Raw honey has not been heated, therefore is likely to contain beneficial enzymes, and other components that may otherwise be destroyed by heat. Raw honeys can be evaluated by color. Generally the darker the honey, the more nutrient dense it will be.
Honey has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties. This may be why it is recommended for the treatment of sore throats and open wounds. Honey is also recommended for use by athletes, since it provides carbohydrates, and is easy to consume.
Honey is used as an alternative treatment for seasonal allergies. The pollen found in the food is thought to help the body build up immunity to allergens. This idea goes hand in hand with the consumption of local honey. How local? The Local Honey Blog recommends consuming honey produced within 50 miles from home.
Commercial honeys are often mixed according to the color that is desired. This may include a cocktail of honeys from around the world. The purchase of local honey is a great way to support local food producers and good health.
Resources for Local Honey:
Batsmith Creek Beeyard- local honey from Fort Worth, pollination services, educational services, bee rescue
Handley Feed Store- local honey from Burleson