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Honey is made by honeybees, it is a superbly natural product which the bees make as a food source for themselves. It is one of the few foods which we buy in its truly natural form. It is brought to us in a way that is unadulterated or processed. It requires no additives to make it 'better'. There are no flavorings to make it tastier, no emulsifiers to maintain its consistency no preservatives to make it keep longer. Just as the bees produce it - we use it.
Produced in abundance it is stored in the hive where the beekeeper is able to harvest it. It can be sold as is or more commonly filtered and sometimes heated to ease filtration.

The honey itself is made by the bees from the nectar of flowers. The worker bees collect the nectar, swallow and partially digest it before it is stored in the hive in specially made compartments of the hive. There the bees fan and ventilate the compartments where the moisture content is reduced giving the honey its remarkable keep-ability. The taste, quality and other characteristics of the honey are highly dependent on the source of the nectar the bees collect. By locating the hive in an area of a single flower type the beekeeper can control the type of flowers used by the bees to make the honey and so a particular type of honey can be produced which can be sold according to its particular taste or additional properties such as Manuka Honey.
However regardless of the type of flower used to produce the honey all types of honey have remarkable properties which are worth knowing.

Honey as energy
As an energy source honey is excellent. It is comprised of mostly sugars in the form of fructose (38%) and glucose (31%) and other complex carbohydrates. These can be rapidly absorbed by the body and its high calorie value quickly utilized by the body. Scientific, anecdotal and historical evidence suggests that athletes perform better after consuming quantities of honey before and during a competition with higher levels of energy. In ancient times Greek and Roman soldiers were given honey to prepare for battle.

Honey for Health
Honey has been commonly used as a natural remedy for thousands of years. There are many references to its health benefits in many historical texts and many cultures around the world make use of honey. Honey has antiseptic properties and can used to treat exterior wounds and burns. Its extremely low moisture content allows it to absorb moisture from a wound as well as inhibit bacterial growth.

Honey can also be used to treat and soothe sore throats, coughs and mouth ulcers. For digestive problems, honey can be used to treat constipation and also diarrhoea as well as peptic ulcers and other ailments.

Honey contains small amounts of antioxidants which are important to maintain good health and are known to have cancer preventing properties.

Honey safety and storage
Due to its high sugar and low moisture content honey can be stored for a very long time without refrigeration although it should be stored in a well sealed non-metal container in a place away from sunlight or a dark container.

Honey may naturally contain botulinum endospores. These spores while harmless to older children and adults may cause botulism in infants younger than one year of age due to their under-developed digestive systems. Therefore, as a precaution honey should not be given to babies.

When used for remedial purposes to treat a sore throat or a digestive ailment honey should not be heated as this may reduce or remove its special properties. Do not add it to hot drinks or cook honey used for this purpose. However as a general sweetener or for taste honey can be heated and it will retain its superior energy and taste content.

Honey for taste
Honey has a lower sugar content than regular sugar but it actually tastes sweeter sugar so it gives more sweetness per gram. This means that a smaller amount can be used to give the same taste as regular sugar. Honey can have a wide range of different tastes according to the type or mix of flowers that the nectar was collected from. It can be a tasty addition to hot drinks such as tea, coffee or hot chocolate. Honey can also be used in cooking and baking where it can give a distinctive taste of sweetens and luxury.

Honey instead of sugar
Per gram, honey is sweeter than sugar. It is a much better choice than white sugar or brown sugar. White sugar is highly refined and has gone through numerous processes to achieve its pure white colour and stable crystal nature. All goodness and mineral content has been removed leaving the sugar granules as so-called 'empty calories' that have no nutritional value beyond the calories provided. Brown sugar is slightly better but if compared to honey it is a truly poor substitute.

Organic honey
Organic honey is a very special product which has very strict production and collection guidelines. First off the hives must be placed in an area of either exclusively organic use or non-agricultural use. This ensures the bees only collect nectar from organically grown flowers. The hives themselves are built and painted without insecticides and the bees are not treated with antibiotics or other treatments.
During winter when the bees have no nectar to harvest the bees will usually consume the stored honey. To prevent this, the beekeeper will provide the bees with an alternative food source. In organic honey this food source has to be itself organic. Often it is organic honey. There are conditions to be met to achieve organic status but this is a price worth paying when the finished result can bear the coveted organic certification with its guarantee of a truly chemical-free product.

Honeydew is also a bee product but the source is not nectar from flowers. Rather the bees collect the sap from trees. Not directly from the tree but indirectly from ants, aphids and other insects that secrete droplets of the sap. These droplets look like morning dew hence the name - honeydew. Honeydew is a very special product that has many benefits over and above those of floral honeys.

Due to its unique source honeydew has significant properties which differ from most regular floral honeys. Honeydew is very rich in minerals that are beneficial to us. Besides minerals, honeydew contains complex sugars, oligosaccharides, which help maintain and promote the growth of friendly bacteria in the gut. Honeydew also has higher levels of antioxidants than most other regular honeys as well as higher antibacterial activity.
Generally honeydew has a darker colour and a stronger, richer, woodier taste than regular honey.

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