Information about Food: Honey

About honey, informationn about the food made by bees from the nectar of flowers, nutrition, uses, and history.

Honey

Honey is made from nectar which bees gather from different plants and flowers. Nectar is changed into honey by enzyme action in the bodies of the bees, and is stored in wax cells in the hive. It is then left to ripen, and in time, it thickens because of evaporation caused by the fanning of the bees' wings. Bees produce honey for their own use, as their main source of food. Honey has been in use for thousands of years. A jar of honey, still in perfect condition, was found in an Egyptian tomb, where it was placed over 3,000 years ago. Honey contains an enzyme which prevents it from molding; therefore, it needs no preservatives. Because bees are very sensitive to pesticides, honey is fairly free from contamination; the bees, if exposed to sprays, usually die before returning to the hives.

Honey can be as much as 76% sugar, and 18% moisture. The sugar in honey, however, requires no digestive change before it is assimilated. Unfortunately, its effect on the teeth is the same as that of refined sugar, molasses, etc., in that a bacteria in the sugar breaks down into an acid which causes the calcium to erode. Honey also contains minerals, amino acids, and valuable enzymes. Look for slight cloudiness and evidence of crystallization in your honey; these signs often mean that your honey is unheated and unfiltered, and therefore retains its fine flavor. Honey is a laxative, and is also said to be good for soothing sore throats and easing hoarseness. The early Romans considered honey to-have medicinal qualities, too, and felt that coriander drunk with honey was a cure for childbirth fever. A 7th-century manuscript advises the eating of honey for the bite of a mad dog or a serpent; and in the Middle Ages, warts could be removed by a poultice of honey and a yellow garden slug!

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