Honey bees spend their entire life pollinating flowers and making honey. Bees use pollen that they gather from flowers to create honey that the bees use to feed themselves. Beekeepers are responsible for removing the honey from the bees and using for human consumption.
After the beekeeper has collected the honey from the bees, removed the wax caps that the bees use to seal the honey in the honey comb and extracted the honey from the honeycomb it’s time to process the honey.
Not all beekeepers have process their honey. Unprocessed honey is marketed with words like raw, unfiltered and natural printed on the label. The words are different words to say unprocessed. Beekeepers that choose to process their honey, should have it done as quickly after extracting the honey as possible. The act of processing honey is making sure that the honey is heated and filtered. Processing honey is a sticky and hot process, it is important that the person is patient and diligent. The area where the processing is taking place should be kept clean and free of insects. Before you start processing the honey crop make sure that all your equipment is dry. Honey absorbs water. Honey that has too much water in it will ferment.
Experienced beekeepers can look at a vat of honey and tell you what type of flower the worker bees were attracted to when they were gathering pollen. They can do this by looking at the honey’s colour. The type of flower the bees collected pollen from also affects the honey’s flavour. Other factors like soil quality and honey comb quality can change the flavour of the honey. On the average, lighter coloured honey has a milder flavour than darker coloured honey. There are approximately three hundred different varieties of honey produced in the UK and United States.
The plugs that bees use to seal honey into the honey combs can be used to make bee’s wax candles.
For the health conscious, honey is a great substitute for white sugar.
Honey that is still in the honeycomb has a more natural flavour then honey that has been extracted. Extracted honey works best for flavouring teas and cooking.
Fans of natural healing have always been big fans of honey for medicinal purposes. It is believed that honey is an excellent way to soothe sore throats, can help regulate blood pressure, burns, pressure wounds and infectious wounds. Honey has been used by Chinese apothecaries to soothe aches and pains. The Egyptians favoured using honey when they were treating wounds. Even the Greeks and Romans left behind literature that spoke of the medicinal benefits of honey for curing various forms of illnesses.