Honey is basically the sweet nectar from a plant’s flower, collected by a bee and stored in a bee hive.
There are many different sorts of bees in the world but the type we use in Australia is originally from Italy and is called Apis mellifera. Bees’ primary job is to collect food for the colony namely, a sweet liquid from flowers called nectar and a powdery plant protein called pollen. To turn nectar into honey the bees dehydrate the nectar and mix it with enzymes from glands on their body.
Both nectar and pollen are stored in the hive for future food. Many thousands of types of plants produce nectar and pollen, so potentially there are many thousands of types of honey.
Honey is made up of:
- natural plant sugars 80%
- moisture 17%
- minerals 3%
The bee's value however is not confined to making honey. Bees also help many foods we eat grow by pollinating flowers and causing them to turn into fruits and vegetables. Without bees trees and flowers may not make fruit, nuts or seeds.
Some ideas on using honey….
In many ways we can see honey is a tasty and nutritious natural replacement for sugar.
It is an ingredient in nougat, chocolate products, biscuits (i.e. honey biscuits), cakes, baked desserts (i.e. Crème Caramel, Creme Brule), fruit bars and snacks.
Honey can be used to add flavour, colour and sweetener in any food or drink where sugar is used. Think, Banana smoothie, Muslie, yogurt and drizzle of honey for breakfast, pancakes with honey and lemon, warm milk, honey drink with dash of fresh cinnamon to send you off to sleep.
Honey is great simple spread for bread, toast, baguette, croissant etc.