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What is honey ?
Nectar is converted into honey in the bee’s stomach and is regurgitated and stored in hexagonal wax cells within the hive. Honey is fed to larvae and serves as a supplemental food for adult bees.
How do bees makes honey?
They collect a sugary juice called nectar from the blossom by sucking it out with their tongues. They store it in what’s called their honey stomach, which is different from their food stomach. When they have a full load, they fly back to the hive. … So that’s how bees make honey.
What is Monofloral / Multifloral honey ?
The aroma, taste and colour of honey differ in each area because each area has a unique set of flowers.
Honeybees fly in the radius of 1-2 km to collect nectar. If over 50% of that area is covered by a single type of flower, then honey collected from that area is called monofloral honey.
The name is attributed to that source, like Jamun honey, eucalyptus honey, ajwain honey, litchi honey, mustard honey, and clover honey etc.
It is always wise to ask for different types of honey because the commercial synthetic honey brands cannot give you varieties of honey.
What is raw or unprocessed honey?
Raw Honey simply means honey as present in the honeycomb. It has many essential micronutrients, beneficial enzymes and bee pollen.
Commercial honey brands heavily process honey, which involves heavy heating and ultrafiltration. which compromises its nutritional and medicinal value.
What is processed Honey?
In earlier days people use to consume honey directly from beehives. All the benefits attributed to honey is because of its bioactive compounds like antioxidants, enzymes, bee pollen and micronutrients like vitamins and minerals.
Nowadays, when commercial interest took over. They process honey extensively to make it more appealing and smooth, Compromising its nutritional and medicinal value.
Processing of honey includes heating, filtration and moisture reduction. It is a common practice in most of the commercial honey.
If honey is heated beyond 45°C, it starts losing its nutritive value. The industry practice is to heat honey around 65-70°C. This robs all the nutrition from honey. This is done to pasteurise and kill yeast activity in honey.
The industry practice is to filter honey with 10-50 micron filter. They do the filtration to remove all the undissolved particles in honey including wax particles and bee pollen. This delays the crystallisation process of honey and also makes honey smooth and shining.
During bulk production of honey, honey often extracted unripe. Unripe honey is thin watery with moisture ranging from 20-25%. Whereas Ripe honey has 18% moisture. That extra moisture is removed by heating and evaporating honey. But heat also removes the natural aroma of honey besides, causing damage to its nutrition value.
Honey is heated to kill yeast and remove excess moisture. High heat also makes ultrafiltration possible.
Heat also reduces the moisture which may cause fermentation in honey.
High heating and ultrafiltration give honey a shining and smooth look. Also, retard the crystallisation process of honey.
Moreover, the blending of adulterants is done during the heat processing of honey.
Why do commercial brands sell honey at low-prices?
Most commercial brands sell honey at low or discounted prices because of its adulteration. As a matter of fact, the adulteration practice in honey is obligatory due to the following reasons:
– Pure, natural honey varies in colour, taste, and aroma according to its floral source, and commercial brands require uniform honey in large quantities which is next to impossible.
– Pure and naturally organic honey tends to granulate as white crystals (sooner or later). This phenomenon of natural honey is not favourable for commercial brands. Adulterants like rice syrup do crystallize.
– Commercial brands usually require large quantities of honey at low and constant prices, which is not possible because of the scattered production of natural honey.
Does honey crystallize?
Yes, Like any other natural honey, our honey crystallizes over time, especially during winter or if stored in the refrigerator.
It is important for you to know that mono floral honey is less likely to crystallize, whereas multiflora honey is more likely to form crystals over time.
Does Honey Expire ?
Pure and natural honey only darkens with age, and this darkening process fastens with an increase in temperature. Honey ageing is measured by the evaluation of HMF (hydroxymethylfurfural) content in honey.
The darkening of natural honey is also a possible result of reaction between the amino acids and monosaccharides present in honey.
In spite of darkening, honey will be edible for thousands of years. Honey found in the Egyptian pyramid was edible even after 3000 long years.
How to store natural Honey?
Ideally, honey should be stored in a glass jar or stainless steel vessel.
Honey should be kept airtight jar or vessel. This is because, if the atmosphere is humid (Relative Humidity above 48%), honey imbibes water and get fermented.
Honey should be stored in a cool place. But should not be refrigerated otherwise it may get crystallised.