Topics and information related to the making of honey - a traditional folkloristic agribusinessl practiced in Malta for many centuries. (Malta = Melita = Honey)

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Post by ROLCAM » Sat Dec 08, 2007 4:27 am

Honey is a sweet, thick fluid made by bees from flower nectar, a sugar-filled, watery liquid. Worker bees sip nectar from flower blossoms and carry it to their hives, where they share it with other worker bees. Each bee has a pouch in her body, called a honey stomach, where the nectar is temporarily stored. In the pouch, enzymes produced by the bee mix with the nectar. An enzyme is a molecule that speeds chemical reactions. Most enzymes are proteins. The enzymes in the honey stomach promote inversion, a process in which the sugar in the nectar breaks down into two simple sugars, fructose and glucose.

After inversion is complete, the bees use their mouthparts to expose the nectar to the hive's warm air. Some water in the nectar evaporates. The bees then deposit the nectar in a honeycomb, a mass of six-sided compartments called cells. In the cells, water continues to evaporate from the nectar. Nectar becomes honey when it contains, on the average, less than 19 percent water by weight.

Kinds of honey. The color and flavor of honey depend upon the kinds of flowers that supply the nectar. Honey ranges in color from white through dark amber, and it can have a mild or strong flavor. Most honey sold in stores is mild.

The most common honey plants are alfalfa, clover, aster, sunflower, citrus, goldenrod, and various wild flowers. Many regional plants in the United States produce excellent honey. In the East, tasty honeys come from nectars of buckwheat, sumac, and the yellow-poplar, or tuliptree. In the Midwest, honey from basswood nectar is popular. In the South, bees produce tasty honeys from tupelo, mesquite, sourwood, and gallberry nectars. White sage honey is popular in California.

Most honey will eventually granulate (develop sugar crystals) because honey is made primarily of sugar and water. Commercial users such as bakers heat honey to delay granulation. Granulated honey may be turned back into liquid by placing a container of honey into warm water. Finely granulated honey is sometimes sold as creamed honey.

Food value. Honey is an excellent energy food because it contains simple sugars that the body can use quickly. Honey also contains small amounts of minerals and other materials used by the body.

The honey industry. World production of honey totals about 21/2 billion pounds (1.1 billion kilograms) each year. China is, by far, the leading honey-producing country, followed by the United States. Other important honey-producing countries include Argentina, Belarus, India, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine.

Many beekeepers in the United States travel with their bees from the Southern States to the North each year to follow the blooming of honey plants. The beekeepers carry their hives on large trucks that are covered with nets. Most beekeepers sell their honey after it has been removed from the honeycomb by a honey extractor. This machine whirls the honeycombs around, forcing the honey out. After the honey has been removed from the honeycomb, it is ready to be packaged and sold.

History. Honey was an important sweet in ancient times. During the Middle Ages, people kept bees in woven straw baskets called skeps. In the 1500's and 1600's, European colonists brought honey bees to the Americas.
Roland Camilleri B.Ec. FCPA.

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Post by RB » Sat Dec 08, 2007 1:45 pm

zzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzz, zzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzz, zzzzzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

:roll: :roll: :roll:

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Post by MWP admin » Sat Dec 08, 2007 4:40 pm

:dontknow: :-({|=
Stephen Mifsud

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Post by ROLCAM » Sun Dec 09, 2007 12:58 pm

I really cannot understand the attitude of some members
here especially RB.

Honey is a sweet and viscous fluid produced by honey bees (and some other species of bee), and derived from the nectar of flowers. According to the United States National Honey Board and various international food regulations, "honey stipulates a pure product that does not allow for the addition of any other substance...this includes, but is not limited to, water or other sweeteners". This article refers exclusively to the honey produced by honey bees (the genus Apis); honey produced by other bees or other insects has very different properties.
Honey is significantly sweeter than table sugar and has attractive chemical properties for baking. Honey has a distinctive flavor which leads some people to prefer it over sugar and other sweeteners.
Most microorganisms do not grow in honey because of its low water activity of 0.6. However, it is important to note that honey frequently contains dormant endospores of the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, which can be dangerous to infants as the endospores can transform into toxin-producing bacteria in the infant's immature intestinal tract, leading to illness and even death.
The study of pollens and spores in raw honey (melissopalynology) can determine floral sources of honey. Because bees carry an electrostatic charge, and can attract other particles, the same techniques of melissopalynology can be used in area environmental studies of radioactive particles, dust, or particulate pollution.
A main effect of bees collecting nectar to make honey is pollination, which is crucial for flowering plants.
The beekeeper encourages overproduction of honey within the hive so that the excess can be taken without endangering the bees. When sources of foods for the bees are short the beekeeper may have to give the bees supplementary nutrition.

Honey formation
Honey is laid down by bees as a food source. In cold weather or when food sources are scarce, bees use their stored honey as their source of energy. By contriving for the bee swarm to make its home in a hive, people have been able to semi-domesticate the insects. In the hive there are three types of bee: the single queen bee, a seasonally variable number of drone bees to fertilize new queens, and some 20,000 to 40,000 worker bees.

The worker bees raise larvae and collect the nectar that will become honey in the hive. They go out, collect the sugar-rich flower nectar and return to the hive. As they leave the flower, bees release Nasonov pheromones. These enable other bees to find their way to the site by smell.
Honeybees also release Nasonov pheromones at the entrance to the hive, which enables returning bees to return to the proper hive. In the hive the bees use their "honey stomachs" to ingest and regurgitate the nectar a number of times until it is partially digested. It is then stored in the honeycomb. Nectar is high in both water content and natural yeasts which, unchecked, would cause the sugars in the nectar to ferment. After the final regurgitation, the honeycomb is left unsealed. Bees inside the hive fan their wings, creating a strong draft across the honeycomb which enhances evaporation of much of the water from the nectar. The reduction in water content, which raises the sugar concentration, prevents fermentation. Ripe honey, as removed from the hive by the beekeeper, has a long shelf life and will not ferment

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 300 kcal 1270 kJ
82.4 g
- Sugars 82.12 g
- Dietary fiber 0.2 g

0 g
0.3 g
17.10 g
Riboflavin (Vit. B2) .038 mg
Niacin (Vit. B3) .121 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5) .068 mg
Vitamin B6 .024 mg
Folate (Vit. B9) 2 μg
Vitamin C 0.5 mg
Calcium 6 mg
Iron .42 mg
Magnesium 2 mg
Phosphorus 4 mg
Potassium 52 mg
Sodium 4 mg
Zinc .22 mg

Shown is for 100 g, roughly 5 tbsp.
Percentages are relative to US
recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database

Honey is a mixture of sugars and other compounds. With respect to carbohydrates, honey is mainly fructose (about 38.5%) and glucose (about 31.0%), making it similar to the synthetically produced inverted sugar syrup which is approximately 47% fructose, 47% glucose and 5% sucrose. Honey's remaining carbohydrates include maltose, sucrose, and other complex carbohydrates.
Honey contains trace amounts of several vitamins and minerals. As with all nutritive sweeteners, honey is mostly sugars and is not a significant source of vitamins or minerals.
Honey also contains tiny amounts of several compounds thought to function as antioxidants, including chrysin, pinobanksin, vitamin C, catalase, and pinocembrin.
The specific composition of any batch of honey will depend largely on the mix of flowers available to the bees that produced the honey.
Honey has a density of about 1.36 kg/liter (40% denser than water).
Typical honey analysis
Fructose: 38%
Glucose: 31%
Sucrose: 1%
Water: 17%
Other sugars: 9% (maltose, melezitose)
Ash: 0.17%
Other: 3.38%
The analysis of the sugar content of honey is used for detecting adulteration.

Types of honey

Most commercially available honey is blended, meaning that it is a mixture of two or more honeys differing in floral source, color, flavor, density or geographic origin.

Polyfloral honey is derived from the nectar of many types of flowers.

Different monofloral honeys have a distinctive flavor and colour due to differences between their principal nectar sources. Beekeepers keep monofloral beehives in an area where the bees have access to only one type of flower, because of that flower's properties. In practice, because of the difficulties in containing bees, a small proportion of any honey will be from additional nectar from other flower types. Typical examples of monofloral or varietal honeys are "orange blossom", "sage", "eucalyptus", "tupelo", "manuka", "buckwheat", and "clover".

Honeydew Honey
Instead of taking nectar, bees can take honeydew, the sweet secretions of aphids or other plant sap-sucking insects. Bees collecting this resource have to be fed protein supplements, as honeydew lacks the protein-rich pollen accompaniment gathered from flowers.
Germany's Black Forest is a well known source of honeydew-based honeys. Honeydew honey is popular in some areas, but in many areas beekeepers have difficulty selling the stronger flavored product.
Honeydew honey has a much larger proportion of indigestibles than light floral honeys, which can cause dysentery, resulting in the death of colonies in areas with cold winters. Good beekeeping management requires the removal of honeydew prior to winter in colder areas.

Honey processing
Comb honey Honey sold still in the original bees' wax comb. Comb honey was once packaged by installing a wooden framework in special honey supers, but this labor intensive method is being replaced by plastic rings or cartridges. With the new approach, a clear cover is usually fitted onto the cartridge after removal from the hive so customers can see the product].
Certified Organic Honey, according to the USDA, organic honey is quite rare to find because most beekeepers "routinely use sulfa compounds and antibiotics to control bee diseases, carbolic acid to remove honey from the hive and calcium cyanide to kill colonies before extracting the honey, not to mention that conventional honeybees gather nectar from plants that have been sprayed with pesticides."
Raw honey Honey as it exists in the beehive or as obtained by extraction, settling or straining without adding heat above 120 degrees fahrenheit. Raw honey contains some pollen and may contain small particles of wax. Local raw honey is sought after by allergy sufferers as the pollen impurities are thought to lessen the sensitivity to hay fever (see Medical Applications below).
Chunk honey Honey packed in widemouth containers consisting of one or more pieces of comb honey surrounded by extracted liquid honey.
Strained honey or filtered honey Honey which has been passed through a mesh material to remove particulate material (pieces of wax, propolis, other defects) without removing pollen. Preferred by the health food trade - it may have a cloudy appearance due to the included pollen, and it also tends to crystallize more quickly than ultrafiltered honey.
Ultrafiltered honey Honey processed by very fine filtration under high pressure to remove all extraneous solids and pollen grains. The process typically heats honey to 150-170 degrees to more easily pass through the fine filter. Ultrafiltered honey is very clear and has a longer shelf life, because it crystallizes more slowly due to the high temperatures breaking down any sugar seed crystals, making it preferred by the supermarket trade. Ultrafiltration eliminates nutritionally valuable enzymes, such as diastase and invertase
Heat-Treated honey Heat-treatment after extraction reduces the moisture level and destroys yeast cells. Heating liquefies crystals in the honey, too. Heat-exposure does also result in product deterioration, as it increases the level of hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) and reduces enzyme (e.g. diastase) activity. The heat does also affect sensory qualities and reduces the freshness. Heat processing can darken the natural honey color (browning), too.
Ultrasonicated honey Ultrasonication is a non-thermal processing alternative for honey. When honey is exposed to ultrasonication, most of the yeast cells are destroyed. Yeast cells that survive sonication generally lose their ability to grow. This reduces the rate of honey fermentation substantially. Ultrasonication does also eliminate existing crystals and inhibit further crystallization in honey. Ultrasonically aided liquefaction can work at substantially lower temperatures of approx. 35 °C and can reduce liquefaction time to less than 30 seconds.

Other descriptions
Churned honey or creamed honey
Crystallized honey Honey in which some of the glucose content has spontaneously crystallized from solution as the monohydrate. Also called "granulated honey."
Honey fondant
Organic honey is honey produced, processed, and packaged in accordance with national regulations, and certified as such by some government body or an independent organic farming certification organization. For example, in the United Kingdom, the standard covers not only the origin of bees, but also the siting of the apiaries. These must be on land that is certified as organic, and within a radius of 4 miles from the apiary site, nectar and pollen sources must consist essentially of organic crops or uncultivated areas.
Set honey All honey will eventually set or granulate and this process can be reversed by gently warming the honey to remelt it. Some honeys set naturally with large granules and taste a little like granulated sugar in honey. Others set like royal icing - very hard and unspreadable. To overcome this problem beekeepers will mix in a small amount of fine-grained honey before it sets and then gently stir the honey to fix the setting prematurely, before it becomes hard, thereby producing a "soft set" honey.
Spun honey

Honey in history, culture and folklore
In many cultures, honey has associations that go far beyond its use as a food. In language and literature, religion and folk belief, honey is frequently a symbol or talisman for sweetness of every kind.

Honey collection
Honey collection by humans is an ancient activity. Bee Wilson (2004) states that humans began hunting for honey at least 10,000 years ago. Bee Wilson (2004: p.5) evidences this with a depiction a line drawing of a Mesolithic rock painting showing two honey-hunters collecting honey and honeycomb from a wild nest. The two men are - and employ a long wobbly ladder which appears to be made out of a kind of grass in order to reach the wild nest. Both men carry baskets or bags. This rock painting is on a wall in a cave in Valencia, Spain.

Biblical Period
The Old Testament contains many references to honey. The book of Exodus famously describes the Promised Land as a 'land flowing with milk and honey' (33:3). However, the claim has been advanced that the original Hebrew (devash) actually refers to the sweet syrup produced from the juice of the date.[21] In The Book of Judges, Samson found a swarm of bees and honey in the carcass of a lion (14:. In Matthew 3:4, John the Baptist is said to have lived for a long period of time in the wilderness on a diet consisting of locusts and wild honey. The word "honey" appears 73 times in the King James Version of the Bible.

In Jewish tradition, honey is a symbol for the new year – Rosh Hashana. At the traditional meal for that holiday, apple slices are dipped in honey and eaten to bring a sweet new year. Some Rosh Hashana greetings show honey and an apple, symbolizing the feast. In some congregations, small straws of honey are given out to usher in the new year.

Honey plays an important role in the festival of Modhu Purnima, celebrated by Buddhists in India and Bangladesh. The day commemorates Buddha's making peace among his disciples by retreating into the wilderness. The story goes that while he was there, a monkey brought him honey to eat. On Modhu Purnima, Buddhists remember this act by giving honey to monks. The monkey's gift is frequently depicted in Buddhist art.

Mediterranean region
In the Roman Empire, honey was used as a universal sweetener as modern table sugar was only available from India and, thus, was extremely expensive.
In some parts of Greece, it was formerly the custom for a bride to dip her fingers in honey and make the sign of the cross before entering her new home. This was meant to ensure sweetness in her married life, especially in her relationship with her mother-in-law.
In the accounts of the Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Seti I, one hundred pots of honey were equivalent in value to an ass or an ox. Ancient Egyptian and Middle-Eastern peoples also used honey for embalming the dead.
Scythians, and later the other Central Asian nomadic people, for many months drove a wagon with a deceased ruler around the country in their last rites mourning procession, carrying the body in a casket filled with honey.
After his death in battle, the head of Vlad III Ţepeş (of later Dracula fame) was cut off and presented to the Sultan of Turkey, preserved in a jar of honey.

Western culture
In Western culture, bears are depicted as eating honey, even though most bears actually eat a wide variety of foods, and bears seen at beehives are usually more interested in bee larvae than honey. Honey is sometimes sold in a bear-shaped jar.
"Honey", along with variations like "honey bun" and "honeypot" and the abbreviation "hon," has become a term of endearment in most of the English-speaking world. In some places it is used for loved ones; in others, such as the American South, it is used when addressing casual acquaintances or even strangers.

Islamic tradition
The Qur'an mentions rivers of honey in paradise.
"And thy Lord taught the bee to build its cells in hills, on trees and in (men's) habitations...there issues from within their bodies a drink of varying colours, wherein is healing for mankind. Verily in this is a Sign for those who give thought".
There is an entire Surah in Qur'an called (the Bee) al-Nahl. According to the hadith of Bukhari, Muhammad liked honey and other sweet things. Muhammad strongly recommend honey for healing purposes.

Modern use of honey

In 2005, China, Turkey and the US were the top producers of natural honey, reports the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
The main uses of honey are in cooking, baking, as a spread on breads, and as an addition to various beverages such as tea and as a sweetener in commercial beverages such as Sprecher's root beer.
Honey is the main ingredient in the alcoholic beverage mead, which is also known as "honey wine" or "honey beer" (although it is neither wine nor beer). It is also used as an adjunct in beer. Beer brewed with more than 30% honey as a source of sugar by weight, or mead brewed with malt (with or without hops), is known as braggot. Modern microbrews of this style typically call their product "honey beer" instead, however, as "braggot" is an unfamiliar word to most English speakers.
Its glycemic index ranges from 31 to 78 depending on the variety. (http://www.rirdc.gov.au/reports/HBE/05-027.pdf)

Medicinal uses and health effects of honey
For at least 2700 years, honey has been used to treat a variety of ailments through topical application, but only recently have the antiseptic and antibacterial properties of honey been chemically explained. As an antimicrobial agent honey may have the potential for treating a variety of ailments. One New Zealand researcher says a particular type of honey may be useful in treating MRSA. Antibacterial properties of honey are the result of the low water activity causing osmosis, hydrogen peroxide effect, and high acidity.

Osmotic effect
Honey is primarily a saturated mixture of two monosaccharides. This mixture has a low water activity; most of the water molecules are associated with the sugars and few remain available for microorganisms, so it is a poor environment for their growth.

Hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide in honey is activated by dilution. However, unlike medical hydrogen peroxide, commonly 3% by volume, it is present in a concentration of only 1 mmol/l in honey. Iron in honey oxidizes the oxygen free radicals released by the hydrogen peroxide.
C6H12O6 + H2O + O2 → C6H12O7 + H2O2
When used topically (as, for example, a wound dressing), hydrogen peroxide is produced by dilution with body fluids. As a result, hydrogen peroxide is released slowly and acts as an antiseptic.

In diabetic ulcers
Topical honey has been used successfully in a comprehensive treatment of diabetic ulcers when the patient cannot use other topical antibiotics.

The pH of honey is commonly between 3.2 and 4.5. This relatively acidic pH level prevents the growth of many bacteria.

Nutraceutical effects
Antioxidants in honey have even been implicated in reducing the damage done to the colon in colitis. Such claims are consistent with its use in many traditions of folk medicine.

Other medical applications
Some studies suggest that the topical use of honey may reduce odors, swelling, and scarring when used to treat wounds; it may also prevent the dressing from sticking to the healing wound.

Honey has also been used as a treatment for sore throats and coughs for centuries and according to recent research may in fact be more effective than most common medicines.
Honey has been shown to be an effective treatment for conjunctivitis in rats.
Honey (especially when combined with lemon) is often taken orally by pharyngitis and laryngitis sufferers, in order to soothe them.
Though widely believed to alleviate allergies, local honey has been shown to be no more effective than placebos in controlled studies. This may be because most seasonal allergies are caused by tree and grass pollens, which honeybees do not collect.

Due to the natural presence of botulinum endospores in honey, children under one year of age should not be given honey. The more developed digestive systems of older children and adults generally destroy the spores. Infants, however, can contract botulism from honey.

Honey produced from the flowers of rhododendrons, mountain laurels, sheep laurel and azaleas may cause honey intoxication. Symptoms include dizziness, weakness, excessive perspiration, nausea and vomiting. Less commonly, low blood pressure, shock, heart rhythm irregularities and convulsions may occur, with rare cases resulting in death. Honey intoxication is more likely when using "natural" unprocessed honey and honey from farmers who may have a small number of hives. Commercial processing, with pooling of honey from numerous sources generally dilutes any toxins.
Toxic honey may also result when bees are in close proximity to tutu bushes (Coriaria arborea) and the vine hopper insect (Scolypopa australis). Both are found throughout New Zealand. Bees gather honeydew produced by the vine hopper insects feeding on the tutu plant. This introduces the poison tutin into honey. Only a few areas in New Zealand (Coromandel Peninsula, Eastern Bay of Plenty and the Marlborough Sound) frequently produce toxic honey. Symptoms of tutin poisoning include vomiting, delirium, giddiness, increased excitability, stupor, coma and violent convulsions.

As little as one teaspoon of toxic honey may produce severe effects in humans. In order to reduce the risk of tutin poisoning, humans should not eat honey taken from feral hives in the risk areas of New Zealand. Since December 2001, New Zealand beekeepers have been required to reduce the risk of producing toxic honey by closely monitoring tutu, vine hopper, and foraging conditions within 3 km of their apiary.
Roland Camilleri B.Ec. FCPA.

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Post by MWP admin » Sun Dec 09, 2007 1:55 pm

I was wondering if you may in the future include reference from where the text is taken.

PS I was amazed honey contains 1-3% each of Mg, Fe, Riboflavin, other vitamins etc. These are often found in other food in less percentages.
Stephen Mifsud

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Post by ROLCAM » Sun Dec 09, 2007 2:09 pm

The latest article I posted on honey was supplied to me
by a specialist researcher by the name of CLAUDE.
Claude lives in Barcelona , SPAIN.

I believe he is in his eighties.

His contributions are very worth reading and sharing.
Roland Camilleri B.Ec. FCPA.

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