Embracing the purity of raw honey

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Honey bees collect sugary nectar from flowers in the field to make sticky, delicious honey. They then transform that nectar with their honey-making magic into the liquid gold honey we know today, complete with its many flavors and varieties. Honey is a pure, natural treat. By understanding what happens behind the scenes – from the buzzing bees in the hive to the honey that ends up on our table – we can appreciate how it truly is.

This golden nectar is produced by Nature in its purest form, straight from the hives.

The Natural Process Of Honey Creation

How does this sweet nectar turn into honey? Honey bees slurp the nectar with their long tongues when they visit flowers. As they return to the hive, they store the nectar in their honey stomachs. They pass the nectar mouth-to-mouth on to their house bees, who then begin to break down its complex sugars to simpler sugars such as fructose or glucose.

It’s still not, honey! House bees must reduce the water content of the nectar by fanning it with their wings in order to evaporate moisture. Honeycomb cells are hexagonal, which helps expose more surface to air and remove moisture. The bees will seal the honeycomb cell with wax once the nectar has reached a concentration of about 80%. Raw honey is that concentrated liquid.

Honey’s color and taste are affected by the type of nectar that bees collect. Honey made from orange flower nectar, for example, is a light color. Honey from avocados or wildflowers, on the other hand, can be a dark amber. Raw honey is the same no matter what the source. It retains all the nutrients and flavors of the nectar.

The Hive: The Journey Inside

It is helpful to imagine the journey of the raw honey inside the hive. Honey is produced entirely within the confines and without the involvement of humans.

Scout bees begin by searching for flower nectar sources as far away as 6 miles from the hive. Foraging bees collect nectar from 50 to 100 flowers per collection trip. They then store it in their honey stomachs, which are enlarged pouches that can hold 70 mg of sweet nectar. These bees make 8-10 foraging trips a day and bring nectar to the hive.

The younger bees in the hive then chew the nectar, breaking it down into simple sugars, fructose, and glucose. The bees deposit the nectar in the hexagonal cells of a honeycomb made from beeswax.

The water evaporates as more nectar is added. This process is aided by bees fanning their wings inside the hive to create a current of air. The constant fanning of the bees’ wings circulates air, speeding up the evaporation process. After nearly 20% of its water content evaporates, nectar becomes honey.

The bees will seal the cell once the nectar has reached the ideal concentration, which is less than 20% of water. Here, the honey is stored until it’s ready to eat. This all-natural, unadulterated process in the hive is what ensures that raw honey remains pure.

Beekeepers – The Guardians Of Honey Production

Beekeepers are vital in managing hives to ensure good honey production while not depriving bees of food. A healthy beehive of 60,000 bees will produce 55 pounds of honey surplus each year. Beekeepers typically collect honeycomb frames during the summer when production is at its peak to obtain this honey.

Honey production is affected by climate, flora, and the number of managed beehives. The top honey-producing states of the U.S. are listed below, along with their total annual production in pounds.

First, use a heated knife or fork to remove the wax cap from the comb. The frames are spun with an extractor at 300 rpm by centrifugal forces to force honey out. Honey flows down the sides and then through a filter, which removes any wax particles or impurities.

For efficiency, commercial operations may opt for automatic extractors and uncappers. Many local beekeepers, however, prefer manual extraction methods. The wet frames, after extraction, are given back to the bees so that they can be filled with honey. Beekeepers take care not to take excessive amounts of honey. They ensure that the bees will have enough honey to last the winter by providing them with a store of at least 60 pounds. They are essential to maintaining healthy beehives and obtaining raw honey of high quality.

Ensure Purity from Hive to Home

Beekeepers must maintain the natural purity of raw, unpasteurized honey during extraction, straining, and bottling. Honey does not require to be heated after initial filtering. Heat can negatively affect the nutritional and flavor composition.

Honey should be stored in its original state without being heated or pasteurized. Raw honey should be labeled as “unpasteurized,” “unheated,” and thick, grainy honey rather than thin and liquid honey.

Honey bees produce a variety of flavors that are unique to honey.

Final Thoughts

Honey’s long journey from flower nectar to syrup is completed in the beehive. Beekeepers help to take care of the beehives and then carefully remove this gift of Nature from them. We can appreciate the most pure and nutritious honey by choosing raw honey that has not been processed.

Next time you add honey to your tea or drizzle some on a muffin, remember that this is a product from a store, not something you can buy. It’s a taste of mother nature!

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