It’s a beautiful Monday morning and the stage seems set for action. Hope you took my advice over the weekend and you’re well rested?
In order to keep the energy pumping all through the week let us look at a very special sweet food, one that can be eaten raw, added to drinks like tea or even water, used for baking, as medicinal treatment or as a spread. It is even recognized in some religious practices. Its use is so versatile and intriguing.
This food is called Honey.
We all know that honey is formed by bees. But we may not know that there are various species of bees like the bubble bees and stingless bees all these make honey too but the most popular honey for human consumption is made by honey bees. This is also because honey farmers would almost always opt to rear a honey bee instead of any other kind of bees except for mayan people who use the stingless bee honey for culinary purposes.
So how is our favourite naturally sweet food made? Honey is made by bees who use the nectar of flowers (various types of flowers) to produce honey through regurgitation. Yes. What we regard to as honey is the end product of partially digested saccharides by a group of bees. Though after regurgitating there is still water present in the honey produced. Evaporation method is used by the bees using their wings to fan the honey to drain it of water. Enzymes from the insect’s digestive system then acts on the product In order to prevent fermentation. They then store this honey in combs in their hives (bee house).
The taste of honey would usually depend on the material (combination of types of flowers) from which it is made. So this would generally explain why the last honey you bought tastes or feels a little different from this new one (for those with a sensitive tongue).
Honey is best kept in airtight containers at 5 degrees centigrade (keep in a fridge). Keep honey covered in airtight cans or bottles because they have a tendency to absorb water in a humid environment and once a substantial amount of water is absorbed, they start to ferment. However, when well preserved and kept, honey can last for decades even centuries.
Honey composes mostly of sugar and very few vitamins like vitamin C, and other minerals though these component would depend on the nectar from which the honey is formed.
HONEY HAS MANY MEDICINAL BENEFITS
1. It is used to treat sores and burns; honey produces some form of hydrogen peroxide that helps to treat and heal wounds and burns
2. When mixed with warm water it is believed to cure asthma
3. Honey is generally used to treat diabetic ulcers where the patient cannot use antibiotics.
4. Increase athletic performance; modern studies, shows that honey is superior in maintaining glycogen levels and improving recovery time than other sweeteners in athletes.
Caution! Honey sometimes contains dormant endospores of the bacterium Clostridium, which can be dangerous to infants, as it can transform into toxin-producing bacteria in infants' immature intestinal tracts, leading to illness and even death.
RECIPES OF HONEY WOULD INCLUDE;
Various home and commercial recipes are made with honey
1. honey can be added to a cup of coffee or tea even corn meal(ogi, akamu) or even cassava flakes (garri) as sweetener
2. it could be used as a spread on freshly baked bread, toast bread, biscuit or sandwich
4. Do you want a little different taste in your baked beans or cooked beans instead of adding sugar add a small portion of honey and the great and unique taste of the dish would be memorable to your guest’s pallet.
5. Commercially it is used to produce Honey wine or mead/ honey beer. The production takes about four to six months.
About seventy percentage (70%) of honey sold is not pure authentic honey. How then can we tell if honey purchased is pure honey?
1. Honey is naturally heavier than water and viscose in nature so it is expected that a drop of pure honey would sink in a glass of water in drops of spherical shapes and not dissolves before getting to the bottom of the glass. So when you put a drop of honey in a glass of water and it settles at the bottom of the glass in drops/bulk there you have a high quality pure honey.
3. An immediate test you can use just before buying a bottle of honey is to stain your clothe with it. Pure honey does not leave a stain on fabrics so if you see a stain after putting it on your clothes then it is impure honey.
4. Another method is the fire test; if you put honey on a thread or ragged clothe and put it in fire if it catches fire instantly then you’ve got pure honey in your hands.
So in all of this I hope I have been able to help you to know the kind of honey to buy and how to identify good quality honey.
In reality honey is not just a food item to be kept in the home, it can also serve as first aid for burns, injuries, sore throats and so on. And because its shelf life is really long, there is no fear in stocking your house full with it.
Till next time stay healthy wealthy and wise Chao!