Honey, the sweet gooey food bees produce from the nectar of flowers, is a popular sweetener in cooking and baking. Have you ever wondered how honey is produced and why bees make honey in the first place? Honey is produced by bees regurgitating the nectar they have drunk into each other's mouths (and back again) until it is partially digested. It is then stored in the honeycomb until evaporation makes it thick. Honey is actually food for bees too; they eat what they have stored in their hives during the winter months.1
There are numerous kinds of honey, which differ in color and flavor based on which plants the nectar came from. Clover honey is the most common type, but you can also find wildflower honey, lavender honey, orange blossom honey, manuka honey, etc.2
Honey can crystallize over time; it is still perfectly safe (in fact, honey has no expiration date) and can be returned to a more fluid state by reheating it.3
Many people proclaim the health benefits of honey, saying it possesses antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. Although the extent of its health benefits in humans remains unclear, studies have indeed confirmed that honey can help with cold symptoms and even heal wounds and prevent infections. If you're looking to reap the potential health benefits, dark raw (i.e. less processed) honey is likely the best option.4 However, it is important to note honey is still sugar and should be consumed in moderation.
Buying local honey from beekeepers in your area not only supports your community but helps those beekeepers protect bees! LocalHarvest can help you locate some tasty honey produced near you.
The nutrition DNA of honey. For example, you can see that 1 tablespoon honey covers 58% of your daily allowance of sugar and 6% of the recommended Carbohydrates intake. Hover over the bars to see which nutrient is covered.