Honey bees have been around for millions of years and are the only insects that produces food eaten by humans. Honey is the only food that includes all the substances necessary to sustain life, including enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and water; and it's the only food that contains "pinocembrin", an antioxidant associated with improved brain functioning.
The average worker bee produces about 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime. A entire hive will fly the equivalent of three orbits around the Earth to product 2.2 pounds of honey.
Raw Honey - Honey that is sold as raw contains all the pollen, enzymes and other micro-nutrients that are usually filtered out or destroyed by heat when the honey is processed. Traditionally commercially sold honey is heated and filtered so that it will remain liquid much longer. Raw honey will crystallize quickly due to the fact that it is unfiltered. Many people believe that raw honey contains additional health benefits over processed honey.
Uses - Honey has been used for everything from skincare to mead (honey wine). Honey is widely preferred as a sweetener because it is also a flavor enhancer. The wide variety of flavors available from different honeys makes honey a gourmet's delight.
Many years ago, honey was regularly prescribed for health treatments. Today, honey is used for diaper rashes, stomach ulcers, burns, and even e. coli. Honey and bee pollen also helps with seasonal allergies, although the honey you are taking must be from the same area that you live to be useful in this manner. Do not use bee pollen for allergies if you are allergic to bees. Honey has antibiotic properties that cure many wounds with infection. Honey has long been known to help relieve sore throats when mixed with lemon juice.
Using a jar of organic honey, you can treat your acne. Forget all those high priced acne cleansers and creams at the store. Nothing compares to the natural, curing honey treatment. Simply spoon some out into your hands, hold a few seconds to get it nice and warm and coat your face. Wait at least five minutes, and rinse with a soft, warm washcloth. In no time, you are sure to see the difference! If you want to just spot treat your acne, you can add a dab of honey on your blemish, place a bandage over it, and let it set for 30 minutes. Pretty simple, right?
Do you have dry skin? Rubbing honey on your dry skin leave on for 30 minutes and gently wash away with warm water.
Storage - If properly stored, honey will not spoil: A pot of honey found in an ancient Egyptian tomb was proved to be as wholesome as fresh honey. However, honey will ferment if it is diluted by moisture from the atmosphere or by other liquids. Prevent fermentation by keeping honey containers tightly sealed before and between uses.
Immune System Warning - Honey should not be consumed by infants under one year of age or those with a compromised immune system.
Substituting Honey for Sugar - Replace 1 cup of sugar with 3/4 cup of honey and reduce the liquid in the recipe by ¼ cup. Add a pinch of baking soda to recipes that do not call for sour cream or sour milk, so as to reduce the acidity of the honey.
Cook jellies and jams at higher temperatures when you replace sugar with honey.
Beat honey candies longer, and seal them more tightly when storing them to keep the honey from absorbing atmospheric moisture.
- When baking with honey, lower the oven temperature by 25° to 30° F to prevent over-browning.
- When measuring honey, first coat the measuring utensil with a small amount of oil so the honey will not stick.
- Store honey at room temperature rather than in a refrigerator. Keep it tightly covered and in a dry place.
- If honey granulates, place its container in hot water until the honey re-liquefies.
- Honey, because it is hydroscopic, tends to keep foods moist and tender. Therefore, if you are baking goodies for kids away at school, service members overseas, or friends out of town, always bake with honey to ensure freshness.
Granulation (or crystallization) - Is defined as a natural occurring process of honey that changes it from liquid to solid. Some people think the honey is spoiled as it crystallizes but crystallization in honey occurs when the honey molecules are at optimum temperature. It then begins to crystallize. This has a lot to do with how you store you honey. If you store your honey above 60 degrees Fahrenheit (or in a certain containers the optimum is 57 to 58 degrees) it will crystallize. Levulose and dextrose levels affect crystallization also, so typically the one with the higher dextrose will crystallize more quickly.
Also larger quantities will crystallize if they are stored on a concrete floor and the cold temperatures are drawn up into the container. If the honey re-crystallizes very quickly it only means that the honey did not get properly liquefied which means that the sugar crystals did not get dissolved. So if you place your honey in a pan of water and heat it slowly making sure you dissolve all the crystals you can slow crystallization or it will re-crystallize within just a few days.
Other Bee Products (Fresh Royal Jelly, Bee Pollen & Propolis) - Honey is not the only thing bees produce for food and use in the hive, they also produce fresh royal jelly, bee pollen and propolis. Fresh royal jelly is a super food produced by the bees and fed to the queen her entire life. Normal worker or drone bees just eat honey, but the fresh royal jelly allows the queen to grow much larger than a normal bee and live 50 times longer. Bee Pollen is a super protein rich food that bees feed to young maturing bees so that they can grow fast. Propolis is produced by the bees to help them clean the hive and kill bacteria. All of these products have been shown to have healthful benefits to humans.