Anything that is made by a bunch of mindless insects probably isn't all that fascinating, right? Well although honey is made by millions of swarming insects using a very "low tech" process, it remains one of the most amazing foods on our palette. In fact, scientists are still trying to determine even more uses for this wonder food to this very day.
Ancient civilizations also recognized honey as a truly marvelous food with many excellent qualities. At one point in time during the Roman Empire the Romans paid honey as taxes. This reflects the importance of this wonder food in their lives, even if it was not for the entire thousand years of their rule.
However, human civilization and honey existed much before the Roman Empire. Archeologists have found paintings dating back over 9,000 years in caves that have honey depicted in them. Human beings cherished honey since it was the only means of sweetening the food until refined sugar and molasses were discovered.
The flowers, which the bees select to get the nectar from, are decisive in determining the taste and color of honey. Thus, you can easily get honey in different varieties having different taste and color. It is amazing to know that there are over 300 different types of honey available in the market.
In terms of chemical analysis, honey is essentially a form of naturally refined sugar. It is basically 38 percent fructose, 31 percent glucose, 1 percent sucrose, and 9 percent other sugars, though there can be some variations in the ratios. The remaining 21 percent of honey is made up of vitamins, minerals, water, and various amino acids. Scientists have shown a keen interest in these vitamins, minerals, and amino acids because of their potential medical benefits.
Honey has been found with mummies that was still perfectly safe to eat. The reason why honey does not spoil (when properly stored) is due to the fact that it has bioactive agents that repel germs and bacteria. This is why honey can be used as a topical treatment for burns and other wounds because it prevents the injury from becoming infected. However, the bioactive agents begin to break down due to heat and light so honey must be stored in a cool, dark place in order to retain its bacteria-repelling properties.
Most commonly found variety of honey is liquid honey though there are several other varieties also available. Liquid honey is removed from the comb using centrifugal, gravity or straining methods. Then you can get it filtered to remove the impurities, air bubbles and other small particles. You can even get it strained to remove the above-mentioned undesirables but in this case some of the small particles and air bubbles are left behind.
Honey remains the only naturally refined sugar available and it has been part of human history since before recorded time. Able to repel bacteria and still be edible after centuries of being buried with mummies, honey truly is a remarkable food. The benefits and secrets of honey are still being revealed by scientists today and there may still be some medical miracles waiting to be discovered in honey that could really benefit all of humanity. Even if not, honey is still one of the sweetest substances on earth that is just a treat to eat.
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Gillian Stell is the owner and operator of F honey, the #1 source on the internet for information about honey. For questions or comments about this article visit: www.flahoney.com/articles
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