Honey is a sweet nutrient produced by plant nectars or secretions in flowers through bees. Honey varieties are formed according to the plant source used by hard-working bees. Flower honey and honeydew honey are among these varieties. Honey with high nutritional value is processed into honeycombs by bees. These honeycombs are also formed by bees. They store secretions that they collect from flowers in tiny hexagonal boxes. The formation of honey is not as easy as it seems.
Bees circulate in almost 4000 flowers for 1 gram of honey and get secretion from those flowers. Bees carrying the healing of thousands of different flowers fill their honeycombs with excellent workmanship and produce honey that we consume during the day. Consisting of the enormous cooperation of bees and flowers, honey appears as strained and honeycomb honey after the processing. In this article, I will answer curious questions about honey processing.
Honey Processing Steps
Honey Pasteurization Process
Heat treatment of foodstuffs from 60 ° C to 100 ° C is called pasteurization. With the pasteurization process, the microorganisms and enzymes found in foodstuffs are killed and the shelf life of the foodstuff is extended. The reason for pasteurization in honey is completely different from other foodstuffs. Honey is pasteurized in order to eliminate the saccharification phenomenon, which is also called “crystallization” among the people.
Honey Draining Process
Machines are available on the market by the manufacturers to drain the honeycomb honey taken from the hive. People who adopt beekeeping as a hobby and profession can benefit from these machines if there are many honeycombs. Of course, it may be a little costly to pay for the machines for a few combs. If you want to drain at home, you can perform honeycomb honey extraction with a few easy methods.
While bees produce honey, they finally cover the honey with a membrane called the glaze. If there are glazes in the honeycomb you will filter, you should first get these glazes. With the help of a knife, you can scrap these glazes. Then you should wrap the honeycomb with a clean, non-worn white cheesecloth. Place a wide plate or storage container underneath, hanging your honeycomb in a clean and dust-free place. After a while, your honey will leave the honeycomb and get drained.
There is another practical way to filter your honeycomb honey. Have you ever thought that the vegetable drying apparatus will be useful for your honey extraction? Yes, you can also filter the honeycomb honey with the tool you use the vegetable drying process. To do this, put your honey in the vegetable dryer and turn it quickly. After this process, honeycomb pieces may get mixed to your honey, albeit a little. If you want pure honey, you can put cheesecloth in the dryer.
Honey Filtration Process
Removal of solid particles in the natural structure of honey, such as bee pollen, from honey, is called filtration. There is another process that looks quite similar on the surface, but is quite different and reduces the health benefits of honey: filtering. The only thing done in the process of draining honey is that wax pieces are separated from non-fluid honey using a kind of cheesecloth-like material. Pollen passes through the screen thanks to their fine structure – which is already desirable. However, the filtering process also separates small particles such as pollen from the honey and causes the honey to move away from its raw state.
Another process called pressure filtering is used in larger-scale productions. I am talking about mega-machines that gush out honey at super speed. The problem with this process is that the temperature is generally kept high in order to facilitate working with honey; the higher the temperature, the more liquid the honey becomes. However, this process is not only for pasteurizing honey; at the same time, it guarantees that the honey is purified from the elements that make honey.
Bee pollen is one of the factors that cause crystallization in honey. A detailed filtration process is performed to prevent crystallization. The enzymes of the substance obtained by pasteurizing, that is, cooking and changing its structure, have died. The honey, which was subjected to a fine filtration in order not to crystallize, completely or partially lost the pollen in it.
Honey Storage Process
The crystallization of honey is one of the biggest problems in the kitchen. Crystallization is quite normal. It is a symptom that shows that honey is saturated with glucose. This situation is sometimes perceived as a commercial game. There are statements that the honey having added sugar syrup crystallizes. In fact, the situation is different. Natural and pure honey can freeze in cold weather conditions. If you keep your frozen honey in a bowl full of water without coming into contact with water, your honey will come to the consistency to be eaten.
You should also take measures to prevent your honeycomb honey from crystallizing and to deteriorate. Preservation conditions are very important to keep the taste fresh like the first day. Generally, there are problems such as getting wormy caused by mistakes made in storage conditions. Honeycomb honey that is not stored under the necessary conditions will deteriorate. First of all, you shouldn’t keep your honey in the refrigerator. It is suitable for neither too cold nor too sun-exposed. Cool places will be an ideal location for hiding honey.
When storing honeycomb honey, you should take care that its lid is closed. If it gets air, moisture and deterioration will occur. It is very likely that your honey will become moldy in humid and dusty environments. You should stay away from metal products during the storage process. Due to the ingredients in metal products, it will affect the flavor of honey and destroy its nutritional value. Using glass products may be better for your health. You can use a wooden spoon to serve. You should always consume your honey obeying the honey storage conditions I have expressed.
Honey Melting Process
When buying and consuming honey, the question of “does it freeze” mostly comes to mind? Of course, all of the natural honey types will freeze in cold weather conditions. Crystallization will occur with freezing. Especially in natural and floral honey types, freezing is observed. Get rid of the thoughts of throwing your honey in the trash just because it is frozen. Because you can melt your honey with natural methods.
Doctors recommend that honey be eaten as it is so that its nutritional value is not lost. But if you still want to melt; You can keep your honey in a bowl filled with hot water with a separate container. You can heat your honey in a saucepan filled with low heat and without touching it with water. You should not forget that the enzymes, vitamins, protein, and minerals in the honey will decrease with this method.
How to Tell If the Processed Honey is Genuine?
Many types of honey are sold in the market. It should be known that honey is a type of natural dessert with high economic value. It is an obvious fact that honey at very low prices is not natural. For this reason, it is necessary to be very careful while buying honey. It is known that honey made with sugar syrups only gives sweetener to the body. There are many differences between genuine honeycomb honey and unnatural honeycomb honey. This difference is evident primarily by its price.
In appearance, it is impossible to distinguish fake and real honey. The differences can only be revealed by the analysis in a laboratory environment. Beekeepers producing false honey feed the bees with sugar. They also offer medicated honeycombs under the name of real honey. In order not to buy fake honey, you can choose a little more carefully and buy quality honey from brands you trust.
What Are the Benefits of Processed Honey?
The benefit of honey for human health is a fact known for years. It is also very effective for children. But there is a fine line to know. Children under 1 year old should never be given honey. The reason for this is that the botulinum bacteria in honey is harmful to children whose immune system is not developed. The immune system will become stronger in children after 1 year. Children who consume honey before the age of one may experience conditions such as asthma and stroke. The benefits of honey, which has a high nutritional value, are:
- Honey is the most natural sweetener. It functions as natural sugar in those who cannot drink tea without sugar. With a little honey that you will add to your tea, you can make your tea healthier.
- It can also be used as a natural wound healing cream. Your skin will recover if you apply honey to cut and open wounds.
- Honeycomb honey is a natural antioxidant. By consuming it for breakfast every morning, you can be more resistant by removing the harmful substances in your body.
- Honey is an antibacterial food. This feature was discovered by the Assyrians.
- It is the basic carbohydrate center. 1 tablespoon honeycomb honey how many calories? We can say that there is 64 kcal of energy. This figure is a very important value for your muscles.
- Honeycomb honey is a food that leaves positive effects on skin health. Honey extracts are used in cosmetic products, especially skincare creams. It softens and moisturizes your skin.
- It contains a lot of healing as it is formed by the contribution of thousands of flowers. All healing from plants is hidden in a spoonful of honey.
How to Eat Processed Honey?
The healthiest form of honey is to be eaten without any heat treatment. It would be better to consume your frozen honey without heating it. You can be sure that it will leave a great taste with your toasted bread for your breakfasts. Apply butter on a slice of your freshly baked bread and then add some honey onto it. If you consume honeycomb honey every morning, you can make your immune system even healthier.
You can also prepare snacks with milk or yogurt. If you add a tablespoon of honeycomb honey in a glass of milk, you can drink milk with honey in its most natural form. If you are experiencing stomach pain, mix your honey with warm water and drink it every morning. You will feel that the pain in your stomach is relieved. Quality and natural honeycomb honey prices start from $50. A honeycomb can weigh about 1 kilogram. If you want to buy natural honey, you should prefer a known brand.
What Is Unprocessed Honey
Raw honey has never been processed, it has not lost its natural honey enzymes and it does not lose its pollen, so it preserves its value. In other words, it is the honey produced without interfering with the bees. There are two main factors that determine the degree of honey’s rawness: heat and texture.
- Heat Effect
The technical definition of raw honey means that it is not superheated after pasteurization. So what does this mean? To understand this, first of all, it is necessary to understand what is in a beehive. When honey bees are at work, their collective body temperature rises, and eventually, they warm up their workplaces – that is, honey. The temperature of an active hive is about 35 ºC, and honey remains stable and ‘alive’ at this temperature – more precisely, enzymes that give honey its nutritional quality remain alive. As long as the temperature of the honey does not exceed 35 ºC, the honey is not pasteurized and remains raw. This pure honey is still in raw condition unless the honey is heated enough to exceed the heat of the hive.
- Texture Effect
When people are looking for raw honey, they usually prefer jars that look opaque and have black dots inside. When they open the jar, they hope they will find almost solid, sandy and pasty honey. However, honey with these properties can contain anything potential that can come out of a hive: honey, beeswax, pollen, bee resin, royal jelly and even bee itself. Are those black dots? They may have relationships with the bees’ legs. (But don’t worry, bees are very hygienic animals.)
Many people are unable to cope with this fact and experience some kind of inner struggle between what they think is best for their health and what they really want to eat. But remember, being ‘raw’ is about heat, not texture. However, it should be noted that these additional “things” in honey have their own benefits; so it is worth the money and effort.
Best Honey Processing Equipment That You Can Buy Online
- VIVO Honey Harvesting Beekeeping Starter Tool Kit, Set of 5, Double Sieve Honey Strainer, Frame Holder, Brush, Uncapping Knife, Uncapping Fork (BEE-KIT4) (Price: $34.99)
- VINGLI 4 Four Frames Manual Crank Honey Extractor #304 Stainless Steel Beekeeping Pro Extraction Equipment Honeycomb Spinner Drum Honey Separator Commercial Honey Centrifuge with Adjustable Stands (Price: $138.99)
- ZENY Pro 2 Frame Stainless Steel Manual Crank Bee Honey Extractor Honeycomb Spinner Drum, Heavy Duty Beekeeping Equipment Commercial (Price: $99.99)
- BestEquip Manual Honey Extractor 2 Frame Bee Extractor Stainless Steel Honeycomb Spinner Crank Beekeeping Equipment (Price: $95.99)
- Fasmov Stainless Steel Double Sieve Honey Strainer Beekeeping Equipment Mesh Filter Screen (Price: $16.99)