Honey is a valuable natural product that is completely absorbed by the body, it is an excellent energizer, which strengthens the immune system and nourishes the brain, normalizes metabolism and stimulates the work of all internal organs, it has bactericidal properties, increases the regenerative capacity of cells and positively influences the psychoemotional background. These unique properties of honey are known to mankind since ancient times. For millennia, honey was eaten and used as a medicine and even for embalming.
From the scientific point of view, honey is a nectar, partially fermented in the goiter of the honey bee (Apis mellifera). Honey from different honey-plants is very different, but contains on average 13-22% of water, 75-80% of carbohydrates (glucose, fructose, sucrose), as well as vitamins B1, B2, B6, E, K, C, carotene (vitamin A provitamin ), Folic acid.
Honey, collected by bees from one plant species, receives the name of this plant - linden, buckwheat, chestnut, etc. Medicinal properties of the plant, as a rule, apply to the properties of honey. If bees collected nectar from different plants, then such honey is usually called simply floral.
Determination of the honey quality is carried out with the help of physical and chemical methods, microscopy, and also organoleptic characteristics, taking into account the consistency (density), color and transparency, aroma and taste. An important indicator of the honey quality is the "diastase number", i.e. enzymatic activity, which determines the value of honey as a medicinal product.
Consistency is not an indicator of the quality of honey. Any honey immediately after evacuation from the honeycomb is liquid, although it has a different degree of density (viscosity), which depends on the water content and ambient temperature. Soon after pumping out of honeycombs, honey crystallizes ("sits down"). Honey does not lose its properties with crystallization. Fructose, which is part of honey, does not crystallize, and the higher its content, the slower the process. Sage, acacia and chestnut honey crystallizes very slowly. When heated, the crystals melt and any honey becomes transparent, but at temperatures above 40 ° C most healing honey compounds break up.
The color of honey is divided into light and dark with numerous transitional shades from white to brown. The color of honey depends on the characteristics of the nectar collected by the bee. The light varieties include linden, acacia, etc. Dark are buckwheat, chestnut, and others.
The aroma of honey depends on those essential oils that are contained in nectar, and is determined by the characteristics of plants. Honey, collected by bees from one particular plant, has its special taste and aroma. The aroma of mixed honey is extremely diverse, but it does not give an opportunity to determine its origin. Honeycombs has a pronounced aroma, which during its subsequent processing and storage weakens.
The taste of honey depends on the concentration of sugars, but its main characteristic is sweetness. In the taste of many varieties there is also an insignificant sourness. Pleasant, tender bitterness distinguishes buckwheat, chestnut and some other varieties. A sharp, sour or bitter taste can only be found in spoiled honey.
Store honey in the dark (light destroys many valuable compounds) and cool place (from +5 ° C to +20 ° C), in a glass or ceramic container. Keep honey tightly closed: it is very hygroscopic (it can sour in the case of high humidity) and can absorbs unwanted smells.