Why are bees so important? Besides the beautiful, nutritional honey they make, bees also provide us with wax and propolis. Bees play an integral part in our ecosystem by pollinating most of the fruit and vegetables we eat. Bees pollinate our wild flora, which in turn supports insect life. Insects are in turn eaten by birds, bats and other mammals, making bees an integral part of the food chain. Did you know, a single honeybee can visit up to 5000 flowers in one day.
Summer is peak season for bees, with longer days and abundant flowers, bees are at their busiest, tirelessly collecting nectar and pollen to sustain their hives. Bees also have a unique way of staying cool in the summer heat. They create air currents by fanning their wings, helping to regulate the temperature inside the hive. Unlike some other insects, bees don’t hibernate in winter. They remain active within the hive, tending to the queen, caring for the brood, and ensuring the survival of the colony.
We all know honey is good for us but that is generally where our knowledge ends. Here are a few points to guide you to a better understanding of our local honey.
WHAT IS HONEY?
Firstly, honey is essentially dehydrated nectar with added enzymes from the bees. So, when you wonder why each honey has a different aroma, colour, and taste, it will all depend on what nectar those bees were foraging on. For example, the nectar of an Avocado flower will produce a honey that is distinct from the honey produced from the nectar of a Macadamia flower. In the process of extracting honey from the honeycomb, pollen and beeswax particles are found in the honey that has not been highly filtered, adding nutritional value to the honey.
Another issue faced by customers purchasing honey are all the terms used. I will run through the most common ones below:
Raw Honey – Is honey straight from the honeycomb. The only process that is undergone is to sieve the honey to remove small bits of debris such as pollen, beeswax, bees. This honey can appear cloudy or opaque as it contains these extra elements.
Creamed Honey – Is raw honey that has been whipped or ground down to give that silky smooth texture. In this process no nutritional value is lost, nothing is added or taken away. It is merely raw honey with a smoother texture.
Irradiated vs Non–irradiated Honey – All imported honey must, by law, be irradiated. Therefore, irradiated honey is imported, and non-irradiated honey is local. The irradiation process does relieve the honey of nutritional value which is why the health-conscious consumer will generally purchase local honey instead.
HONEY HAS BEEN FOUND TO HAVE A PREBIOTIC EFFECT!
Pre- and probiotics are the words on everyone’s lips at the moment, as gut health has a moment in the limelight. And for good reason! But did you know that honey has been found to have a prebiotic effect? This means that honey can promote the growth of healthy, happy bacteria in the gut. Just another good reason to add honey to your daily diet.
HOW HONEY CAN HELP YOUR SKIN
Honey has anti-inflammatory properties, which means it can help soothe and calm irritated skin. If you have sensitive skin, this is a great solution for you. Honey is rich in antioxidants, which help to protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cells and contribute to premature ageing. Honey has natural antibacterial properties, which means it can help kill bacteria that can cause acne and other skin infections. Honey is a natural humectant, which means it can attract and retain moisture. When applied to the skin, honey helps hydrate and moisturize the skin, leaving it soft and supple.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR HONEY CRYSTALISES?
Crystallization is another hot topic. Crystallization is a natural process that will occur in raw honey. All raw honey will crystallize, different varieties of honey will crystallize at different rates. If your honey does crystalize at home, try avoid over heating it. Simply placing it in a sink of warm water or leaving it on the windowsill on a warm day should bring it back to a more liquid state. Honey that is already crystallized has exactly the same nutritional value as liquid honey and is easier to deal with.
For any further information, feel free to chat to the friendly staff at Thrive or get in touch with us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our Instagram page for more educational posts, honey based recipes and more.
Blog Post by: Anthony Baker – Springvale Honey