Why You Should Keep Honey in Your Kitchen
HOW BEES MAKE HONEY
Bees consume nectar from flowers or from honeydew left on plants by aphids and other insects after they consume plant sap. Bees use nectar and honeydew as energy so they can fly around collecting more nectar to store in a special "honey stomach" separate from their regular stomach.
Back at the hive bees work together to regurgitate and re-consume and partially digest the nectar which at this point now contains enzymes and proteins from their hypopharyngeal glands which are a sort of salivary gland. This process, which can take 20 minutes or more, aerates and partially dehydrates the nectar. It also converts the sucrose in the nectar to glucose and fructose and starches and proteins are broken down.
Next, bees store this nectar in honeycombs and use their body heat to keep the honeycomb at around 95 degrees F. and flap their wings to cause the nectar to dehydrate. This process also prevents wild yeast from propagating because the water content is reduced to below 20%. Otherwise yeast would ferment the nectar and spoil it before it can become honey.
Finally, the female bees consume some some of the honey to use to make wax which they use to cap the honeycomb cells to seal for storage and later use.
Bees make more honey than their colony needs so beekeepers are able to harvest a lot of it while still leaving enough for bees to continue to thrive.
TYPES OF HONEY
Bees consume nectar from various types of flowers to honey is usually classified by the types of flowers the bees feed on. Examples include wildflower, clover, alfalfa, and buckwheat. Each type has its own aroma and flavor and are selected for use based on those flavors. For example, wildflower and clover honey will have a mild, herbal aroma and flavor and may be more suitable for use in tea where buckwheat honey will have a more earthy flavor and may be more suitable for making sauce with.
USES FOR HONEY IN THE KITCHEN
- As a Sweetener: Honey can be used to sweeten tea, yoghurt or as a substitute for sugar when baking to make your goodies more exam
- moist and add color.
- As a Cooking Ingredient: Honey is a bonafide cooking ingredient. Mixed with olive oil, lemon pepper seasoning, honey, lemon juice, lemon zest and salt you can make great lemon pepper wings.
To Make Sauce: Honey is a great addition to making a great bbq or hot wing sauce.
- As a Condiment: Honey makes a great drizzle on biscuits, waffles and even chicken.