Honey is the most splendid gift to the mankind. It is a rich food and excellent medicine. It is natural sweet liquid made by the honeybees using nectar of flower by unique process it has many micro elements which are highly beneficial for the human body. Its unique composition gives healing for the many diseases and elevate body's defense mechanism to keep away diseases.
Honey has a long history in human consumption, and is used in various foods and beverages as a sweetener and flavoring. It is also used in various medicinal traditions to treat ailments. It has a role in religion and symbolism.
Color, consistency, aroma(smell) and taste of honey vary based on the nectar source.
MYTH : Pure Honey is not or rarely available these days .
FACT : Production of natural honey in India is more than 70,000 Tonnes per year of which around 25000 Tonnes of natural honey is exported . The demand of honey is India is lot more than the production therefore lot of adulterated or fake honey is sold in India. Of which most common now a days is invert sugar,liquid glucose and high fructose corn syrup .The need of the hour is to know the correct method to determine purity of honey.
MYTH : Honey can easily be tested for its purity by conventional ( House Hold Methods )like
a) Slowly dropping honey in a glass of water, pure honey settles in the bottom without dissolving .
b) Dog will not eat bread if pure honey is applied on it .
c) Cotton wet in honey will not carbon smoke when burnet .
d) If applied on eye burn will be more if honey is pure .
FACT : All these tests analyze only physical nature of given liquid (honey). The most commonly available fake honey (invert sugar) passes most of the age old methods of testing honey as its physical nature resembles honey . Honey can only be tested for its purity by chemical tests ( laboratory analysis).
MYTH : Pure honey does not Crystalize (GRANULATE OR SOLIDIFY), if honey turns to solid or cream form then it is impure .
FACT : Within few weeks to few months of extraction of honey from there combs many varieties (almost 80%) of honey crystallizes or turn into solid or creamy form ,Crystallization can be delayed by proper processing and filtering it but can't be stopped without heavy heating or adding few Anti-granulating chemical agents (which completely denatures the honey and may cause health hazards), but because of the strong Myth against crystallization in India and middle east countries many commercial brands are bond to do this evil thing .
Apart from variety of honey rate of crystallization also depends on atmospheric temperature, less the temperature faster will be the crystallization hence crystallization will be faster in cold weather and it is always advised not to keep honey in refrigerator .
You can always find this " sentence " on every brand of honey label.
[ Do not refrigerate honey , honey tends to crystallize , to liquefy crystallized honey keep in warm water or sunlight ]
Crystallization does not affect the flavor , taste or quality of honey it is natures process to preserve honey, once crystallized honey will be preserved and it can be used after 100s of years . Honey fond in the Egyptian pyramid was crystallized and was edible even after 1000s of year .
MYTH : Light color honey is of superior quality .
FACT : Color of natural honey ranges from light artery color to dark amber color , it depends on the floral source and pollen content of honey . Irrespective of color all types of honey has almost same nutritional & medicinal value .
MYTH : Thick consistency honey (i.e.which does not flow easily )is of superior quality .
FACT : Honey contains moisture level ranging from 18%- 25% according to time and season of harvesting , less the moisture thicker will be the honey . Only difference between thin and thick honey is its moisture content other nutritional content will be same . Few brands of honey deliberately thickens honey (by processing it) to be more appealing in the market .
MYTH : Only small bee honey has medicinal value .
FACT : There are mainly 5 varieties of honey bee fond in India.
a) Apis dorsata (Rock bee honey) .
b) Apis florae (Small hives on trees) .
c) Apis cerena indica (Indian bees which can be domesticated ) .
d) Apis mellifera (Italian bee domesticated in India for larger production) .
e) Apis trigona (Smallest bee produces sour honey, no commercial production) .
All the bees have almost same process of making honey that is they collect nectar from flowers(exception dew honey) and by the process of regurgitation converts them into honey and store them in their hives. Basically there is no qualitative difference in honey , all types of honey has almost same nutritional and medicinal value , only difference is of quantity of production .
MYTH : Honey will not spoil in any condition .
FACT : Honey will not spoil only if properly harvested ( moisture level should be less than 20%), handled and stored (only in glass or stainless steel container). Otherwise honey tends to ferment and produce acidic smell . Other change which will happen is, honey darken with age .
MYTH : Domesticated or beekeeping honey is artificial honey and it does not have medicinal value . Only the honey which is wildly available in forest areas has medicinal benefits .
FACT : There are two types of honey bee in India which are used for domestication (beekeeping), apis cerena indica & apis mellifera, the nature of these bees are to form their hives only in darker places (like inside hollow tree , rocks or in soil etc ). A beekeeper will give a ready-made house for bees that is called bee box. Bees will store honey in those combs by the same process (i.e. collect nectar from flowers and convert them to honey) . Beekeeper will hygienically extract the stored honey from these boxes , and again keep back those combs which is again filled by the bees . A professional bee keeper will migrate the boxes from one place to other place in search of flowers which will give him more and more honey . Beekeeper will migrate these boxes around 4-5 places round the year and keep on collecting honey . The honey produced using the beekeeping method is same or some way superior to the tribal collected squeezed forest honey. (reason : more hygienic process , comb not destroyed , free from remnants of bees, larvae and dust).
The basic myth or doubt related to this kind of (beekeeping) production of honey is beekeeper may feed the artificial things like sugar syrup etc to produce honey . The fact is that it can easily be identified with laboratory test , the value of sucrose will be more than 5% and that kind of honey will be rejected from Agmark parameter . Migratory beekeeper often don’t need to feed sugar syrup unless bees are dying because of non availability of flowers .
At room temperature honey is a super cooled liquid in which the natural dextrose will precipitate slowly into solid granules . This process is called crystallization or granulation of honey .
Within few weeks to few months (according to variety of floral source) of extraction of honey from combs many varieties of crystallizes into cream colored solid , some varieties (like acacia and saga honey) crystallizes less regularly where as some varieties ( like mustard honey) produced in India crystallizes within days after extraction (honey variety name is given according to dominant flower or nectar available in the area of procurement) .
Rate of crystallization also depends on atmospheric temperature , lesser the temperature faster will be the crystallization. Hence it is always advised not to keep honey in refrigerator.
Crystallization does not affect the flavors , taste or quality or medicinal properties of honey. Honey that has crystallized over time (or commercially purchased crystallized honey)in home can be returned to liquid state if stirred in a container sitting in warm water or kept in sunlight.
Crystallized honey is a honey in which natural dextrose content has spontaneously crystallized from solution of monohydrate.
Pasteurized honey is a honey that has heated in a pasteurization process (72 degree centigrade and above). Pasteurization process destroys yeast cells, it will also liquefy micro crystals in honey (which promotes crystallization process by forming nuclei of crystallization). Hence delays the onset of crystallization process .
Honey has been passed through mesh material to remove particulate material (pieces of wax , propolis and other defects)without removing pollen ,minerals and valuable enzymes.
Honey is passed through a fine filters under high pressure to remove all extraneous solid and pollen grains.The process typically heats honey to high temperature ( more than 77 degree centigrade) to more easily pass through a fine filter . Ultra filtered honey is very clear and has longer shelf life . It will crystallize very slowly making it preferable for super markets.
It is also called creamed honey ,spun honey ,churned honey ,candied honey or set honey (in u.k). Honey has been processed for controlled crystallization and whipped honey contains a large number of small crystals which prevents formation of large crystals (which can occur in unprocessed honey) . The processing also produce a honey with smooth spreadable consistency,in short honey is deliberately crystallized for easier use.
For many ailments that taste wonderful. Even small children love the taste of Pure Honey. It's a booster for a large number of recipes. In any recipe that calls for granulated sugar you can substitute with Pure Honey. Simple use less amounts of Pure Honey. Your taste buds will let you decide when you have reached the amount you are happy with. 3/4 cup of Pure Honey = 1 cup of sugar as a rule of thumb. However, depending on where the bees are foraging you may want to add a little or subtract a little, it really depends on each individual.Many doctors recommend EQUAL PARTS of Pure Honey, lemon and whiskey as an extremely effective COUGH SYRUP. Pure Honey, nature's gold.
Compare this to sugar or sugar products which seem to trigger the appetite. Eat a sugar-based cake and you want another piece, but eat a cake made of Pure Honey and you are quickly full and feel you have had enough. For all these reasons Pure Honey is the most perfectly balanced food you could possibly eat.
The fake & adulterated honey in the market passes most of the age old methods (conventional) of testing honey. As the makers of fake honey copy the physical nature of honey. Few of the fake honey available in the market appears superior than the pure natural honey as they appear more shining, more thick liquid & more attractive color. But it cannot pass even the preliminary tests framed for analysis of honey in the laboratory.
The problem of adulteration is not limited to the local area, state or country it is a global problem. The need of the hour is to know the most advance method of testing honey & utilize it to get the most genuine honey & there by its health benefits.