Honey

Honey

1) History
It is hard to say for how long honey has been around. Some fossils of honey bees, for example, date as far as 150 million years back, whereas the earliest records of beekeeping were found in Spanish caves from approximately 7000BC. Despite the fact that the exact birth date of honey cannot be established, it is clear that it is a very old product indeed.

In ancient Egypt honey was used as a sweetener as well as a gift for gods. It was also used in production of embalming fluid. Ancient Greeks also used honey as an offering to their gods. Their recipe books are full of dished made of honey. Beekeeping was wide spread across Roman Empire as well. Honey did not lose its importance throughout Renaissance era. However, when sugar began to be manufactured it largely replaced honey.

2) Flavour
Honey has a very distinct sweet taste, which is hard to find in any other product. However aroma, taste and colour of honey can vary. It is largely determined by the type of flower from which the nectar is collected. Some varieties of honey double the characteristics of the plants. It is particularly true for Orange Blossom, Lime Blossom, Rosemary and Thyme honey.

3) Nutritional value

Two main ingredients of honey, which also give honey the sweetness it has, are inverted sugars levulose and dextrose. While dextrose is half as sweet as cane-sugar, levulose is twice as sweet. In fact, levulose is the sweetest of all sugars created by nature. Apart from inverted sugars, honey contains volatile oil, mineral elements, enzymes and some amount of vitamins. With regard to vitamins, suggested amount of those cannot be agreed on, but it is generally believed that the amount is close to negligible. Minerals present include calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. Similarly to colour, taste and aroma content of honey can vary. For example, darker honeys contain more minerals, particularly iron, copper and manganese.

4) Usage
Being a truly unique product, honey has a particularly wide usage

    • Cooking

Honey can substitute sugar in many dishes. Due to the fact that it is sweeter than sugar, you need to use less honey. At first try replacing only half the sugar with honey as the flavour can be very strong. Honey is hygroscopic substance, which means that it attracts water. This makes honey good for baking cakes as it keeps them moister for longer.

    • Beverages

Honey can be added to all sorts of beverages. One teaspoon of honey added to a cup of coffee or tea imparts an exquisite aroma. Lemonades, sodas and fruit punches, mixed with well-ripened honey are truly delicious. Alcoholic drinks, cocktails and whisky can also be mixed with honey. There is a great variety of cocktails that have honey among their ingredients.

    • Medicine

The antiseptic qualities of honey were discovered a very long time ago. Historically if has been used for treatment of burns and cuts. It is believed that honey can stimulate the growth of tissue involved in healing. It makes healing faster and reduces scarring. Honey is also a great source of antioxidants.

    • Energy booster

The natural sugars in honey are very quickly digested by the body. This is why honey is a great energy booster. It is often used by sportsmen and athletes for replenishing energy. In addition, honey appears to stand out as a great source of carbohydrate to ingest with post-workout protein supplements.

   • Beauty
Honey's ability to attract and retain moisture makes it one of the most values components in beauty treatments. It is believed that honey was a part of Cleopatra's daily beauty ritual.

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