Bee honey is a unique mixture of sugar substances converted (inverted) by hardworking bees. Such a mixture is usually produced from nectar – an aqueous solution of the so-called cane sugar, collected by flying insects from the flowers of various plants.
The content of the article
- 1 What honey is on the market
- 2 Manufacturing process
- 3 What a bee product looks like – color and aroma
- 4 About varieties and classification by composition
- 4.1 Monofloral varieties
- 4.2 Polyfloral varieties
- 5 Cost
What honey is on the market
This beekeeping product is sold in three forms:
- Maybe extruded or self-containedmelted in the sun. This method is extremely rare in modern beekeeping.
- Cell, that is, sold on the market directly in cut or special sectional honeycomb frames. This type of product is also rarely produced in apiaries.
- Centrifugal – This is the most popular and widespread method of obtaining honey. This kind of bee product is obtained in the process of pumping it out at honey extractors.
In all these cases, high grades are obtained. An exception is the product obtained in the process of melting honeycomb frames on fire.
What is considered unnatural honey – characteristics, preparation
What is fake (fake or artificial) honey
The nectar of different plants differs in sugar content. It is influenced by the level of humidity of the air and soil, the ambient temperature. At +10, nectar production stops altogether. Temperature readings from +20 to +30 degrees are optimal for attracting bees.
Sitting on a flower, the bee tastes the nectar with its proboscis. If the concentration of sugar in it is more than 50%, mass harvesting begins. If the sugar content is below 10-5%, the flowers will be ignored.
It should be noted that nectar contains not only sugar, but also many other substances such as:
- amino acids;
- mineral salts;
- vitamin impurities;
- organic acids;
- aromatic substances;
- a small part of phosphorus and nitrogenous compounds.
But the decisive role in honey collection for bees is played by sugar content.
Having tasted the nectar, the bee draws it with its proboscis into a special storage – the goiter. This organ is enriched with invertase – an enzyme (enzyme) that helps to convert nectar into full-fledged honey.
In the future, the nectar is transferred to the collecting bees in the hives, who are engaged in storing and bringing it to readiness.
Pouring fresh honey into the cells of the honeycomb bees wait for it to ripen – release from excess moisture (inversion of sugars), and then seal the finished product with wax caps. They are called caps.
In the cut form, the bead is used for medicinal purposes, or after the honey residues run off, it is reflowed.
The cells in the combs are completely sterile – insects pre-treat them with propolis, which has pronounced antimicrobial properties. It is propolis that prevents honey from losing its liquid consistency (sugar).
In hives, such sweet food is used to feed larvae and adults. Significant reserves of it accumulate in honeycombs. Some of them go to winter, the rest is pumped out by beekeepers for sale.
What a bee product looks like – color and aroma
Natural honey has a taste, color and smell depending on the variety. In consistency, it is a thick, almost transparent, viscous liquid.
The most common color is a variety of yellows, from pale tones to more concentrated shades. There are special varieties that have a dark brown color, for example, this is how honey obtained from conifers looks like.
There are three groups of varieties, distinguished by the color of the bee product:
- moderately colored;
The aroma and color are due to the characteristics of the plant from which the nectar was obtained. If there is no nectar (sugar syrup was used instead by the beekeeper), the product will not smell at all!
The ratio of aromatic compounds in the nectaries of different plants is not the same. Therefore, each variety of bee products will have its own unique aroma. Over time, during storage, it weakens slightly, since the aromatic components are volatile substances.
Pumping and heating during the filling process, used to dissolve the crystals formed, also contributes to a partial loss of odor.
Read more: Crystallization (Sugaring) of Natural Bee Honey
The smell of nectar is formed due to various substances. In total, there are about 120 items, among which the leaders are:
- carboxyl compounds;
Bees are best at preserving the unique aroma – when placed in sealed combs, honey retains all its taste characteristics.
About varieties and classification by composition
Natural flower honey is distinguished by how many plants it is obtained from:
- Collected mainly from one strong honey plant, which determines color and aroma, called monofloral (monofloral), that is, one-component.
- And collected from several plants at once – polyfloral (polyfloral) or multicomponent.
This division is arbitrary, since a single-component product may contain minor impurities of nectar and pollen from other plants.
There are few monofloral varieties on the market. It:
- fireweed (with ivan tea);
- raspberry and others.
Some monofloral varieties are highly questionable. For example, snowdrop honey definitely does not exist. And this is not the only example of sellers passing off wishful thinking!
Read: Monofloral (one-component) honey varieties
Monofloral varieties delight the eye with a variety of colors, which are preserved during crystallization. Here are some examples of colors:
- mustard – dark brown in liquid form, light brown when candied;
- rape – yellow;
- sainfoin – yellow liquid, amber during crystallization;
- sweet clover – amber;
- clover, cornflowers – white-gray during crystallization;
- tartar, phacelia – mother-of-pearl during crystallization;
- fireweed – whitish during crystallization (linden looks the same!), greenish-amber in liquid form;
- coriander – white on crystallization;
- cotton, white acacia – almost colorless, light and transparent;
- heather – dark yellow;
- yellow acacia – dark brown.
Monofloral varieties are named after the plants from which they are obtained (sage, blueberry, mint, and so on).
Natural polyfloral honey is the most frequent guest of fairs and markets. It is easier to get it in an apiary, since the honey harvest falls on the massive flowering of plants (most often it is forbs). His color range is already – from light to dark yellow shades. But in terms of the amount of minerals and vitamins, it is richer than monofloral.
Read: Polyfloral (multicomponent) honey
Polyfloral varieties are distinguished by the time of collection or the area in which honey plants grew (May, forest, field).
A stand-alone variety – bee honey, the most expensive bee product on the market. It is mined according to old technology, keeping bees in logs or tree hollows.
Honeydew honey is also classified as natural, although bees produce it in an unconventional way, licking honeydew on different parts of plants or insects (for example, aphids).
There are also varieties that need to be consumed with great care, as there are contraindications and even recorded harm to human health. Such a product may cause acute poisoning or an allergic reaction.
Read: Poisonous melliferous plants
Read: Special varieties of natural honey
How much natural honey costs per 1 kg depends on its variety, as well as the yield for nectar – in unfavorable years for honey harvesting, the price increases noticeably. The region where this bee product is collected is also important. In difficult conditions for the beekeeper, honey production will cost more.
It should also be borne in mind that any variety sold in a large city costs more than in a province. The average Moscow price tag is from 500 to 700 rubles per kilogram.
The most expensive variety is the so-called beeboard (or wild bee honey)obtained without the traditional beehive and foundation frames. For example, the Tentorium company sells it at $ 38-40 per 0,4 kg package.
Read: What you need to know about wild bees and board honey
Elite monofloral varieties will cost from 600 to 800 rubles per kilogram (acacia, sweet clover, chestnut).
Linden and buckwheat varietiesdespite its excellent taste, it is valued lower – 200-300 rubles.
Polyfloral varieties can be purchased for an average of 400 rubles. These include forest, mountain and meadow varieties based on sainfoin or clover nectar.
Please be reminded that volume and weight will vary! One liter is 1,4-1,5 kilograms. Therefore, a 3-liter can hold 4,5 kg; 2-liter – 3 kg. And half a liter is only 0,75 kilograms.