As a kid, I didn't like honey because … I found it too sweet! Needless to say my taste buds have evolved and I have gradually come to appreciate the honey and, more importantly, the wonderful creatures that miraculously make it for us. As this is a cooking site I won't dwell on the fascinating world of bees, but I could not resist adding a few interesting facts about bees themselves in the section below.
But back to honey. Honey is a nature's energy booster. It contains both glucose, for instant energy, and fructose, which is absorbed by the body more slowly for a sustained energy source. Pinocembrin, which is a health-promoting antioxidant, can only be found in honey and apart from being a natural sweetener, honey also contain anti-bacterial and healing properties.
- It seems that Ancient Egyptians relayed on honey as their key ingredient in medicine. Out of 900 remedies that existed in those times and are known to us today, more than 500 have been identified as honey based.
- Contrary to the general belief that honey is the only food that never spoils, honey can actually absorb moisture from the air if the jar is left opened, which will lead to fermentation. Having said that, the sealed jars are likely to last forever - honey found in the tomb of Tutankhamun was still edible!
- A honey bee has 4 wings and 5 eyes. It can fly up to 12 miles per hour with a wing stroke of 11,400 per minute and it will visit between 50 to 100 flowers on a single trip from the hive. A healthy and well maintained hive will be a home to the population of 50,000 bees during the peak of honey making season.
- Bees have not evolved in 20 million years, despite everything else changing around them.
- To liquidise a crystallised honey, place the jar in warm water for 15-20 minutes.
- As recently as the First World War, honey was mixed with cod liver oil to dress solders’ wounds.