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Turnip the Beet! Nutrition and Wellness

Timely news, information, and innovative ideas to promote health and influence change.
honey

Honey, I love you!


If you don't eat honey on the regular, you should. Honey is a complex and high-energy food. It's made in nature by busy worker bees, it tastes amazing on everything and it never goes bad! What's more to love? Well, here's the Reader's Digest version on that.

Honey has been consumed for thousands of years and is praised for possessing antiseptic and antibacterial properties. Its possible health benefits have been touted in ancient Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Islamic texts. Honey was often used as a treatment for wounds and inflammations; however, today it is largely confined to folk medicine. Nevertheless, honey and all of its physical properties are fascinating. The more I read, the more I fall in love.

Enzymes

What's unique about honey from other sweeteners is the presence of enzymes, which have been added by the bee during the conversion of nectar to honey. Important honey enzymes include: invertase, diastase, and glucose oxidase. The presence of enzymes and their quantities is used as an indicator of quality in some countries.

Antibacterial Activity

Bacteria cannot survive in honey due to the higher acidity level and the sugar content. Hydrogen peroxide- an enzymatic byproduct in honey- inhibits the growth of bacteria.

Vitamins and Minerals

The majority of honey is made up of varying amounts of sugars- mainly dextrose and levulose but more than 20 others have been identified; some of which result from enzymatic or chemical reactions. The actual content of vitamins and minerals is small; however, darker honeys have significant quantities of minerals, such as iron, calcium, phosphorous, potassium and magnesium.

Flavor, Color and Aroma

There are hundreds of different types of honey available in the U.S. so everyone should be able to find a favorite. The type of flower where the bee finds nectar will determine the color, which could range from a pale yellow to nearly black. Climate and region can also have an effect on the end result. The darker honeys generally have a more pronounced flavor.

Examples include: wildflower and clover honey- popular in the midwest; alfalfa, avocado, blueberry, buckwheat, orange blossom, sage and tulip poplar are all varieties found in various parts of the country.

I don't discriminate…I love all variations equally.

Storing for quality

The introduction of water or moisture from the air can spoil honey if left open on the counter. To prevent this, keep your honey sealed and water out. Storing it in a cabinet, away from heat is also advisable.

Honey Pairings

The possibilities here are infinite and limited only by your imagination.

 

 

Sources:

Composition of American Honeys, Technical Bulletin 1261, USDA. 1962.

Honey Composition and Properties. BeeSource.

Morguefile.com



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