Honey is a product that is considered to be both valuable and divine. It is said to contain many benefits such as healing properties, skincare treating properties, energy-boosting properties, and so on. In fact, because of its sweetness, golden colour, and benefits, honey has been mentioned countless times in the bible and considered heavenly. Biblical example: “I will deliver you and take you to the land of milk and honey.”
In ancient times, honey was considered to be a food of the gods, and it was often taken to the altar and given to the gods. Before your mouth starts watering, let’s look at the processes of creating this beneficial natural food.
The Creation Process (The Raw Materials)
Honey is a natural substance that is made by honeybees. Therefore, what exactly is honey and which elements or compounds are contained in honey?
Honey is a syrupy and sweet substance made from the nectar of flowers. Honey contains 76-80% glucose, 17-20% water, pollen, fructose, and other mineral salts. However, it is important to note that a honey’s colour and consistency highly depends on the type of flower from which nectar has been obtained. Examples: clover and alfalfa produce white honey; a heather flower nectar produces reddish-brown coloured honey; sainfoin and acacia produce straw-like coloured honey; while lavender produces an amber-hued honey.
An average honeybee colony can produce from 27 – 45 kgs of honey every year. Honeybee hierarchy is three-structured. It includes the class of worker bees (often containing between 50,000 to 70,000 bees). A worker bee’s life cycle ranges between 3-6 weeks, where every bee collects to close to about a teaspoon of sap.
After nectar has been collected, it is collected and placed into a honeycomb that is empty. Other worker bees will then ingest the stored sap to add more enzymes in the nectar, converting it into honey. After the honey is fully ripened, the worker bees will then pour it back into the honeycomb and seal it.
The Manufacturing Process
It is the responsibility of a beekeeper to remove the honey once a honeycomb is filled. However, during this process, they must wear protective gear to prevent stinging.
After collection, the honey is placed into an extractor. An extractor is simply a large drum or filling system that uses centrifugal forces to extract the honey. An individual honeycomb can weigh as much as 2.30 kgs. During the extraction process, the extracted honey is directed to a cone-shaped structure located at the bottom of the extractor using a spigot. Below the cone-shaped structure, there is a valve where if opened, honey pours into a honey bucket.
The honey bucket contains 2 sieves used to filter the honey to remove wax and any other particles. Keep in mind that one of the sieves is soft while the other is coarse. After extraction, the honey is shipped to a commercial distributor.
The distributors will pour the honey into a tank and heat it up to 48.9°C. The honey is then held at this temperature for about 24 hours to remove other impurities such as bee parts and pollen, which will rise to the top and are skimmed off.