Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Lesson 64: Why Is Honey So Good For Us?

DavidSheriHello Friends! We are David & Sheri Burns operating our family honey bee business in Central Illinois where summer seems to be giving way to fall. We've had a few cool nights in the mid to upper 40s so it seems like fall.
August 20 09 014 Sheri's chickens are laying about 5 eggs a day, not quite enough to keep up with our family's need, but they are just now 20 weeks old. Every day we all race out to the chicken coop to gather up the eggs. I didn't realize until I read up on it that fresh eggs are much better for you than older eggs. Speaking about what's good for us...we all know that honey is good for us. And in today's lesson I want to give you some information explaining why honey is so good for us. Before I start today's lesson, let me continue to bring you up to date on what we've been doing.
tractor12 I bought an old farm tractor,  a 1958 Case 800 with a front end loader. We are always plowing, digging and hauling things around, so this will be a big help for us. I bought it on Ebay and hauled it up out of southern Illinois last Saturday. It's two years older than me!
Two weekends ago we had a wonderful group at our beekeeping and queen rearing courses we offered at our honey bee farm. We had people here from Ohio, Missouri, Illinois and California. The students were very enthused about keeping bees and raising queens. The weather was great so we were able to spend some time in the hives as well.

Lesson62u Our honey crop was good and we were able to bottle up a good amount of beautiful tasting honey and our customers have lined up to buy it before we run out as they do every year. Our customer's appetite for honey is greater than our bee's ability to keep up with demand.
ilqueen This will be our last month to produce queens. It becomes much more difficult to produce late queens but this is when so many people want to requeen, in September. Once again we gained so much knowledge and skill in our queen rearing operation. Can't wait until next year!! Where we really need to improve is in overall production of our queens. We have the quality where we want it, but now we must increase quantity. We had to turn away so many request.
on including the location and directions: http://www.easternmobeekeepers.com/meetings.htm
And for those of you who are Studio Bee Live addicts, we are producing more finally! These are broadcast that we produce here on our farm and place on the Internet. These broadcasts are located at: http://www.honeybeesonline.com/studiobeelive.html Check it out!
LESSON 64: Why Is Honey So Good For Us?
Nutritional Value
lesson63a What's in honey? The actual chemical make up of honey can be slightly different based on the local nectar sources. Typically, honey consists of simple sugars known as glucose (dextrose) and fructose (levulose).
Bees do not gather honey from flowers. They gather nectar which is a sugary substance from plants which is very high in moisture. The bees carry the nectar to the hive and then hand it over to carriers in the hive. These carriers work the nectar droplet. Invertase is added by the bee who works the nectar to help evaporate the moisture from the nectar. This goes on for nearly several minutes and then the nectar is placed in the comb where it dries even more. Bees fan the open cells of nectar to cure it by evaporating the moisture level down to around 18%. Then it becomes honey and is sealed over with a wax cap.
Honey is made up of Moisture (17-18%), Fructose (around 40%) Glucose (around 30%) and other sugars, vitamins, minerals, and complex carbohydrates.
Honey is fat free, sodium free and cholesterol free! Honey does have vitamins like B6 and thiamin, niacin, and riboflavin. Honey contains minerals that are good for us like calcium, copper, iron magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.
Antioxidants are also found in honey, such as chrysin, pinobanksin, vitamin C, catalase and one antioxidant that is only found in honey, pinocebrin.

This nutritional information was obtained from the National Honey Board's website.
whippedhoneyHoney is the only unprocessed food that never spoils. Sometimes honey will become hard or solid. This natural process is known as granulation or crystallization. For the most part all honey will eventually crystallize over time, but some takes much longer than others. The deciding factor is the type of nectar or floral source from which the nectar was gathered which determines the sugar content.
What causes honey to crystallize or granulate? Since honey is composed of glucose and fructose, this high concentration of the sugar begins to separate out and can then form crystals. Remember that honey is 70% sugar and 20% or less of water. Any small particle such as pollen specs, or even air bubbles will provide a seed for these sugar crystals to begin to grow. We count on this process in making our cream honey. We just grind the seed crystals to be extremely small so it makes the honey feel creamy.
Granulated honey is not spoiled. It can be warmed and most of the crystals can be re-liquefied. Remember, all honey will eventually granulate unless it has been heated to 140-160 degrees and highly filtered to remove all particles. Of course, heating honey damages it by removing or killing valuable enzymes.
Something that often does follow granulation is fermentation because water is forced out of the sugar in the granulation process. This extra water causes the honey to ferment. Natural yeast within the honey will begin the process of turning your honey into mead or alcohol when the moisture level is above 18%.
Honey absorbs water? It will absorb it from the room you process it in. That's why I keep my processing room around 30-35% humidity and dry my supers 3 days before I process the honey. I've never had a fermentation issue.
What is the shelf life of honey? A long time! Do not put it in the refrigerator. It is fine left at room temperature.
Many people including myself use honey on skin injuries. I recently spoke with a hand surgeon and he explained to me that honey can keep a wound very moist to aid in healing yet kill bacteria. Honey kills bacteria because it is hygroscopic. This means that honey absorbs moisture from bacteria that tries to grow.  This is why honey is such a safe food to eat no matter how long it has sat out, maybe centuries!
Thanks for joining me today, and I really enjoy preparing these lessons each week.
I want to remind you that we manufacture our own hives, built to our own specifications because we are beekeepers. Please check out our website at: http://www.honeybeesonline.com for all the honey bee products we carry including hives!
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Here's our contact information:
PHONE: 217-427-2678
EMAIL: david@honeybeesonline.com
WEB: www.honeybeesonline.com
Until next time Bee-have yourself!

David & Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms
14556 N. 1020 East Road
Fairmount, IL 61841