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Honey

Honey called “Angabin” or “Angovin” in Persian language. Honey is a sweet liquid produced by honey bees from the nectar of flowers.
Honey is generally a combination of highly concentrated mixture of sugar in water. The main sugars in honey are: fructose, glucose and sucrose. Totally, one kilo honey contains 3250 kilo calories. Since, honey has some fermented substances in exchanging foods and help in digestion has the highest range among the foods. Some of these fermented substances are: amylase, invertase, catalase and peroxidase. There are some vitamins in honey but their value is not very significant.

The amount of mineral is different in honey varieties. Dark honey has more mineral that the most important of them are: calcium, potassium, manganese, iron, copper, phosphorous, magnesium and sulfur.
Honey contains: types of protein, amino acid, organic acid like formic acid and chlorophyll derivatives, some enzyme and aromatic fragrance.
Because of little amount of water in honey, it is hardly spoiled so, it is easy to keep, transport and trade.
Honey was the only sweetening nutrient used to be consumed by human beings before crystalizing sugar and sugar cane. Honey is dangerous for the children under two years due to its botulinum toxin.

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History

It is obvious that honey has always been respected since ancient times and its medicinal properties have been mentioned on papyrus from Egypt since 3500 years ago. Ancient Egyptian and Greek used honey for embalming the dead. The Egyptian doctor- Dr. Abdollatif- found a child body inside a coffin in one of Giza pyramids which had been embalmed with honey. Alexander Macedonian died in Babylon and his body was embalmed with honey and sent to Macedonia.
Before crystalizing sugar and sugar cane, honey was the only nutrient used for sweetening, flavoring and changing the flavor of medicine. Honey consumption dates back to 2200-2600 B.C. the ancient Egyptians used honey as 900 different products. The annual production of honey is at least 300000 ton in the whole world.

Properties

The most important feature of honey is that it is not spoiled in the long term due to lack of water, away from moisture condition. Honey is also used to keep away some foods from spoiling. For instance, the black mulberry is smeared with honey, turn it upside-down as all parts are smeared with honey then, in this way, black mulberry will not be spoiled in one year. If honey is heated up to 60 degrees it will miss the nutritious value. Honey is the only nutrient that is not spoiled. Its weight is about 3.7-4.5. However, honey is an acidic substance but because of its particular sweetening characteristics, the acidic part is not too significant.

Honey colors

The color of different honey varies from bright white to black based on its nectar. There is a common belief among people that the honey of queen bee is dark and thick but the honey of young bee is bright and diluted but this is just a rumor and has no scientific reason. Some colors of honey are as follows:
- Acacia honey : white and bright like water
- Maple honey : lemon colored
- The honey of fruit types: yellow-brown
- The honey of red clover: yellow-red - The honey of linden: yellow-green
- The honey of dandelion flower: dark yellow
- The honey of elm tree: brown
- The honey of spruce and ash trees: dark green to black

Honey types Color
Acacia White
Orange blossom Golden yellow
Mazandaran forest Yellow-green
oregano Carnelian
European pine jungles brown
Honey production

Honey is produced by collecting plants nectar. Honey bee collects sweet and diluted nectar from flowers; transform them into perfect, concentrated and nutritious solution.
Honey bees store the collected nectar inside their temporary honey case and then transform about 40 mg of the nectar into the beehivesduring each flying turn.
Upon transporting the nectar to hives, bees absorb some amount of the nectar and then excrete it from kidneys. Meanwhile, bees exude some diastase as the type of invertase (the sugar analyzer) from the wall of honey case and add them to nectar. The farm worker put the nectar or raw honey I the cells and again return to farms to collect honey.
The water percentage in honey depends on territorial conditions and humidity. In areas where the humidity is higher, the water content of honey is more.
The percentage of honey water can go up to 25 based on the climate condition of the region that beehives placed, in this case, collecting nectar till producing is performed in two steps: at the first step, bees separate water passively and actively from the solution nectar which generally contain 60% water (the water in the nectar of flowers is variant between 50%-80%). At the second step, sucrose- the sugar in nectar- is inverted to dextrose and levulose with enzyme actively and combined with small amount of other sugar so, the concentrated solution of simple sugar is made that its dissolved materials are more than the undissolved ones, this nutritious substance called honey.

Honey is a botanical source with different colors and flavors that contains some sugar like: (sucrose, levulose, dextrose, and maltose and….) it also contains: acid, protein, picaman, aromatic substances and minerals such as :( sodium, sulfur, magnesium, phosphorous, chlorine, silica, and ….) enzymes such as :( diastase, oxidase glucose, catalase, phosphatase, invertase) and also some vitamins like: pyridoxine, folic acid and…….
Honey classification
Honey is classified by its flora source that honey is made with its nectar like: Gaz honey, oregano honey, locoweed honey, orange blossom honey and ….. Due to varieties of the plants in the hives region, the obtained honey is less single flower and mostly produced by several plants.
If it is idiomatically called Gaz honey or oregano honey, it probably means that the most nectar is from Gaz and oregano plants. In 1948, Dr. Haric from FAO institute expressed that “honey cannot be called by the name of plants except that there is a single and particular plant in some regions.

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Adulteration honey

There is a common and wrong belief among Iranian that they consider crystalized, hardened honey as an adulterated one. Others recognize the desirable honey from its color and flow of pouring, but the pure and natural honey can just be distinguished in nutrition labs. Even if you can be an observer of hives it will not help you to recognize. The only way that can partly help to recognize real honey is that: pour some honey into a glass of water. If the drops of honey are not deposited it is a pure honey but if honey is dissolved in water the particles are disappeared like filaments, it is more likely that the honey is adulterated. There are various methods for making adulterated honey. For example, they dissolve glucose substances in water and sap of plants or feed the bees with sugar water. Sometimes, they sell honey with its wax and without refining it. In such cases, the wax is dunked in honey liquid so, the consumers have to suck the honey and chew its wax like gum. This type of honey is useful for improving digestion, Allergies and sinusitis.