By Paz Kahanov, Researcher at Beewise
Although considered to be the main product of bees, Honey isn’t as valuable for beekeepers as pollination services from an economic aspect, but that being said, honeybees must be acknowledged for their honey production and its contribution to the planet. So, how do they do it?
It all starts with the flowers. Flowers need insects to carry their pollen, and flowers have the ability to “advertise” themselves and attract insects by wearing nice colors and dispersing a strong nectar smell. Essentially, they are selling nectar in exchange for pollination services.
Bees collect and carry nectar in a unique pocket inside their bodies called the honey stomach. In the honey stomach, the nectar is combined with enzymes from the bees which changes the nectar into honey with the help of evaporation water from the nectar.
Aside from sugars, honey also contains small amounts of pollen grains that define the type of honey. Types of honey differ in color, flavor, health effects, and accordingly, its price. There are a lot of beliefs and cultural traditions of honey, the source of “honeymoon” for example is from an old tradition when newlyweds got a mead for a month (the first month of their marriage).
Here are some types of honey mostly found in Israeli apiaries -
Eucalyptus- a bit dark, strong aroma with a slight bitterness.
Citrus- bright and hard sweetness.
Hyssop - is believed to have some medical aspects, can be priced at around $15/lbs.
Knapweed - summer honey that tends to be green!
Jujube — in some cultures the jujube provides men some “mojo- bee” 😉Ferula Hermonis - this one is even less subtle… the “Zalloa” is also known as “Viagra honey” and is based on real scientific research. Its price is around $60/lbs.
Manuka- from New Zealand, and is very dark honey not used for eating, but mainly for medical purposes. Manuka costs around $100/lbs
Another way to differentiate between types of honey:
Organic honey- to label honey as organic, it’s not enough to avoid any use of chemicals on the hive, it’s also required that the bees themselves will not be exposed to any chemical substance. Therefore the location of the hive must be within a radius of the range of the bees (about 5 Km) that are free from any non-organic agriculture.
Creamed honey- Honey has an interesting property, the sugars in which crystallize in the form of crystals (Crystallization process). In white sugar for example the crystals are huge and therefore separated when crystalyzed. However, when crystals are particularly small, they get a creamy texture. Once liquid honey has crystalline the rest of the sugars get along in the same way, in a normal state it is affected by the storage temp and the amount of pollen and water in the honey. If we seed (mix) a small amount of cream honey (small crystals) in a platform of raw honey (liquid honey) you get a cream.
May your next Hebrew year be sweet as honey!
In the photo:
1 — Paz apiary Jujube honey
2 — Paz apiary Citrus Honey
3 — Nataf apiary Judean Mountains honey
4 — Nataf Apiary Wildflowers honey
5 — Paz apiary Cream honey
6 — Nataf apiary thyme honey
7 — Beewise honey
8 — Paz apiary Eucalyptus honey
9 — Paz apiary crystallized Jujube honey