Let’s Celebrate Honey
September is National Honey Month and it’s the perfect time of year to honor it in all of its golden glory after just finishing our own bountiful harvest season at Bee America. While honey is not created by magic, its very existence is the result of a certainly remarkable process. As children are more likely to believe in magic than adults, they would not have any trouble having faith in the following equation:
Beautiful Flowers + Industrious Bees = Delicious Honey
How wonderful for us that nectar from flowers can actually be transformed by honey bees into Nature’s own sweetener. While nectar, which is honey’s raw ingredient, is made up of about 70% water, honey itself is only 17% water. How is that possible you may ask? It is the bees that tirelessly work to remove the excess moisture from the nectar by rapidly fanning their wings over the open cells in the hive where it is stored.
A master beekeeper friend of mine once explained to me that our role as beekeepers is to get out of the way and let the bees produce one of Nature’s most amazing gifts. It doesn’t spoil, doesn’t need refrigeration, and it is just so good for you. Honey is one of the safest foods as most harmful bacteria cannot live in it for any length of time. I love the taste of honey—how each taste—each batch is subtly different. It is a reflection of the flowers from which it is produced, interpreted by the bees to make a unique and wonderful food.
While some honey can be almost white in color, it is usually in shades of light amber (the mildest in flavor) to dark brown (the more robust in flavor). But honey’s many uses do not stop at the dinner table. It is so much more! It can be used in countless applications that fall under the general categories of healing and repairing the body, beautifying and pampering oneself and improving one’s fitness level.
In honor of National Honey Month, here are five surprising honey bee facts:
· A honey bee can fly up to 15 mph and beats its wings 12,000 beats per minute.
· In her lifetime, a worker bee collects nectar that will make only 1/10th of a teaspoon of honey.
· It requires the dedicated efforts of approximately 1,000 worker bees to create one pound of honey.
· Bees fly the equivalent of more than twice around the earth to gather nectar that will make a pound of honey.
· The average lifespan of a honey bee during the nectar-gathering season is about six weeks.