What do we really know about honey?
We all love honey ! It is nice and sweet, is obtained naturally and is quite viscous. Honey is one of the oldest sweeteners humanity has ever known. For many people it is better than sugar, which is unfortunately processed in all sorts of things these days. Honey is therefore, for that reason, ideal to use as a sugar substitute: natural and deliciously sweet.
How do bees make honey?
Worker bees collect nectar from various flowers and collect all the nectar in a second stomach, which is also called the honey stomach. While they collect nectar, they also immediately pollinate the crop.
The moment their honey stomach is filled with fresh nectar, it's time to go home. Zoeeeemm! Once home, the honey from the honey stomach is transferred from mouth to mouth. Now the nectar has been in several honey stomachs and it is high time to store it in a honeycomb cell. YES!
The bees will flap their wings en masse and ensure that the moisture content falls below 20% through evaporation. Pretty huh?!
The honey bees have now come to the very last step, which is to vacuum seal the honey cells with beeswax . The honey bees also do this all by themselves with their wax glands. This is also referred to as 'laundry sweating'.
Time to harvest!
It is now time for the beekeeper to get to work. No, no, it's not just the honeybee that has to work…
The beekeeper makes sure to accurately assess the state of the bee colony. The questions I ask myself are: Is the bee colony big enough? Do they have enough stock? Is there still enough gestation (pregnancy = nectar/feed) in the area from the moment of harvesting? Are the people healthy? Once all the conditions on the checklist have been met, it's a GO!
We then start by carefully removing filled honey windows and replacing them with empty windows with fresh beeswax. These are built up by the bees themselves with their wax glands.
After we have removed the windows, we will unseal them one by one. Unsealing, what is that? You already know 'sealing' by now. Anyway, I'll give you the answer anyway. It's about the last process, to make honey. It is the removal of the seals on the honeycomb cells piece by piece.
When we are done with this, the unsealed honey window will go into a honey extractor. The honey extractor flings all the honey from the combs, which then drips to the bottom.
We are NEARLY there… The liquid honey is filtered through a sieve and poured into glass jars .
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