Southern Hive Honey Company - Company Message
    
      Just about everyone knows that honey is made by bees and collected out of beehives, but just how do they do it?  The fact is, the way honey is made and the actual source of nectar (the type of plant) collected by the bees make a huge difference in the taste, aroma, texture, appearance and even the health benefits of honey!  Bees make honey mainly from flower nectar, but they also use other plant saps and honeydew.  The bee sucks the liquid up through its proboscis and stores it in its honey sac, it adds special enzymes, and some of the water in the nectar is evaporated.  The enzymes convert the nectar into different types of sugars.  The bee flies back to the hive and places the liquid into cells in the honeycomb and further evaporate water from the nectar with their wings and the warm temperature or the hive (95 degrees F).  When the water content is less than 20%, the bees seal the cell with a wax capping.  The honey is now "ripe" and will never spoil of ferment.
 
     Honey is rich in nutrients, in addition to glucose, fructose and water (usually 17-20%) it containes at least 16 antioxidants, bioflavonoids and other plant substances such as pollen.  Honey also contains small amounts of other sugars, vitamins, amino acids, minerals and enzymes added by the bee.  These components contribute to the different flavors and aromas that honey can have, and make honey a nutritious food loved by millions around the globe.
 
     Honey is as old as history itself. Evidence of honey harvesting can be found on a rock painting dating back 8000 years, this one found in Valencia, Spain shows a honey seeker robbing a wild bee colony. The bees were subdued with smoke and the tree or rocks opened resulting in destruction of the colony. It is difficult to appreciate in today's world of convenience, high tech wizardry, junk food and sugar substitutes, the value of honey. Humans have eaten it, bathed in it, fixed their wounds with it and traded with it since history was recorded. Archaeologists discovered honey comb in Egypt that had been buried with the pharaohs in their tombs, the honey was preserved and was still eatable! In the old testament, the land of Israel was often referred to as the "land flowing of milk and honey". God nourished Jacob with honey from the rock, and gave Israel fine flour, olive oil and honey. John the Baptist ate locusts and wild honey. Honey is mention in the scrolls of the Orient, the Talmud and Koran. The Romans used honey to heal their wounds after battles. Hannibal, a great warrior gave his army honey and vinegar as they crossed the alps on elephants to battle Rome. During the 10 century, the Kings and Queens of England had fermented honey wine (Mead), the Edmeades family produced some of these. Honey has been used for many thousands of years, and has been referenced throughout our history. Honey is an organic natural sugar, has no additives, is easy on the stomach and, if stored correctly, will have an almost indefinite shelf life. 
 
     However your honey may (in fact should) crystallize over time, this does not mean its gone bad. The components of honey can and do vary with the sources of the nectar the bees collect, which in turn are affected by a host of natural phenomenon, such as weather, location, and season. Crystallization is a completely natural process that occurs when the glucose in the honey precipitates out of the supersaturated sugar solution. (Honey is supersaturated because there is over 70% sugar and less than 20% water.)

     The glucose loses water and forms a crystal, which then acts as a seed to form more crystals, and the end result is a semi-solid state. Other small particles, such as pollen or even tiny air bubbles, can also act as seeds for crystal formation. So, the tendency for honey to crystallize is dependent on the overall glucose content, moisture level, and the existence of more that 180 other substances that are contained in any given batch of honey, including small particles such as dust, pollen, bits of wax, propolis and even air bubbles.

     While some honey never seem to crystallize, others crystallize within a few days of its extraction from the hive and most will do so within a few weeks to a few months. Storage conditions, temperature, humidity and even container type can also influence a honey's tendency to crystallize. A decrease in moisture content will increase the tendency to crystallize while an increase in temperature will have the opposite effect. In some cases, one season’s crystallized honey can be another season’s liquid honey. But, if you decide you prefer liquid honey, you can always liquify it by heating it up – but be careful! Too much heat will alter the texture permanently – not to mention the health benefits. Many people prefer the eye appeal of a crystallized honey and appreciate its spreadable texture.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Did You Know...
 
Honey is the only food known to mankind that will never go bad, several jars of honey were found in the tomb of the Pharaoh Tutankhamen and it was still 100% safe to eat!!!
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Honeybees are responsible for over 1/3 of all the fruits and vegetables that we eat and they pollinate 80% of all the commercially grown crops in America, without bees we'd bee in real trouble.
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Unlike sugar, which causes the body to store fat, honey triggers the body to start burning fat. By replacing an engery drink with a tablespoon of honey before you work out you can boost your energy and trim your waistline!!!
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Honey is the only food that contains everything humans need to survive, even water!!!
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To bring 1 pound of honey to the table, bees must visit around 2 million flower blossoms and fly a combined 50,000 miles. That's more than 2 orbits around the earth!!!
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Honeybees fly at a speed of about 15 miles per hour. Their wings stroke 11,400 times per minute, thus making the distinctive buzz.
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The average worker bee only makes 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime!
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Honey is composed primarily of carbohydrates (natural sugars), water, minerals, vitamins, amino acids as well as trace enzymes. Honey is an all-natural sweetner, without any added ingredients, containing a variety of flavonoids and phenolic acids, which act as antioxidants, scavenging and eliminating free radicals.
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Honey contains a large amount of enzymes, which means eating honey will aid in disestion and increase energy!
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Honeybees must consume about twenty pounds of honey to be able to biochemically produce just one pound of beeswax.
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The brain of a worker bee is about one cubic millimeter but has the densest neuropile of any anamial, including humans!!!
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Hives made of woven wicker, called skeps, have been in use since at least 5000 B.C., and just think, the honey from those hives could still be eaten today!!!
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Honey can rightfully be considered a living food which contains a whole host of nutrients intrinsic to its natural production by honeybees. White sugar is a dead substance devoid of vitamins and minerals.