Honey in nature, how to collect and prepare Food Health Free Forum
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Honey in nature, how to collect and prepare
Honey is a food produced by bees (and, to a lesser extent, by the wasps, but honey this is not suitable for human consumption).Â The honey is produced from nectar and honeydew.Â Honeydew is produced by several Omotteri, fitomizi, whose sugary excrement are the staple food for many insects.
The word seems to derive dallittita melitica honey.Â For thousands of years has been the only food available concentrated sugar.Â The first traces of man-made hives dating to the sixth millennium BCÂ about.
Even in ancient Egypt, honey was appreciated, and the first news of beekeepers who traveled along the Nile to follow with their own hives flowering of plants dating back to 4000 years ago.Â During the excavations of the tombs of the pharaohs were found honey pots sealed the contents of which was perfectly preserved.Â I also used to treat digestive disorders and to create ointments for sores and wounds.
The Sumerians used it in cream with clay, water and oil of cedar, while the Babylonians used it to cook: it had spread muffins made with flour, sesame seeds, dates and honey.The Code of Hammurabi can be found with items which beekeepers were protected from theft of honey from hives.
Ayurvedic medicine, already three thousand years ago, considered the honey cleansing, aphrodisiac and refreshing, deworming, anti-toxic, controller, cooler, stomachic and healing.Â For each specific case had indicated a different type of honey to vegetables, fruits, grains or flowers.
The Greeks regarded him as food of the gods, and therefore represented a very important part in rituals that included offerings.Â Homer describes the collection of wild honey; Pythagoras recommended it as food for a long life.
The Romans imported large quantities from Crete, Cyprus, Spain and Malta.Â This also seems to derive the original name Meilat, indeed the land of honey.Â It was used as a sweetener, for the production of mead, beer, as a food preservative and to prepare sweet and sour sauces.
Honey, according to Italian law, can not be added at all, and the only treatments that can be applied are:
Extraction from the combs by centrifugal force
The crystallization depends on the amount of sugars, especially glucose, which is contained in honey.Â As a supersaturated solution, the time required varies inversely proportional to the concentration of sugars for a few weeks, or even in honeycombs for honey, canola, dandelion or ivy are very rich in glucose, even in overcoming aÂ years for acacia honey, honeydew and chestnut are rich in fructose.
Heat treatments used to keep the honey in a liquid state, deprive the honey of many nutrients.Â It is therefore better to use crystallized honey or creamy outside the period of production.
The honey is produced by the EPA on the basis of sugars that it collects in nature.
The main sources of supply are the nectar, which is produced by flowering plants (angiosperms), and honeydew, which is derived from tree sap, produced by certain sucking insects such as Metcalfe, which transform the sap of plants by holding theNitrogen and excreting excess liquid rich in sugars.
For plants, the nectar used to attract different pollinators in order to ensure fertilization of the flowers.Â Depending on their anatomy, particularly the length of the trunk (technically called ligule), honeybees can collect nectar only from certain flowers, which are precisely those mellifera.
The composition of nectar varies depending on the plants that produce them.Â They are still all composed primarily of carbohydrates, such as sucrose, glucose, fructose and water.
The water content can be important, and can be up to 90%.
Honey production begins in the crop of the worker, during his return flight to the hive.Â In goiter invertase, an enzyme that has the ability to split the sucrose into glucose and fructose, is added to the nectar, producing a chemical reaction, hydrolysis, which gives, in fact, glucose and fructose.
Arrived in the hive, the bee regurgitates the nectar, rich in water, which must then be dehydrated for preservation.
For this purpose, it lay foraging in thin layers on the cell wall.Â The workers maintain the hive fans an air current that causes the evaporation of water.Â When this percentage is reduced to 17 to 22%, the honey is ripe.Â Is then stored in other cells, which when full will be sealed (operculate).
The main components of honey are:
The sugars are present in variable but on average around 72%.Â Of these, fructose and glucose increased from 70% in honeydew honeys until you come close to 100% in some honey nectar.Â Except for a few cases, the sugar fructose is always the most represented in the honey.Â The presence of fructose, honey gives a sweeter than refined sugar but also a source of energy that our body can take longer.Â Indeed, to be used, it must first be converted into glucose and then glycogen, the fuel of our muscles.Â Honey is therefore advisable to athletes before beginning a physical activity, thanks caloric intake of 3,200 kcal / kg .Â .
Long known is the antibacterial activity of honey due to its high sugar and acid pH, and solution of honey, by the action of glucose oxidase contained.Â This enzyme is inactive in pure honey, is active in solution, transforming the glucose into gluconic acid and hydrogen peroxide.Â This arrangement is due to the need to protect the honey in training by the bacteria, even when they do not act the acidity and concentration of sugars.
Thanks to the qualities of a natural antibacterial agent, honey is a food that naturally has a long shelf life.Â However, there is some deterioration due primarily to:
Moisture promotes the fermentation, while distorting the honey that can be used to make mead.Â The temperature instead directly influences the flavor and nutritional value: whereas below 10 Â° Celsius is negligible (in fact, to avoid the crystallization can store the honey in temperatures below zero), two months at 30 Â° degradeÂ honey as a year and a half to 20 Â°.Â The same goes for the direct light, so you should store the honey in dark containers or indoors.Â Moreover, being hygroscopic, the honey tends to absorb moisture and odors of the environment, so the containers should be airtight.
The degradation of the sugar fructose, both with time and after heat treatment generates hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF).Â Since the HMF is virtually absent in the fresh honey, its value, usually expressed in mg per kg (ppm) is a good indicator of the type of processing and storage of honey.Â The limit imposed by Italian law is 40 mg / kg.Â In the honey industry, which are more liquid, the HMF is often very close, if not equal to that value.
The phases of honey are a set of processes that the beekeeper takes to get the honey in marketable form.
The work begins where man ends the bee or the end of flowering, after the bees have capped and stored in honey combs.
The processing described below is that used in beekeeping modern rational.
The bees build up the honey in the combs contained in the supers.Â At the appropriate time to remove them from the hive the beekeeper decides to take them in the lab and start the extraction of honey.Â This phase entails the need to remove the bees contained in the supers.Â For this operation are alternately used two instruments: the blower, or the apiscampi.Â The blower is used by professional beekeepers because it is faster and just one visit to complete the extraction of the supers.Â The honeycomb is placed vertically on the Arno, the blower blows away all the bees in a few seconds and the supers are ready to be taken away.Â The apiscampi instead must be placed between the nest and the supers few days before they can take away the supers and then you must make two cuts.Â They are used, albeit inefficient, hobbyist beekeepers in the (limited number) are cheaper than the blower.
Once removed from their position above the hive, the supers are stacked and transported to the laboratory.Â At this time you should check the moisture content of honey with a special type of honey meter called a refractometer.Â If it is too wet should be carried to the stage of drying.
The combs of the supers are generally capped, ie the cells closed with a plug of wax.Should remove this plug to allow the honey to escape.Â This is done manually with a special knife or fork, or through a mechanized process, thanks to uncapping machine.
After uncapping the cells, the boxes are placed in the extractor which, thanks to centrifugal force squeezes the honey.Â From honey extractor is conveyed in the maturation process in this case differentiated between professionals and hobbyists.Â The first uses a system of pipes and pumps, while the latter prefer the lower-priced buckets (called milk).
The honey is poured in the maturation passing through the filters that collect the bits of wax, bee parts and other material were accidentally ended up in the honey.Â The filters have different mesh size and, usually, if they use a different pair of mesh (large, thin).Filters are also used in nylon bag.
During the honey honey extraction buy air that is removed during clarification, completed the honey in the air and settle to the surface is in the form of bubbles forming the foam.
At this stage the foam produced is eliminated by decanting phase.
Once back to clear the air removal and before the beginning of the crystallization honey can be put into jars (for retail) or poured into drums or milk (for wholesale).Â For jars uses a machine called jars.
Storage is an important stage for honey as a high temperature, exposure to the sun or other illegal operation may compromise the quality, taste and even the edibility of the product.
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