Honey is a natural, sweet, syrupy fluid collected by bees from nectar of flowers. The pleasant aroma and taste of this viscous liquid ranging in color from pale yellow to dark amber varies according to the kind of pollen, the geographical and seasonal conditions. Its use as a sweetener is well known in different parts of the world. In early history, honey occupied a very important place on religious occasions. The high content of sugars, small amounts of amino acids, lipids, along with some vitamins and minerals imparts its high nutritional value.
Honey has good medicinal and antimicrobial properties and is used in different cuisines. Proper processing is essential for a product of good sensory qualities. ISI/Agmark specifications for honey, its adulteration and detection of adulteration are well recorded. The application potential in bakery, confectionery, snack foods, fruit and vegetable products and beverages is ever increasing. A bird’s‐eye view of these aspects along with possible lines of future research are discussed.
- Honey has low moisture content
- Honey has less than 18.6% moisture
Ours is usually closer to 12 – 16%. When the water level is higher than 18.6%, honey will ferment. In the beehive, the nectar collected is higher in moisture than honey. Bees add enzymes from their body to the nectar, cure it and evaporate water out of it to make it into honey.
- Honey is hygroscopic
Honey will absorb moisture from its surroundings. This can be problematic in humid climates, as honey may absorb enough moisture from the air to ferment. In Florida, this is can be a problem if the honey container is not adequately stored. Historically, honey has been used on wounds because of its ability to absorb moisture and its antimicrobial properties.
- Honey is acidic
Honey has a pH around 4.
(Range 3.4 to 6.1). PH 4 means that it is about 1,000 times more acidic than plain, neutral water.
- Honey lasts
Honey can be stored indefinitely, providing it stored in a dry, pest-free container.