Friday, January 14, 2011

Honey- That's All It Is!

Honey.  Pure and Simple.
Honey doesn't have anything added to it.  Let's look at how honeybees make honey and how it gets to the bear-shaped bottle in your cabinets. 

Step 1: Foraging honeybees go to the flowers, where they suck nectar through their proboscis (straw-like tongue) into their honey stomach (we just have one stomach- honeybees have two).  The nectar is very watery.
Step 2:  In their honey stomach, special ingredients called enzymes are added.  This officially makes it into HONEY! 
Step 3:  When they bring it back to the hive, the worker bees put the honey into a hexagon cell made out of wax.
Step 4:  With their wings, the worker bees inside the hive fan the honey, removing most of the water so it turns out sticky and thick.
Step 5:  When the honey is ready, they cap it over with wax for storage until the winter. 

That's the end of the honeybees' job.  Beekeepers take extra honey that the bees don't need for the winter.  This process is called extracting.
Step 1: Beekeepers cut off the wax cappings.  These are saved for use in candles, chapstick, and crayons!
Step 2:  The frame of honey is then put into an extractor.  This basically looks like a large metal can with baskets hanging in it.
Step 3:  The honey spins to the outside of the extractor and drips to the bottom.  There is a honey gate at the bottom of the extractor that a beekeeper opens and the honey flows out.
Step 4:  The honey is filtered and bottled.

So there you have it!  Honey is straight from the honeybees to your shelf.
"Bee in the Know":  There are over 300 different varieties of honey in the United States (these come from the different flowers that the bees visit)

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