SPRINGSVALLEY HONEY SINCE 2015

All about honey

Honey

Honey, sweet, viscous liquid food, dark golden in colour, produced in the honey sacs of various bees from the nectar of flowers. Flavour and colour are determined by the flowers from which the nectar is gathered. Some of the most commercially desirable honeys are produced from clover by the domestic honeybee. The nectar is ripened into honey by inversion of the major portion of its sucrose sugar into the sugars levulose (fructose) and dextrose (glucose) and by the removal of excess moisture. Honey is stored in the beehive or nest in a honeycomb, a double layer of uniform hexagonal cells constructed of beeswax (secreted by the worker bees) and propolis (a plant resin collected by the workers). Honeycomb is used in winter as food for the larvae and other members of the colony. It is commonly sold by beekeepers as a delicacy, or the wax may be extracted for various purposes.

mead alcoholic beverage

Mead, alcoholic beverage fermented from honey and water; sometimes yeast is added to accelerate the fermentation. Strictly speaking, the term metheglin (from the Welsh meddyglyn, “physician,” for the drink’s reputed medicinal powers) refers only to spiced mead, made with the addition of spices and herbs such as cloves, ginger, rosemary, hyssop, and thyme; often, however, the terms are interchanged. Mead can be light or rich, sweet or dry, or even sparkling. In the Middle Ages it was usually similar to sparkling table wine. Mead is made in modern times as a sweet or dry wine of low alcoholic strength. Mead is widely thought to be one of the oldest alcoholic beverages, with evidence for the consumption of a fermented beverage made of honey, rice, and fruit dating to the 7th millennium BCE in China. Alcoholic drinks made from honey were common among the ancients of Scandinavia, Gaul, Teutonic Europe, and Greece and in the Middle Ages, particularly in northern countries where grapevines do not flourish; the hydromel of the Greeks and Romans was probably like the mead drunk by the Celts and Anglo-Saxons, although the Roman mulsum, or mulse, was not mead but wine sweetened with honey. In Celtic and Anglo-Saxon literature, such as the writings of Taliesin and in the Mabinogion and Beowulf, mead is the drink of kings and thanes. Chaucer’s Miller drank mead, but by the 14th century spiced ale and pyment (a sweetened wine similar to mulsum) were superseding it in popularity.

sweetener food

Sweetener, any of various natural and artificial substances that provide a sweet taste in foods and beverages. In addition to their sweetening power, they may be used in such processes as food preservation, fermentation (in brewing and wine making), baking (where they contribute to texture, tenderization, and leavening), and food browning and caramelization. Natural sweeteners may be both nutritive and flavorsome and thus popular both as food and as flavouring. However, because common sugar and other nutritive sweeteners such as honey and corn syrup are associated with health problems (such as obesity and tooth decay) or are even a threat to life (for diabetics), there have been efforts since the 19th century to produce nonnutritive sweeteners that are not subject to metabolism and contain little or no caloric value. Nonnutritive sweeteners, which may be either artificial (synthetic) or derived from plants, include such compounds as saccharin, aspartame, cyclamates, and thaumatin. The popular nonnutritive sweetener stevia contains a number of natural compounds, including stevioside and rebaudioside A, that can be more than 300 times sweeter than saccharose, the sweetener derived from sugarcane.

About Honey

Honey contains about 18 percent water, is water soluble, and may granulate between 50 and 65 °F (10 and 18 °C). Somewhat acid, it has mild antiseptic properties and has been used in the treatment of burns and lacerations. One of the most easily assimilated foods, it is widely used in baked goods, candies, prepared fruits, cereals, and medicines. Honey was almost the only source of sugar available to the ancients and was valued for its medicinal benefits. It was used to make mead, a fermented beverage, and was mixed with wine and other alcoholic drinks. In Egypt it was employed as an embalming material. In India and other Asian countries it was used to preserve fruit and make cakes, sweetmeats, and other foods. Honey is mentioned in the Bible and in the Qurʾān.

Honey

The rules that King Howel the Great laid down for making mead in the 10th century are proof that the Welsh took great interest in mead. They preferred spiced mead, and it was from the early 16th century (when the Tudors brought elements of Welsh culture into England) that the word metheglin was often used for plain and spiced mead alike. Nonetheless, mead, once the most common alcoholic drink of England, had lost ground to ales and beers (since the earliest days of improved medieval agriculture) and also to wines (imported from Gascony for the wealthy, from the 12th century onward). Finally, when West Indian sugar began to be imported in quantity (from the 17th century), there was less incentive to keep bees, and the essential honey became scarcer.

Sweetner

Sugar is a generic term for a category of carbohydrate compounds known as sucrose, or saccharose (C12H22O11). A group of related compounds are corn sugar (called glucose or dextrose), fruit sugar (fructose or levulose), milk sugar (lactose), and malt sugar (maltose). Sucrose is a disaccharide; that is, it is made up of two simple sugars, or monosaccharides—glucose and fructose. It is one of the sweetest of sugars. If sucrose is taken as a standard of 1, the sweetness of glucose is 0.5–0.6, that of lactose is 0.27, and that of maltose is 0.6. Fructose, found in fruits and honey, is the sweetest, being 1.1 to 2.0 times as sweet as sucrose. Sucrose is commercially derived chiefly from sugarcane and sugar beets but also comes from such sources as maple trees, sugar palms (especially date palms), and sorghum. Sucrose is found in all plants: an apple is about 4 percent sucrose, 6 percent fructose, and 1 percent glucose (by weight), and a grape is about 2 percent sucrose, 8 percent fructose, 7 percent glucose, and 2 percent maltose (by weight). Honey is composed principally of fructose and glucose, the composition depending on the original nectar collected by the honeybees and on the amount of processing and storage time. In the development of low-calorie sweeteners, the problems are several and are not limited to sweetness. Some sweeteners lose their sweetness at high temperatures (making them often unsuitable in cooking) or lose the sweetness over time (giving them a short shelf life). Some nonnutritive sweeteners have an undesirable aftertaste. Sugar furthermore has functional properties not found wholly in any other sweeteners. Sugar adds bulk and texture to baked goods; it helps in forming the structure of the baked food, provides moistness, tenderness, and anti-toughening characteristics, and contributes to leavening. In addition, it has a preservative effect (as in jellies and preserves) and helps generally to prevent spoilage. It serves as food for fermenting organisms that are important in making such things as alcoholic beverages, breads, and pickles. In soft drinks, in addition to providing sweetness, sugar provides “mouthfeel” and body and helps to stabilize the carbon dioxide. Sugar, in sum, has many functional properties in food, and no other sweetener has so far been developed to duplicate all or even many of them. The artificial sweetener saccharin (ortho-sulfobenzoic acid imide) was discovered in 1879 by two German researchers, I. Remsen and C. Fahlberg, and has about 300 to 500 times the sweetening power of cane sugar. It is manufactured on a large scale in several countries in the form of saccharin, sodium saccharin, and calcium saccharin. Although its safety was the subject of controversy during the 1970s and ’80s, it is still widely used.

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