People have used honey in traditional medicine for hundreds of years. This sweet, natural substance contains healthful elements that processed honey does not have. Honey provides a wide range of health benefits. Raw honey, which comes straight from the beehive, contains healthful bee pollen, bee propolis, and plenty of antioxidants. Honey is a sweet, golden liquid made by honeybees. Honey bees store their honey in small, hexagonal cups called a honeycomb. Raw honey comes straight from the honeycomb.
The Greeks used honey in a variety of ways: considered the food of the gods, it was often used in the preparation of cakes, which were a part of religious ceremonies and sacrifices in honour of the gods. According to Greek mythology, Melissa (the etymology of which, is linked to the name "bee" and "honey"), daughter of the king of Crete, nourished Zeus with the honey of the bee Panacride. Aristophanes wrote, that the honey cakes were a prize for athletes who won races and Pythagoras suggested his followers eat bread and honey because it would guarantee a long and healthy life.
For the Romans, honey was the ideal sweetener and it was imported from Crete, Cyprus, Malta and Spain. It was used raw and cooked in preparing desserts, beer, preserves and MEAD, a beverage produced by the fermentation of honey diluted with water, the drink of the gods and heroes of the past.
Abandoned for a long time in favour of sugar cane, honey has today been rediscovered for its nutritional and therapeutic benefits and continues to offer an invaluable glue among history, nature and nutrition.
As a natural, live food, honey has been a concentrated sweetness for thousands of years. Not only a food, it has many medical properties and throughout history, has been part of many rituals and been ascribed cultural values in almost all areas of the world. Ancient, highly prized and special, honey is one of the foods that best represents the relationship between Man and Nature over time.
Facts about honey
The practice of beekeeping, also called “Apiculture”, dates back to at least 700 B.C.
- For centuries, honey was considered sacred, because of its healing properties, and the fact that it was considered rare.
- Honey was mainly consumed by the wealthy, because of its high cost.
- Honey was often used in religious ceremonies to pay respect to the gods. Honey was used regularly during the embalming process
- Honey was used for both medicinal and cosmetic purposes, even centuries ago.
- Honey was considered prestigious and the sweetener of choice, until the “invention” of the sugar cane and sugar beet crops.
Alcoholic beverages like mead and honey wine are both made from honey and are considered the world’s oldest fermented beverages.
- According to the NIV version of the Bible, honey is mentioned 61 times.
- Honey has been found in ancient writings throughout various cultures, including the Sumerian and Babylonian cuneiform, the Hittite code, and ancient Egyptian and Indian writings.
- In Roman my thology, Cupid would dip his arrow in honey before launching them toward sun suspecting lovers.
- Honey was so prized that it was often used as a form of currency during ancient times.
- When the Spanish conquerors came to the Americas, they found domesticated honeybees in both Mexico and Central America.
- The famous Scottish liquor, Drambuie, is made with honey.
When raw honey turns "to sugar"
Honey may crystallize after a few months of storage. This happens when the honey gets a grainy or sugar-like texture. Crystallized honey is safe to eat and has the same taste.
To make the honey liquid again, use a gentle heating technique:
- Boil a pot of water and remove it from the heat.
- Place the container of honey in the hot water. Do not allow the water to reach the top of the honey container to avoid contaminating it.
- Remove the container of honey after a few minutes. If it is still solid or crystallized,repeat the process.
- Do not microwave honey or put it directly in boiling water or on a hot stove top, as this may destroy some of its nutrients.