HONEY AND BEEKEEPING

Honey has been highly praised in the human cuisine since the old times. The main ingredients of honey are simple, easily digestible sugars in different proportions (40 per cent fructose, 35 per cent glucose, 1-4 per cent saccharides and some polysaccharides). The sugars in honey have a low glycemic index, therefore they do not burden the pancreas. Besides sugars it contains 17 per cent part of water, the rest are many beneficial vitamins, amino acids, enzymes, acids, hormones and minerals.

VITAMINS: In honey the vitamins that stand out are those of the B group and vitamin C, which are important for the normal functioning of the immune and nerve system and muscles. They work together in the digestion of energy, prevent tiredness and exhaustion, as well as defend the body against free radicals – they are natural antioxidants.

MINERALS: The most abundant are calcium, iron, copper, magnesium, phosphorus and manganese. They also keep the immune and nerve system healthy, prevent muscle cramps, anaemia, tiredness, take care of the constant mineralisation of bones and because of that help us keep osteoporosis at bay.

FLAVONOIDS: In the honey they work anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, prevent the building of blood clots (because they prevent the oxidisation of the harmful LDL cholesterol) as well as perform the function of antioxidants – the protection from cell damage.

But we should not overlook the high content of HORMON acetylcholine, which keeps the nerves and heart healthy.

Beekeeping

The versatility of honey usage:

  • A fast source of energy,
  • Help against tiredness and the lack of energy,
  • To strengthen the immune system,
  • A healthy alternative to sugar (advantageous especially for people with diabetes 2 and high cholesterol levels),
  • Antioxidative, antiviral and antimicrobial functioning,
  • A medicine with colds,
  • A calming effect,
  • Help with easing digestive problems,
  • Help with easing respiratory problems,
  • Help with minor burns,
  • For cosmetic purposes (it calms irritated skin, skin prone to acne, scars or).

Did you know?

  • Liquid honey can crystallise into hard state, but does not spoil at it. To get it back into liquid state we should heat it with temperatures of up to 40 °C.
  • We should never put honey into hot tea, because it loses its beneficial characteristic at high temperature.
  • The darker the colour, the more protective antioxidants and amino acids it contains.
  • One spoon of honey contains a bit more kcal as a spoon of sugar, therefore it is a great substitute for sugar in various recipes. But do not fear the extra kcal, honey is undoubtedly a healthier choice than sugar!
  • People sensitive to flower pollen must be careful when eating honey, because it could cause an allergic reaction.
  • A bee leaves the hive in the summer 7-17 times a day; each flight takes approximately half an hour.
  • On each of its flights one worker bee brings between 50 and 60 milligrams of nectar (for 1 kilogram of honey you need 3 or 4 kilograms of nectar).
Beekeeping
homemade honey
honey
ACACIA, CHESTNUT, HONEYDEW AND WILDFLOWER

Honey

Even small differences in the amount of nutrients can change the aroma, smell, colour and taste of honey. That way we can according to colour, composition, taste and characteristics distinguish different kinds.

ACACIA HONEY  has a distinct light-yellow colour and is because of its sweet and gentle flavour one of the most popular kinds of honey. It contains less flower pollen than other kinds, therefore it is more appropriate even for people with allergic reaction to it. In comparison with other kinds it is more viscos, because it crystallises very slowly. It is used for numerous purposes in everyday cuisine, and it is also indispensable in medicine. We extract acacia honey from May to June.

CHESTNUT HONEY  has a distinct dark brown with a tang of red, because of a higher flower pollen it has a stronger and more bitter taste. The darker colour signifies a larger antioxidant content. The latter makes it excellent for improving digestion, easing problems with the digestive tract, breathing tract and insomnia. Because of the higher fruit sugar content, fructose, it crystallises a bit slower, which is most beneficial for diabetics. We extract it in June and July.

HONEYDEW HONEY  is light to dark brown, which signifies a high content of minerals, a pleasant aroma of pitch and a distinct strong, but pleasant and full taste. It is recommended mostly for people with anaemia, problems with the respiratory system and with disturbances of the nerve system. It is an excellent soothing remedy for sore throat and for strengthening a weakened immune system. It is extracted in July and August.

FIR HONEY is a honey that the bees gather on the fir (silver fir). It has a characteristic brown colour with a green hue, a pleasant pitch, caramel or burned sugar aroma. It has a beneficial effect on people suffering of anaemia, having problems with the respiratory system, with colds, flu and bad breath. Among all the honey kinds fir honey causes the smallest allergic reaction. It is extracted in the summer months, sometimes even until the end of September.

WILDFLOWER HONEY is the most common kind of honey, recognised by its characteristic aroma and light yellow to brown colour. The smell and taste depend on the plants, origin and the addition of honeydew. Crystallisation is partial and incomplete, because often many crystals are formed. Eating wildflower honey is especially recommended for fortifying a weakened and exhausted immune system and for people having problems with the respiratory system, the heart and anaemia.

LINDEN HONEY recognizable for its fresh and pleasant smell, for which linden blossoms are known for, strong and a bit spicy flavour and clear, light yellow colour. It helps fortify a weakened organism, as first aid with a cold, cough, respiratory infection and digestive tract infection. Because it increases sweating it is not recommended for those with heart problems. It is made of either the nectar or honeydew. Linden honey out of nectar crystallises much quicker than honey, gotten out of honeydew. It is extracted in June and July.

SPRUCE HONEY is honey that the bees gather on spruce. It has a characteristic red brown colour, with a soft smell of pitch and an aroma of spruce bud syrup. It can be combined very well with black bread or as an addition to all sorts of sauces and milk dishes. Its consummation is especially recommended to people with anaemia or with respiratory problems.

Propolis

Propolis, also bee-glue, is a bee product, which the bees themselves need for their health, if we do not even mention the healing effects on humans. Bees gather it from buds, tree bark and other plants and then transform with the help of enzymes in their saliva to use as a building material. With propolis the bees prevent the rotting of the beehive and with that also the spread of disease and the gathering of moisture in the beehive.

The biggest part of propolis forms pitch (a whole half of it), wax (30%), etherical oils (10%) some flower pollen and a lot of health beneficial vitamins, minerals and flavonoids.

How do we gather it?

Propolis is mainly gathered by scraping the wooden parts of the beehive and nets from the hind door with a blunt knife.

Propolis has incredibly many positive substances for the human health. It works as a natural antibiotic for easing viral and bacterial infections, is recommended in case of respiratory problems, as help for quicker healing of wounds, easing problems with acne and pimples, for fortifying a weakened immune system and even as soothing substance for people who are often exposed to stressful situations. It is appropriate for healing infected gums and ulcers in the mouth.

propolis

HONEY

ORIGIN, floral or honeydew honey

Based on the origin we distinguish between floral and honeydew honey. Floral or honey out of nectar is made from the nectar of blossoms, whereas honeydew honey is made of honeydew mostly from the excretion of insects on living plant parts or excretions of plants.
Honeydew is excreted by some insects (lice, cicada, scale insects), which feed on phloemic juices of trees. In their intestines, the enzymes transform the sugars into amino acids. The insect organism absorbs only a small part of the substance, mostly sugars, the rest is excreted in the form of drops on their abdomen. Because a chemical reaction occurred, we can no longer speak of an phloemic juice, now we speak of honeydew, which is found on many trees in the form of sweet drops (chestnut, spruce, fir, linden, birch, beech, maple …).

Floral honey

With floral honey the bait for the pollinators is the nectar or flower pollen. Some plant species reproduce with the transfer of flower pollen. Nectar contains the biggest, up to 70 per cent portion of sugars with the mix of amino acids, proteins, lipids, organic acids, antioxidants, minerals, dextrins and etheric oils.

Honeydew honey

We can quickly notice the difference between floral and honeydew honey. Floral honey has the aroma and smell if the flower from which it originates, the taste is usually sweeter than honeydew honey, the colour lighter. Floral honey also has a higher proportion of pollen. On the other hand, the honeydew honey is more muddy, darker in colour, with a bitterer aftertaste, and also dissolute harder in the mouth.

The process of making honey in the beehive

Worker bees bring nectar or honeydew to the beehive, then young worker bees partly drain the drops to get rid of the excess water. The process of thickening is done so that the bees repeatedly spit out a sweet drop to partly dry it on air, and then swallow it again, adding a lot of enzymes, which change the composition of the to-be-honey. Such a process usually takes approximately 20 minutes, until the nectar or honey dew is thickened and appropriate for further ripening, which takes three to four days. The cells of the combs, which are filled to the brim, are closed by the bees with a wax capping, which is an important sign for the beekeeper. When the combs are covered with such cappings to about two thirds the time for extracting is ripe.

Taking the honey combs out

The combs are taken out in good weather, all the while taking care not to take those with the brood, arranged into clean boxes, we prevent the bees access and carefully transport it to the extraction room. The room for extraction has to be carefully equipped, controlled, tidy and clean, bright and of appropriate temperature of between 25 and 30 °C.

The process of extracting honey

What follows is the opening of the combs, which requires a lot of precision and suitable equipment. In this process, we remove the wax cappings, which were previously made by the bees. We must to take extra care so that the honey in the comb does not cool down and not come into contact with bees or other insects.

After taking the honey combs out

Afterwards we start extracting the honey, where extra precision is once more required not to damage the combs. We have to realise that we have taken food from the bees with the extraction of honey, therefore we have to feed them to prevent possible starvation.

Cleaning the honey

Because in the process of extraction unwanted particles may wander in the honey (like parts of wax, bees, wood), we strain it through a sieve of an appropriate density, with which we remove bigger unwanted parts, but not the wanted pollen.

Additional removal

What follows is the skimming of honey. After three days, the wax parts float to the top. This foam must be removed as soon as possible, because it binds moisture from the air on itself, otherwise it could affect the aroma.