Know everything about honey and its useful varieties

by Sanjeev Kapoor

Once you taste the sweet honey, you want more of that, isn’t it? After all, it has so many health benefits and most importantly it never spoils! Yes, you heard it right. Research studies have proved that honey has an endless shelf life when kept under the right conditions. Where some of the oldest honey was found in the tombs of Egyptians, which dates back to several 1000 years. Wondering why it doesn’t get spoilt? It is due to the fact that it contains low moisture levels and is naturally acidic, which makes it difficult for the spoiling bacteria to grow. In addition, there is a special enzyme present in the bee’s stomach, which breaks down into chemicals that obstruct the growth of bacteria and other organisms. 

 

Before I move on further ahead today to discuss the varieties that honey possesses, have a look at some interesting facts for you:

 

  • Back in the 11th century, Germans held honey as a high-valued commodity. It was valued to the point that the lords of Germany used to force the peasants to make payments to them in honey. 

  • Honey takes on the flavour of the nectar from which it was made. The nectar also affects the colour and the consistency of the honey.

  • At times honey has been referred to as "the nectar of the gods," and is still used for consumption and medicinal purposes till date.

  • Last, yet the most fascinating fact that will amaze you to the hilt. Honey bees live in hives/colonies. Where the members of the hive are divided into 3 categories:

 

Queen: one queen runs the entire hive. Her responsibility is to lay the eggs that will spawn the hive’s next generation of bees. She also produces chemicals, which guide the behaviour of the other bees.

 

Workers: these include all females and their role is to forage for food i.e. pollen and nectar from flowers, build and protect the hive, clean and circulate air by beating their wings. These type of bees are the only ones, which most people ever see flying around/outside the hive.

 

Drones: this group just includes the male bees, and their purpose is to mate with the new queen. Where several 100’s live in each hive during the spring and summer. However, on the arrival of winters, the hive goes into survival mode and the drones are kicked out.

 

Honey and its siblings:

 

Lychee Honey

As interesting as the name suggests. This honey is actually extracted from Litchi farms. It tastes like Litchi fruit and is in liquid form, with a dark golden/amber colour. It has a pleasing aroma with a delicious flavour, which makes a great accompaniment with the breakfast cereal bowl, toast, etc. Not just this yet it is also rich in vitamins and minerals, which boosts the immune system and helps in healing wounds and repairing them. Also, it is very effective in improving bone health.

 

Eucalyptus Honey

This type of honey is made from the flower nectar of eucalyptus blossoms. It is medium-sweet with a strong earthy flavour, with undertones of menthol and caramel. Some people even relate it tastes with butterscotch. Owing to high fructose content, it crystallizes fairly quickly. It can be added as a sweetener for tea, but it will add its own rich flavour rather than just replacing sugar. Additionally, it can be drizzled over a wide range of foods. However, remember that it will change the overall nature of their flavour. You can also add it to salad dressings, marinades, grilled fruits, baking, etc. It has antibacterial properties, is a good source of vitamins and minerals, and is also rich in antioxidants.

 

Jamun Honey

Indian blackberry aka Jamun as we say, this honey is sourced from bees that feed and forage primarily on it. When it comes to its appearance, it is dark amber in colour and comparatively less sweet than the other varieties of honey. Coming onto its benefits, it includes the ability to control high blood pressure, improves eye health, treating skin conditions, relieves throat infection, and is helpful in diabetes, etc. 

 

Rapeseed Honey

The rapeseed honey is made by the honeybees when they pollinate at high concentrations of the rapeseed plant. It possesses a white/buttery-yellow colour and has a cabbage-like aroma with a slightly peppery flavour. Besides being rich in antioxidants, it has many health benefits as well. It includes healing wounds and burns, relieving from diarrhoea, cold and cough, prevents acid reflux, etc.

 

Sunflower Honey

This honey is extracted from the sunflower fields of Nagpur, Maharashtra. It possesses a unique bright yellow colour and it is enriched with superior health benefits. It is highly suitable for treating lung and kidney diseases, cold and flu, spastic constipation and also strengths hair while boosting its growth too.

 

Acacia Honey

This is one of the most admired types of honey owing to its taste and appearance. As it has a delicate flavour that resembles vanilla, sweet taste and floral aroma makes it distinctive. It is derived from the nectar of the black locust/false acacia tree. In comparison to traditional honey, it is generally much lighter in colour and appears almost transparent. It contains important minerals and anti-inflammatory properties. It is very effective in treating stress, insomnia and sleep apnea. Additionally, it also a good treatment for sore throats, coughs, and respiratory system issues. 

 

Multiflora Honey

This is as interesting as the other honey variants in this category are obtained naturally by the honeybees who feed on multiple flowers during the springtime. It stands out owing to its utmost pleasant aroma, creamy appearance, and unique flavour. Alike other honey varieties, this also helps in the treatment of cough, cold, fever, throat infections, allergies, improves metabolism, skin conditions, gum infections, high blood pressure, and diabetes, etc.


 

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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.