Honey is a natural sweetener obtained from bee nectar. Honey is produced in different regions of the world, each one showing unique traits, as result of the conditions where it was extracted.
Raw unprocessed honey is considered a superfood, packed with antioxidants, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, aminoacids, and carbohydrates, fructose, glucose and sucrose. Honey also contains pollen, dust, wax and wood particles. Therefore, it is usually filtered to remove impurities. But highly processed honey is stripped of its nutrients.
The flavor and color of honey depend on the type of flowers where the bees source the nectar, such as buckwheat (dark), orange (medium) and clover blossoms (light). The content of water, ash, nitrogen and other substances also varies, as well as the glycemic index. The GI is a measure of how quickly the body can use the carbohydrates in food as energy. Floral honeys tend to have the lowest GIs. Darker colored honey contains more flavonoids than lighter honey. They act as antioxidants, which prevent free radical damage.
How to select a top quality honey
Viscosity.- Depends on the humidity level in honey. According to FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation, UN), honey should have a maximum 20% water content. If there is foam, it means the honey is showing fermentation and has become slightly acidic. Crystallization.- A natural occurring process in honey, so little crystals in the bottom of the jar indicate that it has not been adulterated. A rancid aroma, too acidic (< 3) or almost an absent flavor, fluid as syrup and an almost black color are traits to always avoid when selecting a good quality honey.
Honey bees are the most valuable pollinators in agriculture, and are responsible for over 130 different edible fruit and vegetable crops. But over the past years, beekeepers have been seeing entire bee colonies disappear. Pesticides, in particular those called neonicotinoids, seem to be an important factor responsible for the “Colony Collapse Disorder”, affecting the bees. Poor management and the diet of populations of commercial honey bees, who are more prone to a weak immune system and disease, contaminate wild colonies.
Honey from Merida in the Mexican Yucatan Peninsula has been collected since ancient times by the Maya Civilization and the traditional process remains.
Best Ground works with little producers, supporting them with tools and paying them a fair price for their honey, which is collected by artisan procedures. “The final product stands out by taste and quality. We perform physicochemical and microbiological analysis and run tests with a third party laboratory. Our honey is organic certified, free of antibiotics and collected from areas far from farming with GMOs to avoid contamination”, says Paulina Lomeli, communications manager at Best Ground. “We also promote best beekeeping practices to prevent diseases and ensure strong healthy beehives.”
O.W.N. asked Best Ground to share their expertise.