Honey is a delicacy from nature, which bees produce from the nectar that they collect from flowers. The nectar from the flowers consists of water (approx. 55%), sugars (approx. 40%) as well as of proteins and minerals (approx. 5%). The foraging bee gathers nectar from flowers by sucking it into its honey stomach and takes it to the beehive. Already on its way to the beehive, the bee mixes enzymes into the nectar that is in its honey stomach, and the hive bees continue this mixing process. At the same time, they evaporate excess humidity from the nectar. In the beehive, the honey that is made from the nectar is gathered in cells where moisture evaporates. Once the moisture content is at the correct level and the honey is ready, the bees cover the cells with a thin layer of wax. In other words, the enzymes that the bees add and the evaporation of humidity make nectar into honey. This produced honey now contains less than 20% of water, more than 70% of sugar and approximately 6% of various compounds, acids and minerals.
DID YOU KNOW: When flying from one flower to another with pollen balls on their legs, bees simultaneously pollinate plants. Consequently, the plants reproduce, their harvest increases and the quality of the harvest improves. Fruit trees and berry bushes, in particular, benefit from the pollination work that the bees perform.
The harvest season of honey in Finland is in the middle of summer. In other words, a relatively short time in the year. At the end of the harvest season, the honey is gathered from the beehives by taking the honeycombs out of the hives. In return, the bees are given a fluid sugar solution as winter feed with which they survive throughout the entire long winter season.
The honey is scraped off the honeycombs with a scraping comb or a scraping spatula, and the honeycombs are placed in a honey extractor. The extractor extracts the honey from the honeycombs. From the extractor, the honey is poured into a straining basin where the specks of wax and other particles are caught in sieves, and the pure honey filters into receptacles. This particle-free honey is ready for consumption as such, but the honey that is intended for sale is further churned so that it becomes soft and yielding. Honey that has not been churned crystallizes at its own pace and may actually become very hard.
DID YOU KNOW: In comb honey, which is consumed directly from the combs, the natural aromas and flavours are stronger than in collected honey. The wax that comes loose from the comb can either be spat out or swallowed; this wax acts as roughage in the digestive system. Some beekeepers and health-food shops sell comb honey.