Honey is made in one of the world’s most efficient factories - the beehive, by some of the most efficient workers - bees. The colour and flavour of honey differs depending on the bees’ sources of nectar. There are 22 common floral varieties of honey. Typically, lighter honeys have milder flavours than the darker honeys. Fructose, glucose and water are the primary components of honey, although they also contain other sugars, trace enzymes, minerals, vitamins and amino acids. It is made up of 80% sugars and 20% water.
Did you know that:
1. European bees were successfully introduced into Tasmania in 1831 and Italian bees arrived in 1884.
2. Australia is a large producer of honey because of its climate and vegetation.
3. Australia’s eucalypts are an excellent source of honey. The honey produced has a unique flavour and density.
4. Most Australian honey comes from eucalypt box, gum, stringy bark and iron bark tree families.
5.Australia exports half of the honey that it produces, particularly to Germany and the UK.
6. Honey is the only food that contains all the essential substances needed to sustain life.
7. A beehive typically makes more than 180kg of honey per year.
8. Each hive has guards to guard the entrance. Bees have a unique smell that identifies them.
9. A colony of bees can contain 40,000-60,000 bees during the summer months.
10. A single honeybee will only produce 1/12 teaspoons of honey in her entire lifetime.
11. A honey bee travels over 88,000km and visits approximately 2 million flowers to make half a kilogram of honey.
12. A honeybee can fly at approximately 24km/hr.
Honeybees are herbivorous, but will cannibalise their brood if they are stressed.
13. Honeybees only live for approximately 4 weeks in the summer and 6 weeks in the winter.
14. The queen bee mates for 1-2 days with up to 17 drones. She stores the sperm from these matings so that she has a lifetime supply and never has to mate again.
15.The queen bee can lay between 600-1500 eggs per day during her 3-4 year life. This daily egg quota may equal her bodyweight.
16. The queen bee is constantly fed and groomed by the attendant worker bees in her brood.
17. Honey was used to embalm the body of Alexander the Great.
18. Honey never spoils.
Honey has many medicinal properties. Honey speeds up the healing process. It has been used as a topical dressing on wounds for millennia, as microbes cannot live in it. Honey contains nutrients that promote tissue regeneration and stimulate the growth of new capillaries. Honey combats infection by drawing lymph out to the cells and absorbing moisture. Band-aids impregnated with honey can be bought in pharmacies in Australia and New Zealand. It has also been used to treat diseases such as typhoid and pneumonia. However, honey can be dangerous, or even fatal, to a baby below the age of a year as it contains spores that their immune system is not equipped to handle.
Recipe of the Day - Honey Chicken with Cashew
1. A piece of Chicken breast
2. 100g of unsalted roasted Cashew Nuts
3. 1 small shallot/onion thinly sliced
4. 2 Tspn of Honey
5. 1 Red Capsicum
6. Some fresh Coriander for garnish
7. Salt & Pepper to taste
8 2 Tspn of Olive oil
1. Wash and dry the chicken breast and cut into small bite size pieces. Marinate this with the honey and pepper, leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
2. Deseed the red capsicum and cut into bite size square pieces.
3. Heat up your favourite cooking pan for stir-fried. When it is hot enough, add the olive oil. When this is hot enough add the sliced shallots/onions. Make sure you stir through to make sure they are not burnt.
4. When the shallots/onions are softened to a slight brown colour add the marinated chicken. Continue to stir through to ensure the chicken pieces do not get burnt at any sides. Add salt and further pepper to taste if necessary.
5. Add 1/2 a cup of water or chicken stock and let it simmers to cook through the chicken, add slightly more water if it is needed to cook through your chicken pieces.
6. Once the liquid is almost dried up, add the capsicum and cashew nuts and stir through thoroughly. Continue stirring this for another 5 minutes and dish it up onto a serving plate. Finally garnish this with chopped coriander. Serve it with rice or roti.