What is Honey?
How Honey is Made
Ever stop to think about what’s in a bottle of honey?
It’s really quite simple. There are no added preservatives. No added flavorings. No added coloring.
Take a look at the additive-free journey that honey takes from bee to bottle and see for yourself. The bottle of honey on your supermarket shelf is nothing more than honest to goodness sweetness the way nature intended.
Honey gets its start as flower nectar, which is collected by bees, naturally broken down into simple sugars and stored in honeycombs. The unique design of the honeycomb, coupled with constant fanning by the bees’ wings, causes evaporation to take place, creating the thick, sweet liquid we know as honey.
The color and flavor of honey varies from hive to hive based on the type of flower nectar collected by the bees. For example, honey made from Orange Blossom nectar might be light in color, whereas honey from Avocado or Wildflowers might have a dark amber color. In the United States alone, there are more than 300 unique types of honey produced, each originating from a different floral source.
Harvesting and extracting
Fortunately, honey bees will make more honey than their colony needs, so it is necessary for beekeepers to remove the excess. On average, a hive will produce about 80 pounds of surplus honey each year.
Beekeepers — large and small — harvest honey by collecting the honeycomb frames and scraping off the wax cap that bees make to seal off honey in each cell.
Once the caps are removed, the frames are placed in an extractor — a centrifuge that spins the frames, forcing honey out of the comb. The honey is spun to the sides of the extractor, where gravity pulls it to the bottom and it can be collected.
Straining and bottling
After the honey is extracted, it is strained to remove any remaining pieces of wax or other particles. Some beekeepers and bottlers might heat the honey to make it easier to strain, but this does nothing to alter the liquid’s natural composition. It only makes the straining process easier and more effective.
After straining, it’s time to bottle, label and distribute the honey to retail outlets. Whether the container is glass or plastic, or purchased at the grocery store or farmers market, if the ingredient label says pure honey, you can rest assured that nothing was added, from bee to hive to bottle.