Honeycomb isn't only a tasty addition to your charcuterie board; it's also an amazing piece of architecture filled with nutrients. After all, bees put in a lot of effort to make these hexagonal wonders. Although eating honeycomb might seem strange to some, humans have been doing it for thousands of years. They found honey in an old site in Georgia dating back 5,500 years and saw people collecting honey in an 8,000-year-old cave painting in Spain. Besides, experts think that our ancestors used honey for medicine and food.
From ancient civilizations to being seen for sale in the United States markets in contemporary times, this honey product is here to stay.
Let's Start With The Basics!
What Exactly Is Raw Honeycomb?
Well, honey bees use honeycombs to store the honey they collect. These honeycombs are made of repeating hexagonal wax cells. It helps bees store as much fresh honey as possible. Moreover, raw honeycomb is completely edible and undergoes no chemical or artificial processing. While it might seem unusual to see someone eating this natural sweetener straight from a beehive, beekeepers do it regularly.
However, honeycomb isn't just a natural wonder; it's also loaded with honey benefits. In fact, some folks use honeycomb as a healthy alternative to chewing gum. Others incorporate it into their skincare routine for its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Additionally, it possesses antibacterial qualities that can assist in warding off infections. And don't overlook its delightful flavor and innate sweetness, making it an ideal replacement for refined sugar.
No matter how you choose to enjoy your honeycomb, getting it in its raw form ensures you get the best that organic honey offers.
What Does Honeycomb Taste Like?
The taste of honeycomb depends on the plants the honeybees visit for nectar. For instance, if they gather nectar from Tupelo Trees in the secluded swamps of Georgia and Florida, you get a sweet and highly desired flavor honeycomb with a slightly greenish hue.
How To Store Honeycomb
Similar to other honey products, you should store honeycomb in an airtight container, preferably at room temperature. Also, a cupboard or kitchen counter works perfectly. Once you open it, there's no need to refrigerate it. In fact, putting it in the fridge might make it crystallize faster, resulting in a honeycomb that's still safe to eat but has a slightly grainier texture.
Moreover, honeycomb can be found in a jar with honey or often sold in single-use plastic packaging.
How is Honeycomb Made?
A forager bee heads out from the hive and uses her proboscis to sip nectar from a generous flower.
She carries this nectar in her honey stomach back to the hive.
Once inside, the forager bee puts the nectar into one of the wax cells.
Many other bees then use their wings to fan the nectar, making it less watery.
At this stage, the nectar turns into honey, and the cell gets sealed with a layer of beeswax to keep it safe.
While it might take one honeybee quite a while to fill a cell with honey - as she produces just 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime - when 50,000 honeybees work together as a super group, they can quickly fill these hexagonal cells.
So, before you know it, the bees have constructed, filled, and sealed a whole bunch of honeycomb.
The honey you find in the store might receive some help from the beekeeper. But at its core, it's another creation brought about by the hard work of the diligent honeybee!
Bees’ Timeline For Creating This Wonderful Honey Product
Several factors can influence the time it takes for bees to create honeycomb:
The size of the bee population
The amount of nectar collected for the colony
A new or established colony
Also, the size of the honeycomb being constructed
All of these play a role in determining the duration!
On average, it can range from 7 days to 2 months for honey bees to build comb and fill the cells with honey. Yet, under optimal conditions, a well-established colony can complete a full 10-frame deep box and fill it with honey in just 3 days. Sometimes, it can even happen in less than 1 day!
Honeycombs And Their Relation To The Hexagonal Shape
Intriguingly, we've never observed bees constructing any other shape. Inside the hive, the hexagonal cells serve as both a home and storage space.
They house the queen bee's eggs
Provide a spot to nurture young bees
Store the pollen and honey collected by the worker bees
This means that the hive's design naturally becomes very important. But why do bees opt for hexagonal honeycombs? If you consider it, a hive made of circles wouldn't work well because it would leave gaps in the honeycomb. Further, shapes like triangles or squares wouldn't leave gaps and could offer the necessary structure. With its six sides, the hexagon proves to be the most robust and efficient shape.
Bees display remarkable intelligence and creativity in their choice of geometry and engineering for constructing their hives. The hexagonal build uses the least amount of material to support the greatest weight. Most materials designed with hexagonal figures can also withstand substantial force. In human terms - bridges, cars, and airplanes all incorporate hexagonal shapes!
Honeycombs: Unique in Their Own Way
It's important to recognize that the color and texture of a honeycomb can vary based on the types of flowers bees visit for nectar. Exactly how we explained the difference in taste earlier!
Moreover, you might compare your local beekeeper's honeycomb, which might be a deep maple shade, to Smiley Honey's Honeycomb, which could be lighter. It simply indicates that the bees were foraging among different sets of flowers. Different regions cultivate different plants!
Even within the same hives with the same bee colony, honey can take on significantly different colors from one season to another. This is because various flowers bloom during different seasons.
Raw Honeycomb is Completely Safe to Eat!
It's time to talk about how a honeycomb can change once it's been taken out of the hive and becomes something you can eat!
When dealing with a natural product, you can't always dictate its appearance or flavor. Further, it simply reflects the constantly shifting ways of nature. So, even if the honeycomb doesn't appear perfectly pristine, it doesn't mean it has gone bad. And it certainly doesn't mean it's any less delightful to eat.
Give some of our preferred methods a try for enjoying raw honeycomb:
Use it as the centerpiece on grazing boards.
Drizzle it over warm biscuits.
Sprinkle it onto salads.
Add it as a garnish for cocktails.
Use it as a finishing touch for desserts.
What About Crystalizing Honey?
Honey turns into crystals because it holds a lot of sugar, mainly glucose and fructose. When honey sits for a while, its sugar molecules can stick together and create crystals. This is completely natural! Well, you can still eat it.
How quickly honey crystallizes depends on a few things, such as:
The type of honey
The storage temperature
Whether there's any pollen or other particles that can trigger crystallization.
The colder it is, the faster it becomes crystallized.
Some honey types, especially those with lots of glucose, crystallize faster than others.
As for the taste, crystallized and liquid honey are pretty much the same. It's only the texture that changes. Besides, some folks prefer crystallized honey. The different textures can make it taste like chewy candy.
Buy From Smiley Honey
There is no need to keep searching for honey for sale near you. You are in the right place! Explore our website and choose from the different honey products you might need. We deliver it right to your doorstep.