The quality of the best honey Typical Sicilians


Honey is a food produced by bees, engaged in providing food for their vital needs.The bees suck the nectar of flowers (or plant secretions, as in the case of the honeydew), transform it into honey by mixing it with the enzymes they produce, deposit it and let it mature in the beehive.>The task of the beekeeper is to transport the bees in the hives near the rich blooms, collect the honey they produce (the amount of which is far greater than the vital necessities of the bees) to work it, invade it and propose it to the final consumer.


The honey can be liquid or crystallized in function of both its botanical origin and the ambient temperature to which it is stored. 
 Because of their composition, only acacia and chestnut honey are always liquid, while over time, all other types of honey tend to crystallize. 
No fear: this natural process is a sign of absolute quality, and if the honey does not crystallize, it has been subjected to thermal treatments such as pasteurization, which implies the irreparable loss of enzymes and vitamins, to the detriment of the naturalness and quality of the product . Crystallized honey can safely be dissolved by a short "bain-marie" treatment provided it does not exceed 40 degrees. 
The honey type image is that of a dense, brilliant liquid of amber color. Today, almost everybody knows that all honey is liquid at the time of extraction , but then, in most cases, in a time varying from a few days to a few months, crystallization occurs. This is an absolutely natural process that does not involve any variations except in the mere appearance. 
The choice between liquid and crystallized is a matter of personal preferences . 
For example, it may be even more interesting to get used to the use of crystallized honey: then it will be discovered that this physical form makes honey less comfortable to be picked up and melted, but much easier to handle, as it does not flow, and much more enjoyable To be consumed because it is felt less sweet and cooler on the palate.


Before the sugar was discovered, honey was the only sweetener used in the diet. Energy action is due to the particular composition of honey: glucose, fructose, water and pollen. Fructose, in particular, gives honey a sweetening power superior to refined sugar, making it at the same time a more durable energy source, and is a real fuel for muscles. That is why honey is recommended for athletes Before physical activity. For equal quantities honey contains less calories than traditional sugar (sucrose). In fact, almost all of the sugars in the honey are glucose and fructose (monosaccharides) in fact easy to assimilate and digestible sugars. Honey also has a real antibacterial action due to an enzyme that activates during dilution. Among other benefits, probiotic activity, useful for the functioning of intestinal bacterial flora, antioxidant activity, due to the presence of flavonoids, anti-inflammatory activity and the characteristic of having a glycemic index lower than that of sugar.


Honey can be stored for a long time while maintaining its properties unaltered. Thanks to antibacterial qualities, honey is a food that naturally has a long storage. However, some alterations are possible, mainly due to moisture, light, heat. Moisture favors fermentation, which, while altering the honey, can be used to produce the hydromel. The same applies to direct light, so it is advisable to keep the honey in dark or closed containers so that it does not become rancid. Honey tends to absorb moisture and smells of the environment, so the containers should be sealed. Good temperature control, which must not exceed 20 degrees, shelter from moisture and storage away from direct light, guarantee honey an optimal preservation so that it can still be considered fresh for a year after its production. Despite these variables, honey, if stored in a sealed environment, can last for almost a thousand years, for example, in an Egyptian tomb a 3300-year old honey jar was still in good conservation status.


While it is true that honey is an extraordinary natural sweetener, it is true that its uses in the kitchen are many - often little known - but also to allow a "cook in the grass" to make really tasty and original recipes. This product of nature, in fact, can be used as an ingredient in both sweet and salty recipes. Sweet preparations that do not require baking, or those to which honey is added to the baking, are the most suitable for this ingredient. In this case, more than just recipes, there are suggestions for use: just think about the foods we usually add sugar. In all these cases honey can be used with undoubted benefit for the health and pleasure of greedy. The important thing though is to find honey that has a taste that is well suited to the food or drink to which they are added, completing the aroma or producing a pleasant contrast. Cheeses, for example, combined with honey have now become a must of the cuisine of our day: the important thing is to approach gently to enhance both the flavors that come together. Thus, a strong cheese binds well to a delicate honey, such as acacia; Conversely, a ricotta is beautifully combined with a honey of sunflower. The important thing is to be well balanced and not to exceed the amount: the added honey does not have to cover the taste of the other ingredients but integrate with them.


There are several ways to define honey. From the point of view of animal biology honey should be considered as a stock food: only bees (and a few other insects like them) make honey because only they, among the animals that feed on nectar and pollen, have the necessity To accumulate food stocks. They solve this problem by transforming fresh summer food into a long-lasting food. To make a comparison with something familiar we might say that honey is nectarized as the jam is fresh fruit. As food, honey can be seen as a source of simple sugars and for this reason it is a highly energy-efficient and sweetening food. In this category is the only one that does not need any transformation to get from nature to our table. The legal formulation, although it may sound a little too cold, contains all the essential elements to uniquely identify the product: 
"... honey means the food that domestic bees produce from the nectar of the flowers or the secretions from living parts of plants or found on them which they stuff, transform, combine with their own specific substances, store them and Let it mature in the beehive ".


Honey is therefore a special food, which has all its characteristics exclusively to nature, to the type of resource harvested by bees and to their work, while the beekeeper is limited to extracting it and making it available. The legal definition of the product provides that nothing is added to the product marketed as "honey" or removed. It must therefore not be added to any ingredient and should not be treated in such a way as to remove certain ingredients. On average, honey is composed of about 80% by different sugars, mainly fructose and glucose; 17% is the water part and only 3% is represented by different substances, including nitrogenous substances, mineral salts, organic acids, polyphenols, aromatic substances. We should not speak of "honey", the singular, but rather of "honey" in the plural. The differences that exist between one product and another are mainly due to the different nature of the nectar or the herd of origin and consist of a different quantitative relationship between the main components (different sugars and water) and the smaller components. This results in a range of very different products for appearance, consistency, color, smell and flavor, which can adapt to very different uses and tastes Nutritional characteristics. Honey is almost exclusively made up of sugars: these account for 95 to more than 99% of the dry matter and simple sugars, fructose and glucose, most of them (85-95%), mostly with the prevalence of the first. The physical and nutritional properties of honey are largely due to this composition and, in particular, to the high content of fructose. In a balanced diet the space for simple sugars (sweet foods in general) is small: even in the common sense, in fact, "sweet things do bad". In fact, as with any food, sweets do not do either good or bad: everything depends on the quantities in relation to the needs (or problems) of the organism. And then there is sweet and sweet. Among the "sweet" honey is the richest of simple sugars and the only one that owes all its characteristics to nature (plants and bees) as it does not undergo any manipulation by man to get to our table. The great advantage of honey is that it can make the body readily available calories without requiring digestive processes and without at the same time causing indigestible or harmful substances. This results in its value for both healthy and debilitated or diseased people. In the feeding of athletes, or anybody who is doing a physical exercise, it is advisable immediately before, during and even after the effort to promote recovery. Even for those who do not work with arms but with honey, honey may be useful: it is known that the nervous system can only perform its functions regularly if it is sufficiently nourished due to a constant supply of glucose with the bloodstream. Far from meals, the drop in glucose content in the blood (glycaemia) can make us lose some lucidity, attention, intellectual efficiency: a teaspoon of honey can instantly restore mental function. In the deceased (elderly, inactive) or diseased people, the same properties become much more precious: when a sick person, for various reasons, is unable to feed enough, a small amount of honey dissolved in a little water can release him forces. Honey is therefore a food suitable for everyone . Or almost everyone: when, for example, a diet is already unbalanced for excessive sweet foods, adding honey is not good, but there may be some benefits if a small amount of honey replaces the normally consumed sugary foods. Honey is also not advisable for those people who have problems with sugar metabolism (diabetes) unless they are included in the diet on the advice of the specialist doctor.If you have to drastically reduce the level of ingested calories (obese in slimming), you should pay attention to the use of honey as food, as you must remember that the energy input of honey is remarkable (320 kcal / 100 g) . But even for those who tend to fatten the honey can be used as a sweetener with benefits over sugar. In fact, the high fructose content of all honey, and in particular of acacia, is responsible for the high sweetener power. When using honey to correct the flavor of a food (eg a salad, a yogurt) or a drink (tea, milk, juices, etc.), a lot of nutrients are actually used a little lower than What you would do using cooking sugar (sucrose), as honey is "sweeter" than sugar. This involves a small amount of calorie savings, which can still be useful for those who are on diet.