I Love my Cool Honey

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It’s hot. Global warming has not had mercy on mankind. Every year, temperatures increase steadily with no sign or intention of ever letting up. Just what can we do to beat this tropical heat? 

Singapore, being close to the Equator means that we face tropical weather all year round. Air-conditioning and fans may cool us down a bit outside, but inside, we’re practically screaming with the heat. The best way, as they say, is to fight fire with fire. Our solution? Tropical juices.

Think poolside sips, bright drinks with those little umbrellas, and ice-cold juices with that refreshing zing. The sun’s out and we’ve got you covered with all you need, to beat that summer heat. And don’t forget the sunblock.

Honey flavours

Orange blossom

Orange blossom honey may be a single variety, but often it is a combination of citrus floral sources from oranges and nearby grapefruit or even lime and lemon trees. Orange is a leading honey source in southern Florida, Texas, Arizona and California Orange trees bloom in March and April and produce a white to extra light amber honey with a distinctive flavour and the aroma of orange blossoms. It is enjoyed the world for everyday use.

Clover

Clover honey is what most people think of as being typical honey flavour and colour. It is widely used “on the table.” Despite being the most common nectar-producing honey plant, clover honey is still a variety. White clover, alsike clover, and the white and yellow sweet clover plants are the most important for honey production. 

Depending on location and source, Clover honey varies in colour from water-white to extra light amber and has a mild, delicate flavour. (There are a few different varieties of Clover – look on Honey Locator for White Dutch Clover, Sweet Clover, White Sweet Clover and Red Clover).

Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus is one of the larger plant genera with over 500 distinct species and many hybrids. Eucalyptus honey varies greatly in colour and flavour, but in general, it tends to be bold-flavoured honey with a slightly medicinal aftertaste. It may be used in baked goods, sauces, dressings.

Manuka honey

This honey is produced by introduced European honey bees feeding on the manuka or tea tree which grows uncultivated throughout New Zealand and southeastern Australia. Manuka honey has a strong flavour which has been characterised as earthy and herbaceous.

Hydrogen peroxide is a component of honey. It gives most honey its antibiotic quality. But some types of honey, including manuka honey, also have other components with antibacterial qualities.

The major antibacterial component in manuka honey is methylglyoxal (MG). MG is a compound found in most types of honey, but usually only in small quantities.

In manuka honey, MG comes from the conversion of another compound – dihydroxyacetone – that is found in high concentration in the nectar of manuka flowers. MG is thought to give manuka honey its antibacterial power. The higher the concentration of MG, the stronger the antibiotic effect.

Honey producers have developed a scale for rating the potency of manuka honey. The rating is called UMF, which stands for Unique Manuka Factor. The UMF rating corresponds with the concentration of MG. Not all honey labelled as manuka honey contains significant levels of MG. To be considered potent enough to be therapeutic, manuka honey needs a minimum rating of 10 UMF.

Benefits of Manuka honey

The main medical use for manuka honey is on top of a wound. It is generally used for treating minor wounds and burns. Manuka honey is also marketed for use in many other conditions. These include:

Preventing and treating cancer

Reducing high cholesterol

Reducing systemic inflammation

Treating diabetes

Treating eye, ear, and sinus infections

Treating gastrointestinal problems

But the evidence is limited on whether or not manuka honey is effective for these conditions.

Types of honey

Most of us know honey as a sweet, golden liquid. However, honey can be found in a variety of forms.

COMB HONEY

Comb honey is honey in its original form; that is, honey inside of the honeycomb. The beeswax comb is edible!

CUT COMB

Cut comb honey is liquid honey that has added chunks of the honeycomb in the jar. This is also known as a liquid-cut comb combination.

LIQUID HONEY

Free of visible crystals, liquid honey is extracted from the honeycomb by centrifugal force, gravity or straining. Because liquid honey mixes easily into a variety of foods, it’s especially convenient for cooking and baking. Most of the honey produced in the United States is sold in the liquid form.

NATURALLY CRYSTALLISED HONEY

Naturally crystallized honey is honey in which part of the glucose content has spontaneously crystallized. It is safe to eat.

WHIPPED (OR CREAMED) HONEY

While all honey will crystallize in time, whipped honey (also known as creamed honey) is brought to market in a crystallized state. The crystallisation is controlled so that, at room temperature, the honey can be spread like butter or jelly. In many countries around the world, whipped honey is preferred to the liquid form especially at breakfast time.

How bees make honey

Honey bees make honey from nectar obtained from flowers. As the female worker bee sucks nectar from flowers, it is stored in her special honey stomach. This is completely separate from her digestive stomach although there is a valve connecting the two which she can open when hungry. This allows her to pass through some honey to be converted to energy for her own needs. After visiting between 150 to 1500 flowers, the honey stomach is full and returns to the hive with her load.

A bee returning to the hive with a load of nectar is almost immediately greeted by other workers ready to relieve her of the load. A mouth to mouth transfer is normally done between a field bee and one of the hive bees. The recipient bee processes the honey in its mouth and honey stomach by the addition of enzymes that break the complex sugars in the nectar into simple sugars that is both more digestible by the bees and ultimately gives the honey its characteristic long “shelf life”.