Bees mainly feed on nectar that they collect from flowers and turn into honey to make up for the lack of flowers over the winter. Honey is therefore both a plant and animal product.
It is composed of 80% sugars, mostly fructose and glucose, and around 18% water. Countless other substances can be found in honey, such as organic acids (1-1.5%), minerals (0.1-1.5%) and proteins and amino acids (0.2-2%). Honey has a high sweetening power with fewer calories than sugar, meaning it can “sweeten” food with fewer calories. Honey is a natural product that needs not undergo chemical processes or the addition of any other substances before consumption and, unlike other sugars, its simple structure makes it a highly digestible food product that is a great source of readily available energy. Honey also has emollient, anti-inflammatory and healing properties, so much so that its characteristics and possible uses have been explored since its discovery. It is therefore important not to alter its organoleptic properties so as to maintain the richness of the aromas and flavours, which are as numerous as the flowers from which it derives: that is why honey should never be pasteurised.
The ratio between the fructose and glucose content is the variable that determines the consistency of honey. In fact, immediately after extraction, all types of honey are liquid and keep this consistency only when they are high in fructose (chestnut, acacia and honeydew honey). In all other cases, glucose crystals, with variations in temperature, tend to group together forming heavier structures in the honey and lead to the crystallisation process. In such cases, honey takes on a more or less set appearance, to the point of becoming solid.