Honey is a miracle of nature. Honey bees visit millions of blossoms in their lifetimes, pollinating plants and collecting nectar to bring back to the hive. Lucky for us, bees make more honey than their colony needs and beekeepers remove the excess and bottle it.
From Bee to Hive to Home
Pure Texas Honey offers many honey varietals each week at the Westchase District Farmers MarketHoney starts as flower nectar collected by bees, which gets broken down into simple sugars stored inside the honeycomb. Beekeepers harvest it 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. After the honey is extracted, it’s strained to remove any remaining wax and other particles, while keeping the pollen. After straining, the honey is bottled, labeled and brought to market.
If the ingredient label says “pure honey,” nothing was added from bee to hive to bottle.
The color, flavor and even aroma of honey differs, depending on the nectar of flowers visited by the bees that made it. For example, honey made from orange blossom nectar might be light in color, while honey from wildflowers might have a dark amber color. There are more than 300 unique types of honey available in the United States alone, each originating from a different floral source.
Chris Kohnke of Pure Texas Honey is our resident beekeeper and honey expert at the Westchase District Farmers Market. He learned the business from his father-in-law and now cares for bee colonies in several Texas counties. Pure Texas Honey offers several honey varietals each week at the Westchase District Farmers Market. Most popular are the wildflower honeys from Katy and Brenham.
He also sells an 0range Blossom honey, Texas Mesquite honey, Buckwheat Honey, Brazos County Honey (featuring smartweed, bumelia, yaupon and primrose) and Central Texas Clover honey. Kohnke also has honey soaps, bee pollen and bottled honey comb. And he’s a wealth of knowledge about all things bee-related. Ask him about how the honey is produced, best uses or the health benefits and he’ll be happy to share his experiences.
Most people know that honey is much more than a natural sweetener. It offers amazing health benefits as well. A spoonful, either by itself, or added to a warm beverage offers natural relief for sore throat pain. A spoonful of honey can also be an effective, natural alternative to over-the-counter cough medicines. Rubbing honey on your lips can help sooth dry, chapped lips.
Research has shown that honey contains a wide array of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants. Honey is a natural source of carbohydrates, providing 17 grams per tablespoon. Honey can help maintain muscle glycogen, also known as stored carbohydrates, which gives athletes the boost they need when they need it most.
Honey has been anecdotally reported to lessen symptoms in people with seasonal allergies. But clinical studies have never proven the connection. The theory is that when a person eats local honey, they are thought to be ingesting local pollen. Over time, a person may become less sensitive to this pollen and may experience fewer seasonal allergy symptoms. While the connection cannot be verified by science, don’t let that stop you from enjoying honey by itself or in food and beverages.
Information for this article was collected from Mayo Clinic, WebMD and the National Honey Board.