Honey is a fantastic natural sweetener and also has hidden benefits that are only recently being brought to life. We’re excited to shine a spotlight on this powerful food! On August 17, from 5:30 - 6:30 PM, we’re welcoming Melissa Register of the Register Family Farm to the Resort! She’ll be giving a complimentary hive demonstration and discussion about the benefits of local honey. To whet your appetite, here are a few things we’ve learned as we prepared to welcome Melissa to the property.
First, the bees. In order to make one pound of honey, about 60,000 bees visit more than 2 million flowers, in the process making 300,000 to 700,000 trips and traveling a cumulative total of as much as 55,000 miles! A single bee can make about 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime! Most of the worker bees are female. Out of a colony of 50,000-60,000 bees, only a few hundred are male.
Of course, the bees produce RAW HONEY. Raw honey is normally opaque or milky, and can vary in color from white to yellow or brown, depending on the type of flowers being pollinated. It can be purchased in liquid or a creamed, solid form. In the bottling process, it will have been strained to remove bee parts, wax, or other impurities, but it will have no artificial additives or processing, and it will not have been heated or pasteurized.
Most of the honey consumed today has been PROCESSED since leaving the hive. It has been heated and filtered and probably contains additives such as high-fructose corn syrup, nutrients, or enzymes to replace some that were removed during pasteurization, or even antibiotics or toxins. Processed honey is smooth and uniform in color.
There’s a BIG difference in the beneficial properties of raw honey compared to processed honey. Raw honey contains 22 amino acids, 27 minerals, 5,000 enzymes, and several vitamins. All of those combine to produce an impressive list of benefits for raw honey. In fact, raw honey has been called one of nature’s PUREST foods! However, the heating, filtering, and other processing steps applied to regular honey strip it of most of the benefits provided by raw honey.
Let’s look at a list of benefits and beneficial uses of raw honey:
- Raw honey is a natural COUGH SYRUP, and can be as effective as over-the-counter commercial cough syrups.
- It is a NATURAL ENERGY SOURCE and has been called “the perfect running fuel.”
- Raw honey can COUNTER POLLEN ALLERGIES, since it includes small amounts of pollen that can help your body build up immunities to the pollen. Please note that this benefit is related to locally produced raw honey, which contains the same pollens that your body is dealing with.
- Replacing processed sugar with raw honey can result in weight loss. Honey may even lower serum triglycerides.
- Raw honey contains polyphenols, antioxidants that may reduce the risk of certain diseases.
- It may promote good sleep by fostering the release of melatonin in the brain.
- Raw honey has a history of wound healing that goes back to ancient times because of natural antibacterial properties.
- Raw honey has even been used in natural hair conditioners and body moisturizers.
Please be mindful of a couple of cautions, as well. Raw honey should not be given to children under one year of age. If you have a compromised immune system, you should consult a doctor before adding it to your diet. Like many good things, raw honey should generally be consumed in moderation.
Not surprisingly, the Destin and Northwest Florida area includes a vibrant community of beekeepers and businesses that are active in the raw honey industry! Several local associations and clubs actively promote the industry and provide education and resources to interested parties. A number of local businesses and farmers markets market raw honey from hives in the area. An estimated 2.7 million bee colonies are in the U.S. currently, and about two-thirds of those travel the country each year so that different crops can be pollinated at the optimum time. A number of our local beekeepers participate in those travels, as well.
So now you know that honey is not just something that makes your cereal taste a little sweeter. Bees, beekeepers, and the industry are core components of the agricultural system, and they benefit us in many unexpected ways! While you’re with us, take advantage of your opportunity to find out even more about these fascinating creatures, this industry, and the local people involved in it!