Forager bees collect nectar and honeydew and store them in their honey sac or honey stomach. They then pass it on to the hive bees in the hive. Bees typically find nectar in the flowers of plants, while honeydew is secreted by insects (plant lice, scale insects, citrus flatid planthoppers) that feed on plant sap.
The bees deposit small droplets of partially ripened honey into comb cells. Over a few days, the composition of the liquid changes and thickens, resulting in honey. When the honey is ripe, bees seal it with wax capping and store it as food reserves. Beekeepers uncap the honey bee combs and remove the honey using special extractors, filling containers with it.
Types of honey are named after the plants bees collect nectar or sweet sap from. In Slovenia, these include acacia, lime or linden, spruce, oak, chestnut, silver fir, rape, sage, buckwheat, etc. This is why there are so many different types of honey: acacia honey, linden or lime honey, spruce honey, chestnut honey, silver fir honey, dandelion honey, etc. Each specific type of honey has sensory and physico-chemical properties characteristic of that type. It also contains a sufficient amount of pollen from the respective plant species, while honeydew honey contains elements from honeydew.
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Honey contains approximately 200 different substances. It is primarily a concentrated aqueous solution of carbohydrates, with the highest amounts of fructose and glucose, which provide a good source of energy for humans. The average energy value of honey is 321.4 kcal/100 g.
In addition to being a good source of energy, honey also contains proteins, enzymes, organic acids, amino acids, fats, vitamins, minerals (iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, sodium, copper, and zinc), and phenolic compounds (flavonoids, phenolic acids), which are classified as antioxidants. Antioxidants are believed to prevent the development of cancer, various inflammations, and to have preventive effects against aging processes.
Honey can be consumed dissolved in water, tea, or coffee. It should never be used to sweeten fluids with a temperature above 40 °C. It can be added to various beverages or foods, such as tea, milk, pastries, yogurt, soured milk, natural juices, etc. Even Turkish coffee can be sweetened with honey. It can completely replace refined sugar in our diet as it contains several bioactive substances that our body needs apart from sugars. It is added to various cooked or baked dishes (sauces, vegetables, meat dishes) primarily to give them a special aroma.
Slovenian honeys, which represent a European specialty due to their tradition and production methods, ensure controlled quality, traceability, and known origin through the labels of Protected Geographical Indication and Protected Designation of Origin.
For the production of honey included in quality schemes, beekeepers must rely on good beekeeping practice in keeping bees. Such honey must be produced in a specific geographical area and has to meet higher quality parameters than those prescribed by the Rules on Honey. Beekeepers are additionally monitored by independent inspection organizations.
Join the European quality schemes and demonstrate to customers that you do good work and that your honey is of higher quality and has a known origin.
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