How is honey made?

The bees collect nectar from flowers and store it in their honey gut.

This is a special stomach that only bees have. Here they add enzymes from their own body to break down the sugars in the nectar. Nectar has long chained sugars which are hard for the body to digest. Once the forager bee has returned to the hive, she regurgitates the nectar and gives it to another worker bee. The second bee then adds enzymes again and stores the nectar in a cell. At this point the nectar still contains up to 80% water and many long-chained sugars.

But the bees know how to turn the nectar into honey!

Over the course of the next days and weeks, worker bees will be reducing the water content and repeatedly add enzymes. How? They take up the stored nectar from a cell into their honey gut. Then they transport it to another cell and ventilate the open cells. After some time, all the sugars will be broken down into single strands, mainly glucose and fructose, and the water content will fall below 18%.

And that’s the magic in honey! The enzymes remain active in honey even when you buy it in a jar. But they are heat and light sensitive. So please, don’t overheat your precious honey and always store it in the cupboard! Enjoy!

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