Honey is the primary hive product and is basically nectar from which bees have evaporated most of the water content. It is a sweet energy food and has vitamins, hormones and minerals which are beneficial to man. It is generally used in four main areas namely;
- As food
Honey as Food:
- The major part of honey produced is eaten as Table Honey.
- Of the estimated annual world consumption of honey, 90% is eaten directly either as liquid honey, comb honey or chunk honey.
- It is also used as a sweetener in beverages, bread and cakes.
- The use of honey in baking improves moisture retention and thus increases storage life and provides a richer flavour.
- Honey in confectionery is also used in preparation of sweets.
- However sweetening agents like sugars or syrups tend to replace honey because they are cheap.
- Honey has also been used to make honey mead which is a popular alcoholic beverage in many African communities.
- Honey is a component of many commercially manufactured pharmaceutical products such as cough syrups. It is also used as a palatable sweetening agent in general pharmaceuticals.
- Honey is valued in cosmetics due to its moisturising effect on the skin thus, it is incorporated in the manufacture of various cosmetic products like soaps, creams, shampoos and conditioners.
Honey as a Preservative:
- The use of honey as a preservative is very common with the older generation.
- Traditionally honey was used as a meat preservative.
- The high sugar concentration combined with antibacterial nature of honey makes it an effective preservative.
- NB: Honey is extensively used in the tobacco industry as a sweetening agent.
- Its hygroscopic nature also helps to keep the tobacco moist.