Originally published in Journal de Montréal on January 9, 2010.
Long before the first artificial beehives were ever built, humans were already collecting honey from either hollow trunks or in small pits dug into the ground.
They used honey as much for sweetening food as for health reasons. Hippocrates even considered it to be an elixir of long life and prescribed it as a treatment for fever, wounds and ulcers.
As for the illustrious honeybee, which makes the honey from the nectar of certain flowers, it was also venerated as the ‘messenger of the gods’, ‘solar light’, ‘insect of the Gods’, etc.
In fact, honey is a food that is rich in energy and is relatively pure. It is made up of more than 80% carbohydrates: fructose and glucose, two simple sugars that do not require any digestion and that are easily and directly assimilated by the body. Honey also contains a tiny amount of potassium and traces of other nutrients including antioxidants, like flavonoids.
Nowadays, you can find many varieties of honey, based on the bee plant, the type of producing bee and the place of production. In Canada, the term ‘honey’ is regulated: It can only be used for an entirely natural food that contains neither any extra additives, nor any food preservatives. The label must specify the name of the country of production, the quality (Canada no. 1, 2 or 3) and the floral origin (acacia, clover, wild flowers, etc).
Honey can be kept for a year or two at room temperature. Non-pasteurized honey must be preserved at around 10°C or in the refrigerator, as it has a tendency to ferment.
Try our Grilled Salmon with Honey recipe