Honey is a natural delicacy that bees create from the nectar that they collect from flowers. The flowers’ nectar consists of approximately 55% water, 40% sugar and 5% proteins and minerals. The forager bees collect nectar from flowers by sucking it into their honey stomach. Then, they take it to their hive. While flying back to the hive, the bee is already secreting and mixing different enzymes into the nectar in its honey stomach, which is the first step of making nectar into honey. The bees in the hive continue mixing the nectar by regurgitating it from their honey stomach to their proboscis. At the same time, the bees evaporate moisture in the nectar. This process takes approximately 20 minutes. After this, the honey that is made from the nectar is stored in the beehive’s cells where moisture continues to evaporate.
Watch the video to see how honey gets from the producer to store shelves (video in Finnish).
What does honey consist of?
After the correct moisture level has been reached and the honey is done, the bees cover the cells with a thin layer of wax. The layer of wax protects the honey. The enzymes and evaporated moisture turn the nectar into honey. The resulting honey consists of approximately 20% water and 80 % sugars. Other components in honey include different vitamins, minerals and micronutrients.
People occasionally run into different types of fake honey around the world. In some cases, the honey has been processed or diluted with other raw ingredients to the point where the product can no longer officially be called honey. Honey Group Finland is the only honey packaging company in Finland to have a quality assurance certificate which guarantees that consumers always get pure, high-quality honey. Learn more about the certificate! (In Finnish)
Where does Honey Group Finland’s honey come from?
The honey that we package comes from domestic contract producers around Finland. Their professional beekeeping and high-quality Finnish honey allow us to use the “Hyvää Suomesta” (Produced in Finland) label. The label guarantees that our honey is Finnish. Honey Group Finland’s production process is also the only certified production process in the industry. The ISO 22000 standard (video in Finnish) ensures that consumers always get a high-quality, pure and natural product.
While flying from flower to flower with balls of pollen on their legs, bees also pollinate plants. This allows new plants to grow, leading to better yield and higher quality. Fruit trees and berry bushes, in particular, benefit from pollination.
Bees are taken care of all year
In Finland, honey is harvested in mid-summer, meaning that the harvesting season is rather short. The size of the yearly harvest fluctuates considerably in Finland. Several factors affect the yield, including temperatures, the amount of rain and the flowering period of nectar-bearing plants. To be able to harvest honey, the beekeeper ensures the well-being of their bees in many different ways. At the end of the harvesting season, the honey is harvested by removing the frames from the hives. New frames are placed into the hive during the harvesting season. At the end of the harvesting season, the bees are fed with a sugar solution that helps them survive the long winter.
The honey is scraped off the frames with a honey uncapper or roller and the frames are placed into a honey extractor. The extractor forces the honey out of the cells. From the extractor, the honey flows into a filtering pool where strainers catch any bits of wax and other trash, and the pure honey flows into containers. The clean honey can be enjoyed as is, but retail honey is made soft and fluid. If this part of the process is left undone, the honey will crystallise on its own and become very hard.
The honey that is eaten directly from the cell maintains its aroma more strongly than harvested honey. The wax that comes off the cells can either be spat out or swallowed, wax acts like fibre in the body. Some beekeepers and natural product retailers sell cell honey.
Four facts about honey
- Honey is a clean natural product that bees create from nectar in flowers. All honey is unique and has a slightly different taste depending on which flowers and plants the nectar was gathered from. You can also taste the different seasons in Finnish honey. Bright summers and clean nature give honey a rich taste. Finland is the northernmost country where honey is produced.
- Honey has over 200 ingredients, some of which have researched health benefits. Thanks to its antibacterial qualities, honey can be an efficient and natural way to treat injuries and illnesses: honey can be used to treat external wounds, burns, abrasions and skin conditions, and it can also be used for cosmetics. Ingesting honey can help prevent and treat infections and improve digestion. Honey contains healthy pollen that strengthens and recovers the body’s natural balance, helps maintain hormone balance, alleviates prostate issues and increases fertility and milk production for people who are breastfeeding.
- Honey is the most frequently used sweetener and preservative substitute for sugar, and honey is also used in cooking for proofing dough and marinating food. The sugars in honey are made up of small molecules, and they are quickly absorbed in the body, so honey is an excellent snack for athletes during and after their performance. Honey also improves browning and the shelf life of food, and it highlights the flavours of other ingredients.
- Honey is honey when nothing has been added to or removed from it. The Mieleinen product, on the other hand, is Honey Group Finland’s unique honey product that is a mix of honey, nutritional fibre and berries. Mieleinen is available in Original flavour with no berry flavour, and there are also Strawberry and Bilberry flavours. What makes Mieleinen unique is its consistency, which is low in carbohydrates and easy on the stomach thanks to fibre. Furthermore, Mieleinen stays fluid even after being in storage for a long time. Mieleinen Bilberry uses freeze-dried Finnish bilberry powder which maintains the bilberry’s fresh aroma and provides a condensed boost of vitamins and flavonoids. The amount of bilberry included in the product equals approximately 100ml of freshly-picked bilberries. Mieleinen is also great for those who consider ordinary honey a bit too sweet and for those who follow a FODMAP diet.