At Le Pain Quotidien, we have always been honey enthusiasts. In fact, our founder Alain has 15 of his own beehives at his home in the south of France! But with two new honeys in our pantry, these days we’re extra sweet on honey. And for good reason! Honey has so many wonderful things to offer beyond its delicious taste. Read on for 5 interesting and surprising facts about honey!
1. It doesn’t spoil.
While excavating Egyptian tombs, archeologists have often found pots of honey that are thousands of years old, yet as wholesome as fresh honey. Thanks to a combination of factors, honey is one of the few foods that never spoils. If preserved properly—meaning the lid stays on the jar and no water is added—this sweet treat can last forever!
2. Honey is as old as history itself.
It’s hard to trace the exact beginnings of honey since there is evidence of the substance as far back as history records. That said, fossils of certain honey bees date back almost 20 million years! These fossils make honey bees one of science’s greatest mysteries, as the bees have changed very little while the world around them has changed significantly.
3. It comes in many different flavors and colors.
Depending on the location and kinds of flowers the bees visit, honey can differ significantly in flavor and color. The US alone is home to 300 unique kinds of honey, with floral sources as diverse as clover, orange blossom and wildflower. As a general rule, lighter colored honeys are mild in flavor while darker colored honeys are usually more intense.
4. Honey has numerous health benefits.
Raw, organic honey is loaded with vitamins, minerals and enzymes which protect the body from bacteria and boost the immune system. Honey is often used to relieve cold and flu symptoms such as coughs, sore throats and congestion.
Honey is also one of the oldest known wound dressings. Its high viscosity helps to create a protective barrier on the cut and its antibacterial properties prevent bacteria from growing on the wound. For these reasons, applying honey to wounds can even increase the healing speed.
5. A single honeybee worker produces 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey during its lifetime.
As the saying goes, there is power in numbers! To sustain the entire colony during winter, honeybees must produce about 60 pounds of honey between spring and fall. It takes tens of thousands of workers to get this job done, which explains why an average bee colony has 20,000 to 40,000 female worker bees. To produce just one jar of honey, honeybees travel the mileage equivalent of three times around the world!
Craving honey yet? Check out the two new varieties in our pantry: Orange Blossom and Lavender. Our Orange Blossom honey is light and aromatic, derived from the blossoms of the orange tree while our Lavender Honey finds its origin in the nectar of lavender and has a delicate, floral scent. Both of these products are available at your local Le Pain Quotidien and in our online pantry.
Were you surprised by these facts? How do you like to use honey? Let us know in the comments below!