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Honey is a sticky, sweet syrup made by honeybees using flower nectar. Bees make honey to feed themselves, but many other animals enjoy their creation as well. Specifically, honey's actually bee throw-up. That may sound disgusting, but a honeybee's stomach is a honey factory. A bee eats, then regurgitates the honey many times until it's digested to the desired consistency. Many bees will ingest and throw-up the same honey in this process. Once at the right consistency, a honeycomb is used to store the honey. Honeybees make a draft with their wings to help with water evaporation in the syrup. The lessened amount of water heightens the sugar/water ratio and helps to prevent fermentation.
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Honey's a natural syrup requires no other additives of sugar or salt. In fact, it's mainly sugar itself, with 16 g per tablespoon. The National Honey Board states that honey contains 64 calories in a tablespoon, which means there are approximately 21 calories in a teaspoon. The Board states the nutritional values in honey are (per tablespoon) water = 3.6 g; fructose = 8.1 g; glucose = 6.5 g; maltose = 1.5 g; total carbs = 17.3 g. This sweet syrup also contains acids (organic and amino), antioxidants and vitamin C. By percentage, a tablespoon of honey contains protein = 0.266; nitrogen = 0.043; amino acids = 0.05 to 0.1. A tablespoon of honey also contains vitamin C (0.1 mg) and tiny amounts of the minerals zinc, phosphorous, calcium, selenium, iron, copper, manganese, potassium and chromium.
Honey is mainly used for sweetening food. For example, it can be put on toast for breakfast, drizzled over ice cream for dessert and used as dip for spring rolls. Honey has natural preservatives in it, making it great for keeping foods fresh. Marinate steaks in honey to not only make a sweet and savory dinner, but to also help the steak keep fresh in the fridge. The natural sweetener can also help sore throats. The thick liquid will coat the throat and soothe irritation. In fact, many cough drops contain honey. Honey also contains a natural antiseptic. Use it on chapped lips or cuts and scrapes to help soothe and protect.
Laila Alvarez has been writing professionally since 2002. She has written for Houston Community Newspapers and "L.A. Zoo View," "North O.C. Magazine," "Perpetual Phlegm" and other magazines, newspapers and websites. Alvarez has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from California State University-Fullerton.