Archaeologists of our time have discovered many amazing things in Egyptian tombs. Among the jewels and other treasures hidden in these mysterious places include vessels containing honey dating now several thousand years and which continues to be good to eat despite the passage of time.
There are some other foods that are kept in good condition, for a long time: salt, sugar and rice are some of them. However, honey is special: it resists the passage of time and remains in a completely edible; Maybe I didn't want to taste or eat raw rice, but we can open an urn with honey for a few years now and enjoy it without any particular prepare as if it were one day old. Furthermore, the longevity of honey gives it and other properties (such as medicinal ones) that other foods with a long service life. This makes us ask ourselves-what do honey to be a food so special?
One answer is almost as complex as the aroma of honey: several factors working in perfect harmony in order to achieve this effect.
The first reason is due to the chemical composition of honey. Honey is primarily a sugar. Sugars are hygroscopic, which means that in their natural state contain very little water, but that can easily absorb from the atmosphere if not covered. "Honey, in its natural form, contains very little moisture. In such an environment very few bacteria or microorganisms can survive, so that they die ", explains Amina Harris, executive director under Honey and Pollination Center Robert Mondavi Institute of the University of California. Harris's explanation reveals an important element of longevity of honey: for honey to spoil, it needs to be something inside it to spoil. In such an unpleasant environment, organisms may not survive long enough in honey to have opportunity to "spoil" this food.
Also, honey is highly acidic. "It has a pH of what is found somewhere between 3 and 4.5, about, and this acid will kill almost anything it wants to grow in honey," says Harris. Thus, bacteria and other organisms that shortens the life of foodstuffs are forced to look for another host, as life expectancy in honey is very low.
However, the honey is not only food hygroscopic. Molasses, for example, a residue that comes from the extraction of sugar from beets, is highly hygroscopic and is acidic (but less honey, with a pH of 5.5). However, although tolerate syrup production breaks down eventually.
Why a sugar breaks down, and the honey will resist forever? Bees play a role as well.
Nectar, material collected by bees to make honey, is naturally very rich in water (representing 60%-80% of the total mass of the nectar). In the process of producing honey, bees play an important role in removing them from the water, beating wings to dry out the nectar. In addition to the beating of wings, may have contributed to the longevity of honey. There is a bee in the stomach enzyme is referred to as glucozoxidază. When bees regurgitates the nectar to produce honey, this enzyme is mixed with nectar and it breaks down into two components: gluconic acid and hydrogen peroxide. "Hydrogen peroxide is the other element that acts against all noxious elements that might develop in honey," explains Harris.
For this reason, honey has been used for centuries as a medicinal remedy. Because it's so thick, because they reject any kind of micro-organism and because it contains hydrogen peroxide, honey represents perfect barrier against infection in case of injuries. Sumierene clay tablets describing the oldest documented use of honey for medicinal purposes, records from that period pointing out that honey was used in 30% of the recipes. The ancient Egyptians also used honey for medicinal purposes, regularly producing ointments for skin diseases and eye. "The honey was used to cover a wound, a burning and other similar problems, because it does not allow any micro-organism to grow, making it a natural bandage," explains Harris.
Furthermore, when honey is not stored in a jar, it absorbs moisture. "As it absorbs water from the wound, which otherwise would have allowed infection, honey release a very small amount of hydrogen peroxide. This is exactly what we need-is sufficiently reduced in a way that stimulates healing, "says Harris. Moreover, honey is used for that purpose today: Derma Sciences company marketed in hospitals around the world MEDIHONEYplasters and bandages, covered with honey what stimulates healing.
The last factor that explains the longevity of honey is that it is held in closed vessels. Although honey is a superaliment, it is not supernatural: If you want to keep in an environment that was moist, it will spoil. "As long as the cover is placed and do not add water, the honey will not hurt. If you add water, however, can hurt honey. Also, if you open the lid, water can penetrate into the vessel and can lead to damage to the honey, "explains Harris.
So, if you want to store the honey for hundreds or thousands of years, do what I do and the honey bees and keep sealed.