By: Greg Brian
You’ve probably heard the term “honeycomb” used for years in different contexts. Some of you might have grown up with Honeycomb cereal, or seen the term used in poetic ways.
In the world of nature, it explains the very foundation of how raw honey is made. Let’s look a little deeper into the wonders of how honeycomb gets made by bees and how it gets raw honey to your table.
What is the Basic Definition of Honeycomb?
Those hexagonal-shaped cells you see in every beehive? That’s what a honeycomb is, even though it doesn’t tell you everything about how those cells are made.
The image of honeycomb is very familiar once you see it in pop culture images. Go in a little closer to those unique cells, though, and you get into some interesting nature of how bees produce honey.
It all starts with the innate ability of honeybees to make hexagonal honeycombs. They do this by instinct, yet they’re intelligent enough to understand the hexagon shape is one of the sturdiest of structural shapes.
Using this shape reduces weight and helps give more strength to the honeycomb in general. Still, what goes inside those honeycomb cells to produce raw honey?
The Combination of Beeswax and Honey
When bees head out to gather pollen from flowers, they take the pollen back to their nests and pass it on to other bees. They do this by basically regurgitating the pollen and into the stomach lining of another bee.
The pollen may be passed from bee to bee for a while before the final bee takes it and stores the pollen in the honeycomb cells. To make this work, they make beeswax first, which is basically secreted from the bee’s glands.
Doing so helps form those familiar cells, which is where honey is eventually made. Those cells are also where the queen bee goes to lay her eggs. Consider those cells made of honeycomb to be like miniature incubation rooms in part.
Of course, this is where honey is also made and stored to help give bees food during the winter.
Extracting Raw Honey from the Honeycomb
To harvest raw honey, farmers take honey from those cells. Yes, honeycomb is basically made up of beeswax and raw honey, with beeswax being the only aspect without any nutritional value.
Only raw honey from the honeycomb is the most nutritious of any food in the world. One issue is that when raw honey is removed from the honeycomb, it removes a small amount of the nutritional aspects. The reason is it becomes exposed to the air, hence adding a pinch of moisture.
Not to worry, though, because the majority of the antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals found in raw honey will still be in there. Local farmers are very careful on removal to ensure you still get the best raw honey available.
If there was ever a way to keep raw honey in the honeycomb cells long-term, it would retain all those nutritious ingredients, making it even more powerful as a health food.
Should You Buy Raw Honey from Honeycombs?
You absolutely should, based on the tremendous antioxidants available alone. Enough of those are in raw honey to help prevent numerous medical conditions, including cancer. It’s even possible to consume the entire honeycomb itself.
Even better is that, when you buy raw honey, you’re buying from local harvesters who take it directly out of the honeycomb described above.
Here at Artie’s Harvest, we work directly with those farmers in the Pacific Northwest. We tell you exactly where it comes from to give you a better understanding of how it’s harvested.