The Chemistry of Honey: what is honey made up of?

The main ingredients of Honey are carbohydrates (80%) in the form of fructose and glucose, water (18%), proteins (with 18 amino acids), vitamins (e.g. Vit B), Minerals (e.g. Calcium) and Pollen (2%).
But this is the end result of the work of honey bees.
All honey begins with nectar. Whereas honey is viscous and has a low water content (18-20%) - flora nectar is 80% water. It’s a very thin colourless solution and not nearly as sweet as honey. It’s also chemically different.
Honey bees don’t just gather the flora nectar, they change the nectar chemically.
They are Chemists!! Using enzymes and dehydration techniques, these scientists of the natural world basically change the sugar in flora nectar into a supersaturated power food.
A honey bee’s secret weapon is its ability to change the complex sugars found in flora nectar into simple sugars. This process is called hydrolysis. To change sucrose into glucose and fructose – normally scientists add heat, acids or enzymes - a complicated process that's done in a lab!
But, when it comes to honey and chemistry, bees (and their enzymes) are far more efficient than human scientists. Through the use of their unique enzymes, bees convert the complex sugars in flora nectar into the simple sugars of glucose and fructose resulting in honey.
Honey is what scientists call a “supersaturated” solution.
Remember Chemistry experiments where we learnt that if water was heated, it could dissolve more sugar! That is what a super-saturated solution is. That is what honey is.
And that is why it also tends to crystallize easily – but that conversation is for another day.

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