Four Surprising Honey Facts

Wildflower Honey JarMany people know that honey can be used for medicinal purposes or as a tasty topping, but there is so much more to honey that most people are never introduced to.

Here are a few facts you may not know about honey that can be easily used as conversational pieces at your next cocktail party!

1. Honey was of great value in ancient civilizations.

Not only was honey used as a sweetener and to help promote good health, but it could be found in furniture polish, varnish, and even cement. In fact, honey once was so great in value that:

  • In 30th century B.C. Egypt, honey was often used as payment or tribute and fed to sacred animals;
  • In 7th century B.C. Greece, honey was used as a sacred offering to gods and spirits of the dead;
  • In 11th century A.D. Germany, peasants were required to give their feudal lords a payment of both honey and beeswax.

2. Honey stored in airtight containers has an indefinite shelf life.

Honey has a number of attributes designed to prevent it from spoiling (as long as it has been properly sealed). For example, the supersaturation of honey kills bacteria and also prevents yeast and other fungal spores from forming. Since honey doesn’t go bad, and considering how valuable honey was in ancient civilizations, edible honey (as well as honey combs) have been found in tombs thousands of years old.

3. A typical beehive of 50,000 honey bees can make up to 500 pounds of honey per year.

In order to make just one pound (or 0.45 kilogram) of honey, two million flowers have to be visited. To gather just a pound of honey, the honey bees must travel about 55,000 miles (or just over 88,500 kilometres).

4. Cupid the Honey Thief.

In the tale of “Cupid the Honey Thief”, Cupid is stung by bees while stealing honey from a hive. After he’s stung, Cupid runs to his mother, Venus, and complains that such small creatures shouldn’t be able to cause such painful wounds. With a laugh, Venus points out that Cupid, too, is small and delivers the sting of love. In mythology, Cupid is sometimes depicted as dipping his arrows in honey before shooting individuals.

Surprise your friends with your newfound honey knowledge… and then introduce them to mead, another tasty product made from honey!