Honey’s Eternal Shelf Life
2013 08 27
Red Ice Creations
Considering the almost eternal shelf-life of honey, one has to wonder, which would last longer - honey, or a Big Mac? (Note: Unlike honey, you should never attempt to eat a centuries-old burger.)
The Smithsonian’s ’Surprising Science’ delves into jars of nature’s sweet stuff:
The Science Behind Honey’s Eternal Shelf Life
Natasha Geiling | Smithsonian.com
Modern archeologists, excavating ancient Egyptian tombs, have often found something unexpected amongst the tombs’ artifacts: pots of honey, thousands of years old, and yet still preserved. Through millennia, the archeologists discover, the food remains unspoiled, an unmistakable testament to the eternal shelf-life of honey.
There are a few other examples of foods that keep–indefinitely–in their raw state: salt, sugar, dried rice are a few. But there’s something about honey; it can remain preserved in a completely edible form, and while you wouldn’t want to chow down on raw rice or straight salt, one could ostensibly dip into a thousand year old jar of honey and enjoy it, without preparation, as if it were a day old. Moreover, honey’s longevity lends it other properties–mainly medicinal–that other resilient foods don’t have. Which raises the question–what exactly makes honey such a special food?
The answer is as complex as honey’s flavor–you don’t get a food source with no expiration date without a whole slew of factors working in perfect harmony.
The first comes from the chemical make-up of honey itself. Honey is, first and foremost, a sugar. Sugars are hygroscopic, a term that means they contain very little water in their natural state but can readily suck in moisture if left unsealed. As Amina Harris, executive director of the Honey and Pollination Center at the Robert Mondavi Institute at Univeristy of California, Davis explains, “Honey in its natural form is very low moisture. Very few bacteria or microorganisms can survive in an environment like that, they just die. They’re smothered by it, essentially.” What Harris points out represents an important feature of honey’s longevity: for honey to spoil, there needs to be something inside of it that can spoil. With such an inhospitable environment, organisms can’t survive long enough within the jar of honey to have the chance to spoil.
Honey is also naturally extremely acidic. “It has a pH that falls between 3 and 4.5, approximately, and that acid will kill off almost anything that wants to grow there,” Harris explains. So bacteria and spoil-ready organisms must look elsewhere for a home–the life expectancy inside of honey is just too low.
But honey isn’t the only hygroscopic food source out there. Molasses, for example, which comes from the byproduct of cane sugar, is extremely hygroscopic, and is acidic, though less so than honey (molasses has a pH of around 5.5). And yet–although it may take a long time, as the sugar cane product has a longer shelf-life than fresh produce, eventually molasses will spoil.
So why does one sugar solution spoil, while another lasts indefinitely? Enter bees.
“Bees are magical,” Harris jokes. But there is certainly a special alchemy that goes into honey. Nectar, the first material collected by bees to make honey, is naturally very high in water–anywhere from 60-80 percent, by Harris’ estimate. But through the process of making honey, the bees play a large part in removing much of this moisture by flapping their wings to literally dry out the nectar. On top of behavior, the chemical makeup of a bees stomach also plays a large part in honey’s resilience.
Read the full article at: smithsonianmag.com
Tune into Red Ice Radio:
Andrew Gough - Hour 1 - The Sacred Veneration of the Honeybee
Honey Offers Many Benefits
Wik-Bee Leaks: EPA Document Shows It Knowingly Allowed Pesticide That Kills Honey Bees
Millions Of Honeybees Found Dead
Honeybees trained in Croatia to find land mines
Mystery Malady Kills More Bees - Will We Rebuild With Robots?
Pesticide makes bees forget the scent for food, new study finds
Need a filling? Stone Age dentists knew their beeswax
Starving Cancer to Death by Removing one Food: Refined Sugar
McDonalds Burger Doesn’t Decompose After 14 Years
Latest News from our Front Page
Archaeologists unearth ‘unparalleled’ pre-Christian temple in Norway
2014 03 07
A fascinating discovery is shedding light upon pre-Christian Scandinavian religion and early Christian inroads into Norway. In the Norwegian press, this highly important find is being called “unparalleled,” “first of its kind” and “unique,” said to have been “deliberately and carefully hidden” – from invading and destructive Christians.
Located at the site of Ranheim, about 10 kilometers north of the Norwegian ...
The Ring of Brodgar, the Neolithic Henge of Orkney Island
2014 03 06
On the largest island of Orkney, Scotland called The Mainland, amongst the rugged cliffs and almost constant wind, there sits a Neolithic henge and stone circle known as The Ring of Brodgar. It is the third largest circle in the British Isles after Avebury & Stonehenge. Built in a true circle, the Ring of Brodgar is thought to have been ...
Ancient Egyptian Soldier’s Letter Home Deciphered
2014 03 06
A newly deciphered letter home dating back around 1,800 years reveals the pleas of a young Egyptian soldier named Aurelius Polion who was serving, probably as a volunteer, in a Roman legion in Europe.
In the letter, written mainly in Greek, Polion tells his family that he is desperate to hear from them and that he is going to request ...
Creator of Bitcoin Has “Done Classified Work for Major Corporations and the U.S. Military”
2014 03 06
The picture that’s painted here is pretty strange. Nakamoto apparently worked on black world projects, but, according to the story, he’s a libertarian and is ambivalent about the government. According to his daughter, “He was very wary of the government, taxes and people in charge.”
I don’t know what to make of this, but it’s definitely an interesting read.
Satoshi Nakamoto ...
Meet the only man that George W. Bush ever ‘pardoned’ – but why?
2014 03 06
21st Century Wire says…
When George W. Bush was governor of Texas, something very, very bizarre went down, and to this day, neither the mainstream press, or the alternative media have made much headway on this strange turn of events…
The investigation focuses around what links Bush, his family or inner circle, had with the convicted serial killer and self-proclaimed cannibal and ...
|More News » |