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Featured Article: Honey

A jar of honey, shown with a wooden honey dipper and biscuits
Honey is a sweet viscid fluid produced and stored by honeybees from the nectar of flowers and popularly used by humans as a sweetener and food source. The color, flavor, and composition of honey depends on the flowers that serve as the source of the honey, with popular honeys derived from clover, alfalfa, orange blossoms, buckwheat, and sage, among many others.

To produce one pound of honey requires thousands of worker bees visiting and collecting nectar from two million flowers, processing the nectar through repeated ingestion and digestion, and through fanning the processed product with their wings to remove water. Finally, when fully ripened, the bees store it in honeycomb cells, capping it with a thin layer of beeswax. For the bee, the honey serves as an important food source. A major benefit also accrues to the flowering plants, which are pollinated by the honeybees in the process of collecting the nectar.

Honey has been popularly used by humans for at least ten thousand years. It is used for diverse culinary purposes as well as for medicinal purposes through topical application, taking advantage of its antiseptic and antibacterial properties.