Often the nectar is 80% water, and while stored in the hive, the heat and the circulating air will dry the excess moisture off. When the honey is reduced to around 18% water, a wax capping is placed over the cell, and it is called "ripe" honey. In this state, provided the capping/cell is not broken, it will last almost indefinitely.
How does nectar become honey?
Nectar from plants is mainly "sucrose" - common table sugar.
Enzymes in the bees honey stomach turn the sucrose into glucose and fructose.
These are called "simple" sugars, and can be absorbed by our blood.
The enzyme invertase, converts most of the sucrose into two six-carbon sugars, glucose and fructose. A small amount of the glucose is attacked by a second enzyme, glucose oxidase, and converted into gluconic acid and hydrogen peroxide. The gluconic acid makes honey an acid medium with a low pH that is inhospitable to bacteria, mold, and fungi, organisms we call microbes, while the hydrogen peroxide gives short-term protection against these same organisms when the honey is ripening or is diluted for larval food.
With respect to carbohydrates, honey is mainly Fructose (about 38.5%) and Glucose (about 31%).
Not all the sucrose is converted, so a small amount remains, together with other carbohydrates (eg Maltrose).
Honey contains trace amounts of several vitamins and minerals plus tiny amounts of several compounds thought to function as anti-oxidents.
Typical analysis would be:
and why is honey Yellow?
Ask us next time you drop in.