A sweet and scarcely fluid substance, which is collected by bees from the nectaria of flowers, and deposited in the cells of the combs for the support of the bees and their offspring. Naturalists are not agreed whether honey undergoes a particular elaboration in the bodies of bees, thence deriving its flavour and consistence, or whether it is merely collected and deposited by them in its pristine state. M. Cavezzali has proved that honey is composed of sugar, mucilage, and an acid. The sugar may he separated by melting the honey, adding carbonate of lime, in powder, as long as any effervescence appears, and scumming the solution while hot. The liquid, thus treated, gradually deposits crystals of sugar. There are three distinctions of honey, according to its purity and the manner it has been obtained from the honeycombs. The first and finest kind is virgin honey, or the first produce of a swarm, obtained from the combs without pressing, these being only set to drain, m order to its running out.
The second kind is that known by the name of white honey, being thicker than the former, and often, indeed, almost solid; it is procured by pressing the combs, but without the assistance of heat.
The third and worst kind is the common yellow honey, obtained from the combs first heated over the fire, and then pressed. Honey was a domestic manufacture of great importance before the introduction of cane sugar; and in those countries where cane sugar is still scarce, the preparation of honey is very extensively conducted. It is not uncommon for a peasant of the Ukraine to have 4 or 500 hives; and for a parish priest in Spain to have as many as 5000 hives. In the Hanoverisches Magazin, it is stated that the Jews in Moldavia have a method of making honey into a hard and white sugar, which is employed by the distillers of Dantzic, to make their liqueurs. The process consists in exposing the honey to the frost during three weeks, sheltered from the sun and snow in a vase of some material which is a bad conductor of heat. The honey does not freeze, but becomes transparent, and hard as sugar.
The cellular fabric made by bees in wax, in which they deposit their honey. Hence, in the casting of iron or other metals, when the work is not solid, but cellular or spongy, it is denominated honey-comb.