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Honey

A sweet, viscous liquid made by bees from flower nectar. Bees eat the flower nectar, which then passes through their digestive system to be expelled as honey. Honey is mostly made up of sugar and water, but also contains small amounts of pollen, wax and mineral salts. In ancient times, honey was regarded as the food of the gods and a symbol of wealth. Before the introduction of sugar, it was widely used as a food sweetener. Honey is one of our oldest foods, and has been found, still edible although a little hard, in Egyptian tombs. The colour, flavour and aroma of a honey depends on the type of flower the nectar is taken from. There are many varieties, ranging from pale or even clear, mild honeys such as acacia, clover, orange blossom and alfalfa, to the darker coloured, strongly flavoured honeys such as thyme and heather. In cooking, honey is used in both sweet and savoury dishes, it is commonly used as a spread, as a sweetener for drinks and cereals, in confectionery and in baked goods such as gingerbread. In North Africa, honey is popular in savoury dishes such as couscous, tagine, roast lamb and chicken.