English for beekeepers

Wednesday word file: fructose

Fructose is a naturally-occurring monosaccharide (simple sugar) also known as “fruit sugar.” It is the sweetest of all the naturally-occurring carbohydrates, and it is the sugar most easily dissolved in water. Fructose is the principal component of most honey and is responsible for keeping honey from crystallizing.

Fructose can bind with another simple sugar, glucose, to form sucrose—the substance we call table sugar. Most sweet foods contain varying amounts of fructose, glucose, and sucrose but a few—including honey, apples, and pears—are generally extra high in fructose. There are, however, certain types of honey have more glucose than fructose, a situation that causes crystallization.

Natural fructose should not be confused with high-fructose corn syrup, which is product manufactured by treating corn syrup with specific enzymes that convert some of the glucose to fructose. Both natural fructose and high-fructose corn syrup produce hydroxymethylfurfural when heated.

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  • The health food store sells fructose in bulk. It looks a lot like sugar, but more sparkly. It’s not cheap. In theory, back to the crystallizing syrup problem, we could make syrup using some fructose instead of all table sugar, and it would be less likely to crystallize?

    • I think that would work, but I think you would have to use a lot. Like 50-50? Not sure. This is something I will have to look up. Good question.

  • The bee food I use, Ambrosia. contains fructose and never crystallizes, comes premixed, the bees love it. It contains a lot less water than sugar syrup. I buy in bulk, not a lot difference in price than sugar but only made to feed bees.

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