This week I’m working on an article about honey. Did you know that much of the honey sold in the United States may not be honey at all? No one knows for sure because many manufacturers filter out the pollen and other microscopic bits that help scientists identify honey as the sticky gooey stuff that comes from bees.
You will see that article here on YayYay’s Kitchen soon. In the meantime, I’ve spent way too many hours staring at microscopically crazy stuff in a sample of the “Pure, unfiltered, 100% North Coast Wildflower” honey we buy. Totally rock-out fun! Am I a nerd or what?
Now, I’m no biologist, and I’m still learning how to use this microscope and its camera. To find out what I’m seeing through my microscope’s camera lens, I hunted down some images of pollen. This Pollen Image Library, published by a site called Science and Plants for Schools, links to hundreds of microscopic pollen photographs.
I gazed at dozens of them before I got cross-eyed, long enough to be fairly certain that I’ve got at a least a few pollen grains in my honey. Not as many as I’d have thought, but some. The photos above include fairly typical specimens in my sample. They look a little like the pollen samples from Lobularia maritima in the Pollen Image Library, but I didn’t find any that were a likely match.
Here’s a slide show of several more images taken from my sample.
If you run through some of the images in the pollen library referenced above, you will see as I did that many pollens have similar characteristics, while others are extremely different. Some are round, some ovate, some roughly triangular, some rather amoeba-like in shape. Some are horny, some thorny, some smooth. Some have ridges and valleys. Some have pores. Many have combinations of these features.
As you can see, this little granny is no where near ready to attempt to identify the pollens in my sample. I surely would like to know what some of those other geegaws are, too. I wondered if the crystal-shaped objects might be sugar crystals. So much to learn!
In the meantime, watch for my upcoming article on the honey in our kitchens. Is it the real thing? Or is that plastic bear filled with corn syrup and sugar water?
♥ ♥ ♥
This post is shared at Simply Natural Sunday of 5/28/16.