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1. Types of honey
A. Honey, often referred to as «liquid gold,» houses a wide range of vitamins and minerals. In the normal honey-making process, honey is filtered to remove contaminants, such as bee parts, waxes and other impurities. Nothing wrong there; nobody wants to chew on bee parts or wax, right? Ultra-filtration is a high-tech procedure in which honey is heated and pushed through extremely fine filters at high pressure. This technique not only removes contaminants, but pushes out the pollen and many other beneficial vitamins, minerals and enzymes, too.
B. Did you know that there are more than 300 distinct varieties of honey? Different types of honey are categorized by the ways they are sold. Comb honey is taken directly just as it is stored by the bees. Liquid honey is the most common form of honey found on shelves and used by most people. Granulated honey is a powdered form of honey that is made by drying the honey in order to draw out the water. Creamed honey is a blend of granulated and liquid honey.
C. Avocado honey from the flowers of this plant tends to be darker in color and has a rich, buttery taste. Blueberry honey, contrary to popular belief, is not honey with blueberries added. It is actually derived from blueberry flowers. Clover honey is the variety that most people think of as common, table honey. Eucalyptus honey is as varied as the species of plant from which it comes. It has a wide variety of color and flavor. Orange blossom honey is mixed with nectar from citrus flowers.
D. Raw honey is not subjected to any sort of heat processing, though it is sometimes strained for a more pleasing presentation. This means that it still contains all of its natural nutrients. The best temperature for pasteurization of honey is 145 degrees Fahrenheit. This destroys many of the nutrients in the honey the same way that cooking vegetables at high temperatures breaks down their vitamins and minerals. Adding pasteurized honey to tea or coffee will have no effect on its nutrients, because they are already destroyed.
E. It is believed that honey history dated as far back as 10 to 20 million years ago and the practice of beekeeping to produce honey, apiculture, dates back to at least 700 BC. In ancient times, Eygptians sacrificed honey by the tons to their river gods, Roman legions slathered honey on the wounds as a natural cure to promote healing, and medieval lords reserved honey for their private use. It’s told that the body of Alexander the Great was preserved and embalmed with honey.
F. Honey is a miracle food; it never goes bad. It was reported that archaeologists found 2000 year old jars of honey in Egyptian tombs and they still tasted delicious! Many people find it rather surprising that bacteria cannot grow in honey because all things being equal, bacteria loves sugar. The unique chemical composition of low water content and relatively high acidic level in honey creates a low pH environment that makes it very unfavourable for bacteria or other micro-organism to grow.
G. Personally, when selecting honey in the shop, I think it’s almost impossible to tell the bad from the good by just looking at the honey content through the jar or studying its food and nutrition labels. My take is always to go for the trusted or better known brands. The best is to be able to ask the source or supplier of the honey questions about the honey origin and how the honey is harvested and processed to get an assurance on the quality.