“Nature’s pharmacy”, “liquid gold”, “god’s gift”… from ancient time up until now, honey has been a natural, healthy food of great nutritional value.
It is made by bees using vegetable or animal secretions or nectar from flowers. It contains among others, 16% water, proteins and aminoacids, minerals in small portions (potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron etc), enzymes, protein complexes, vitamins (Β2, Β6, C, D, E, pantothenic acid, folic acid etc), natural fragrance substances.
It also contains trace minerals, which are very important for the metabolism and the nutrition. Trace minerals can be found at our bones and cells, they participate in a variety of enzyme systems and they regulate stomach acidity.
Honey is well known for its antiseptic properties, it acts as a stimulant, it increases the heart rate, helps with stomachulcer problems and in general it contributes to the well being of the human body.
Honey is also an excellent remedy to help those suffering from anaemia due to its iron content. Honey can also help absorb alcohol, therefore helping your body metabolize it quicker in cases of alcohol intoxication. It also contains high portions of choline, a nutrient which helps those suffering from constipation.
Lastly, we shouldn’t forget to mention its antimicrobial use, as honey seems to prevent the growth of bacteria and pathogens, a property that can be of use for wound cleansing and healing.
Greek honey vs imported
Greek honey is considered to be one of the best in the world. The reason for this lies in the biodiversity (high degree of variation of plants) and the soil and climate conditions of Greece, as well as Greek beekeepers’ high level of professionalism.
Honey technology is not particularly advanced in Greece, that’s why unlike Greek honey that has the minimum elaboration and standardization, imported honey is a highly standardized product of advanced elaboration (pollen extract, overheat, blended and heated to extremes to prevent crystallization, colour change etc).
Imported honey is very watery, since it has high humidity, which makes it vulnerable to contamination.
The quality of Greek honey and the compliance with the Greek and the European legislation are ensured thanks to the frequent inspections of the EFET (Hellenic Food Authority) and other certified agencies.
Did you know?
- Honey was the first sweetener ever used by humans.
- The father of medicine, Hippocrates (462-352 BC), who lived, taught and got international recognition for his work, suggested honey to patients as well as healthy people, having realized its great beneficial properties.
- ‘’If something eliminated bees from the planet, mankind would perish within 4 years". A quotation attributed to Albert Einstein meaning without bees there are no plants, without plants no animals and thus without animals mankind has little chance of survival.
- In Ancient Greece and Byzantium, people used to marinate the meat with honey and vinegar to make it tasty and tender.
- Honey unlike sugar has a lower glycemic index, although it has more calories. The lower the glysemic index of a food, the best it can be absorbed, therefore having a mild insulin response to the food without any rapid and steep fluctuations in blood sugar levels.
- The well known changes of honey as it ages, such as the crystallization, colour change (it becomes darker) and taste change (it becomes stronger), have no effect on its nutritional value.
- To produce 1 kg of honey you need 4 kg of nectar, meaning 13.000 bees have to fly for 177.000 km and visit 4.000.000 flowers.
- The average worker bee has to visit between 50 to 100 flowers in order to fill its gizzard with nectar.
- In summer, the average bee only lives for 30 days.
- Crystallization is a natural process that happens to the most pure raw or unheated honey and it doesn’t mean that the honey has gone bad or is adulterated. Crystallization takes place mostly during winter because of the low temperatures.
- Honey should not be stored in a hot or sunny place. The sunlight can destroy a lot of the honey’s enzymes. The same result applies if you overheat it or boil it.
- Store your honey in well sealed cans. Honey can absorb external bad smells, which destroy its own aroma. It also absorbs water quite easily, even when there is only a small amount in the air. Too much water in honey (over 20-23%) will allow the creation of yeast and thus fermentation.
- When you consume just honey, try to keep it under your tongue for as long as possible. This will allow its most finest elements (essential oils, minerals, glucose etc) to pass directly into the blood.
- Try to consume small portions of honey rather than big quantities rarely.
- Add two spoons of honey to your lemonade and you can enjoy a refreshing drink in the summer or a soothing beverage in the winter.
- When you bake bread, honey can be used to make the crust darker; however you should reduce the temperature of the oven by about 15 degrees.