Honey is an aromatic, viscous, sweet material derived from the nectar of the plants, which is gathered by the bees and altered to feed them to a denser liquid and eventually stored in their honeycombs. It is rich in carbohydrates (glucose and fructose) and contains proteins, B vitamins, amino acids, enzymes, trace elements (calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc) and water. With regard to its caloric value, one tablespoon, equivalent to about 21 grams, gives 64 calories, while the corresponding amount of sugar has 84 calories.
The Greek myths describe Zeus Melissaeas being bee-eater in the Ideon Andro of Crete, and the beautiful god Apollo exclusively with nectar and ambrosia. The Olympian gods were also fed ragweed (honey) and nectar (hydromelon = liqueur produced by the alcoholic fermentation of honey) while the unlucky dead had to hold a honeypie as they went down to Hades to cheer on Kerberus. Homer and Hesiod refer to the collection of wild honey in caves, while the systematic apiculture begins after Hellenistic times.
The crystallization of sweeteners is characteristic of the flower and declares purity. This is a natural process related to the fructose and glucose ratio in its composition. The honey that grows fast (1-3 months) is orange, cotton, heather and sunflower, for longer (8-18 months) they need chestnut and thyme, while fir and pine tree do not crystallize, due to their low glucose content. To make the honey fluid, it is enough to melt it in a biennier at a temperature not exceeding 45-50 ° C. Proper storage requires that it be stored in a glass or metal container, outside the refrigerator, in a cool and dark place.
The only Greek honey with a protected designation of origin (PDO) since 1992 is the Mala Elatis Mainalou Vanilla produced in the defined area of Mainalon Arcadia, mainly in the area around Alonistena and Vytina. Other known types of honey are thyme, pine nut (other than the largest in Greece, it is darker in color and more pronounced in flavor), citrus honey (light and more transparent with distinctive taste), heather and cum (which are And a bit bitter!), cotton, acacia and flower. Organic honey is what is harvested from beehives that are freely rooting in native meadows rather than in intensive cultivation fields using pesticides.
Other beekeeping products are:
Propolis, a sticky substance produced by bees, which results from the collection of resinous secretions from the plant bark, and is enriched with wax, pollen, enzymes and other substances. Propolis is used by bees to waterproof and sanitize the interior of the hive. Propolis products and pharmaceutical uses are (a) as raw, (b) in extracts in ethyl alcohol (propolis tincture), (c) in syrup, (d) in capsules, (e) in pastilles for sore throat or stomach, (F) chewing gum and toothpaste, (g) oral and nasal sprays, (h) creams and ointments, (i) soaps and shampoos.
The wax produced by the young beehives and used for the manufacture of the honeycombs after fermentation with salivary gland secretions. It is produced in the form of balls and in the beginning is white.
Pollen, protein food from bees that is gathered from certain flowers, during the collection of which they mix it with nectar. Pollen occurs in three forms in the market: dried pollen, fresh pollen and a fermented form called beehive. Honey pollen is considered to be a separate product because it has different properties. The lower the degree of intervention in the original form of pollen, as we take it from the honeybee, the greater the benefits from it. Dried pollen is 20-40% less nutritious than fresh pollen.
The royal jelly, a creamy substance secreted by special glands of the beehive of the bee laborers, and from it fed bee larvae, which as perfect insects will become queens. These larvae initially do not differ from those made by workers, but under the influence of royal jelly they grow into queens. Production of royal jelly requires some training for the beekeeper and is a particularly painful process with low product yield and high cost in working hours and equipment. The royal jelly must be handled by the beekeeper to the customer by means of isothermal containers with ice packs to ensure its continuous cooling.
Pasteli (sweet from sesame and honey), mandolato (a kind of sweet with almonds, honey, sugar, egg whites whipped in meringue) etc.