Varieties of Honey

 

Honey varieties are directly related to the nectar source (flowers and/or trees) visited by the honeybees. The unique characteristics of the Hellenic terrain and the nomadic nature of apiculture in Greece contribute to a wide range of honey varietals. Honeybees visit more than 100 floral varieties at a time, but the honey varietals depend on the flower species whose nectar prevails over other flower species. Consequently, the specific flower blossom ascribes the flavour and name to the particular honey varietal.  

All too often, honey producers mix two honey varietals, e.g. thyme honey is mixed with a small quantity of pine honey to inhibit crystallization.

Basically, there are two categories of honey: one that comes from flowers (blossom) and another that comes from the juices of trees (e.g.eucalyptus, heath, pine, etc.). The flavour, aroma and nutritional value of honey depend on the nectar source (blossoms or trees) honeybees have visited. Furthermore, the quality of honey also depends on the bee tribe, the quality of soil and the health status of bees.

COLOUR AND FLAVOUR

The colour and flavour of the honey varietals depend on the nectar sources (flowers and/or trees) visited by the honeybees. In general the colour of honeys ranges from translucent, to yellow, redish, deep orange, amber, light brown and dark brown. As a rule of thumb, honeys light in colour are usually of acute aroma and taste. However, honeys darker in colour are rich in trace elements (potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, sodium) and, therefore, of high nutritional value. Approximately 320 honey varietals are available internationally.

PINE

This is darker than thyme honey. Approximately 65% of all honey produced in Greece is of the pine varietal. Owing to its low sugarconcentration, this varietal is not particularly sweet but richer in traceelements, proteins and amino acids. This type of honey does not crystallize easily.

FIR

One of the best honey varietals comes from fir trees found in the regions of Euretania, Epirus, Mt. Pindos, Mt. Parnitha and Mt. Olympus. It is dark brown in colour and retains its liquid form for about two years. 

CHESTNUT

This honey is of intense aroma, dark red in colour, leaving also a bitter aftertaste. It is also slow to crystallize (1-2 years).

LINDEN

It is of bright yellow colour and particular flavour. It is ideal for minor intestine ailments and good for curing insomnia attacks. This type of honey is produced in western Macedonia.

HEALTH

This type of honey is also known as "sousouri". It is considered a product of high nutritional value and often found on the shelves of health stores. It has a particular aroma and flavour, is redish in colour while it crystallizes in 1-3 months. This type of honey is recommended for children and the aged. Beekeepers use this type of honey to feed their bees.

EUCALYPTUS

Eucalyptus honey is of mildly sweet, herbal flavour with a fruityaftertaste. It does not crystallize easily and is considered of high nutritional value.      

CLOVER,"BABAKIA", SUNFLOWER

Honey of this type is of the blossom category mentioned earlier. It is light in colour and crystallizes fairly easily. It is produced in Thrace and Macedonia (Greece).

ROSEMARY

This is considered as an aphrodisiac. It is mainly produced in the countries of the Middle East and is of the rare type.

SAGE

This honey is produced on Crete where the land is rich in sage efflorescence. This type of honey is of excellent aroma and long-lastingflavour.