Honey is mainly classified by the floral source of the nectar from which it was made. Honeys can be from specific types of flower nectars or can be blended after collection. The pollen in honey is traceable to floral source, while the rheological and other properties of honey can be used to identify the major plant nectar source used in its production.
The most common classification of honey is:
- Blended Honey, is the most commercially available honey, meaning it is a mixture of two or more honeys differing in floral source, color, flavor, density or geographic origin;
- Polyfloral honey, also known as wildflower honey. It is derived from the nectar of many types of flowers. The taste, aroma and flavor may vary from year to year, depending on which bloomings are prevalent;
- Monofloral honey is made primarily from the nectar of one type of flower. Different monofloral honeys have a distinctive flavor and color because of differences between their principal nectar sources. To produce monofloral honey, beekeepers keep beehives in an area where the bees have access to only one type of flower, which is in practice difficult and thus a small proportion of any honey will be from additional nectar from other flower types.
- Honeydew honey is produced when, instead of taking nectar, bees take honeydew, the sweet secretions of aphids or other plant sap-sucking insects. Honeydew honey is very dark brown in color, with a rich fragrance of stewed fruit or fig jam, and is not as sweet as nectar honeys.
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Honey is usually used in processed form and it constitutes an ingredient for many recipes in the Greek cuisine. It can be consumed as spread, as sweetener in teas or milk, in chicken and pork recipes as long as in a large variety of traditional Greek sweets such as lokmades, pastellaki and diples.
Diples are sweet fried bow knots and is a traditional Greek delicacy. The dough contains flour with 10 beaten eggs, 1 snap of Greek ouzo along with the lemon juice of one lemon, salt and sugar. The dough should then get wrapped in foil and kept there for an hour. The dough is then cut in ring-shape and then cut again I half and then passed through a pasta machine through levels 2, 4 and 6 twice. The long thin dough strips are then placed on a cotton sheet so that they don’t get dry. After cutting the strips in rectangular pieces they are thrown in boiling oil and immediately rolled to cylindrical shape with a fork. After the bow knots are fried to a golden brown color, they are drained and then dipped in boiling oil and honey syrup. This sweet delicacy is served topped with chopped walnuts and cinnamon.
The therapeutic value of honey has been recognized by science, but there is no Corfiot mother that didn’t praise on its healthy aspects. Honey is known to:
- Act against stress by storing the fructose contained in the liver as glycogen
- Heal or relieve from insomnia, sore throat, some heart diseases and generally has a beneficial effect on the heart, increases blood hemoglobin and muscle strength etc
- Heal burns, wounds and nasopharyngeal diseases when used externally
- Relives form ulcer and other gastrointestinal deceases
- Be a natural antibacterial due to an enzyme produced by the bees
- Be a good source of energy and improves athletic performance
However, the most important attribute of honey is its antioxidant properties that reduce oxidation reactions within the human body, which can cause chronic disease and some types of cancer. There are also indications that the honey can reduce the spread of metastatic tumor cells.
Honey is one of the most valuable, nutritious and healthier foods. It provides energy to the muscles, clarity of mind, disinfects and regulates the digestive system. Regular use gives vitality to the body and helps to prolong life. Hippocrates and all the doctors of antiquity recommended as a medicine in many cases. Honey is a natural source of carbohydrates, containing natural sugar by 80% – mostly fructose and glucose, water by 18% and 2% of minerals, vitamins, pollen and protein. The vitamins present in honey are B6, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and certain amino acids. The minerals found in honey include calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc.
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