Honey is not just a sweetener like sugar, it is much more. It is a unique product, rich in nutrients, aroma, and
taste. The differences between flower honey and those derived from coniferous trees are significant. Flower
honey, for example, contain pollen residues. Honey from coniferous trees is rich in minerals. Nectar-derived
honey is lighter, it crystallizes and it is lighter in color, while honeydew honey is darker and less crystallized.
There are also several differences between the types of honey in terms of their chemical composition.
Thus, flower honey has a higher percentage of glucose and fructose (greater than 65%), while
honey from coniferous trees has a lower percentage (38-65%).
How honey is made
Honey is a natural product with a sweet taste produced by bees with a natural treatment of nectar collected from flowers. Nectar is an aqueous solution of various sucroses, which the bee converts naturally into a sweetener named honey. Bees also produce honey from the honeycombs they collect from the living parts of the plant and from the secretions of insects that live on them. Types of honey are determined by the variety of plants or trees from which the bees absorbed the nectar or honeydew. It can come from a single plant/tree or a mixture of plants/trees.
About 65% of total honey production in Greece comes from pines. In fact, pine is considered the most important plant for beekeeping in our country. The main pine production areas are northern Evia, Halkidiki, Thassos, Skopelos, Zakynthos, and Rodos.
Flavor: Due to the low concentration of sucrose, it is not too sweet.
Aroma: Distinct. Some compare its scent to the scent of iodine
Color: Pine honey is darker than thyme. In fact, the one produced in the spring is lighter and clearer than the one produced in the fall.
Crystallization: Pine honey sugars relatively slow, as its natural glucose content is low. In particular, pure pine honey remains fluid, without crystallizing, for more than one and a half years.
Nutritional Value: Pine honey is considered to be of high nutritional value and this is mainly due to a large number of different substances in its composition. These substances contain minerals and trace elements (calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, copper, etc.), which are found in high concentrations in Greek pine honey.
One of the best and most expensive categories of honey. It stands out for its characteristic appearance. It is very dense. It is estimated that 5-10% of the honey produced in Greece is from fir. It derives mainly from the mountainous regions of Evritania, Pindos, Olympus, from the mountains of Mainalo, Parnon and Helmos in the Peloponnese, and from Parnitha in Attica.
Flavor: This type of honey is distinguished for its particularly good taste.
Aroma: It does not have a strong aroma.
Color: It varies depending on its region of origin. Thus, the fir honey from Vitina, Arcadia stands out due to the creamy reflections that are created inside it and is called “Fir vanilla”. In general, fir honey has a strong color, that in some areas is darker and in others is lighter.
Crystallization: Due to the low percentage of glucose, it does not crystallize.
Nutritional Value: It is rich in trace elements (potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, etc.). It contains very small amounts of vitamins, but even this small amount helps for the better assimilation of sugars by the human body.
Citrus trees (orange, lemon) are an important source of nectar for honey production. Citrus tree honey (especially orange) is very fragrant. It is produced mainly in the islands (Chania, Poros, etc.), in the Peloponnese and in Epirus.
Flavor: Extremely distinguished taste.
Aroma: Intense, wonderful aroma.
Color: Light yellow.
Crystallization: It crystallizes very quickly, so it is reccomended to be consumed in a short time.
Nutritional Value: In order to maintain the nutritional value of this type of honey, it should be consumed in a short period of time and be protected from high temperatures.
It is considered to be of excellent quality, honey. It belongs to the flower honey category, but in fact, it is a separate category due to its intense aromatic and taste characteristics. Its appearance is very attractive, which is why consumers usually prefer it. However, its great demand is due to the fact that, if mixed with other types of honey (even in small quantities), it has a decisive effect on their aroma. Its production is about 10% of the total honey production in Greece. The best areas for the production of thyme honey are the Greek islands and especially Crete and Kythira.
Flavor: Thyme honey has a pleasant taste, but sometimes, due to its high concentration of fructose, a burning sensation in the mouth remains.
Aroma: Very aromatic honey.
Color: Usually it has a light amber color. (The thyme honey of Attica and the Cyclades is lighter than the thyme honey of Crete, which is a dark orange color.)
Crystallize: This type of honey is getting sugary in 6-18 months.
Nutritional Value: Thyme honey is considered to have stimulative and antiseptic properties.
There are two types of heather honey, each with different properties. There is the autumn heather honey and the spring heather honey. Spring and autumn heather are among the most important beekeeping plants in Greece. It is produced almost all over the country.
Autumn heather honey
Flavor: It is tastier than spring heather honey and it is distinguished for its strong taste.
Aroma: Distinctive, delicate fragrance.
Crystallization: Due to its high natural glucose content, it crystallizes very quickly (approximately within 1-3 months) and is therefore not suitable for mixing with other honey and for creating commercial types (blends). This honey is also easier to sour than other types of honey because it has high humidity and high sugar content.
Nutritional Value: Heather honey (mainly autumn heather) is considered a very nutritious type of honey and very stimulant for the human body, so it is sold mainly in health food stores.
Spring heather honey
This honey, compared to autumn heather honey, is lighter in color and has a different taste. It is characterized by a high concentration of glucose.
This is a large category to which many types of honey belong. The main volume of this production is mainly based on spring blossoming.
Flower honey is light in color and crystallizes very easily.