It is a symbol of health, well-being and longevity. In mythology it was called "the nectar of the gods" and we find it in the diet of both Greeks and other peoples such as the Egyptians, Sumerians, Babylonians and Romans.
Its history dates back to ancient times, where it was treated as a natural and healthy product, an essential element of the diet, which has a special place in the daily diet of the ancient Greeks either alone or as a preparation in sauces and various sweets. In historical times we find it in Hippocrates, Aristotle and Democritus, who refer to the beneficial properties of honey in health and longevity.
The properties of honey
Due to the abundance of ingredients contained in honey, it has been attributed many beneficial properties since ancient times and is one of the most studied foods for health. It has been discovered that honey benefits the body in various ways. Thanks to its ingredients, honey has antioxidant, antimicrobial, healing, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, immunosuppressive & cardioprotective properties, while also acting as a prebiotic.
Depending on the plant of origin, honey has a different taste, color, aroma and ratio of ingredients. Due to the rich flora, Greek honey is one of the best in the world in terms of quality and taste. Its main species are thyme, pine honey, flowers, rye honey, cotton honey, spruce, chestnut, citrus, sunflower and heather.
Its main nutrients are carbohydrates (glucose and fructose), proteins, B vitamins, amino acids, enzymes, trace elements (calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc). In terms of caloric value, a spoon, which is equivalent to about 21 g, gives 64 calories, while the corresponding amount of sugar has 84 calories.
What should the consumer pay attention to when buying honey
The honey is available packaged and labeled with the following details:
- Country of harvest (in case it is packaged and sold in Greece, the country of origin must be indicated, while in the case of honey mixtures, the country of origin must be indicated).
- Name or trade name and registered office of the manufacturer or packer or distributor.
- Data on net weight, date of minimum shelf life (when day and month are indicated, batch number indicated) and special conditions of storage and use (eg storage in dry and dark environment). Honey is available packaged and is labeled with the following information
Maintenance and storage conditions
Honey is properly preserved and stored resulting in greater preservation. The product retains its nutritional value when left in a closed package and in a dry, cool, dark place and without strong odors (honey has the ability to absorb moisture from its environment as well as is affected by its direct exposure to sunlight).
Crystallization of honey
Crystallization of honey is a completely natural process that occurs mainly in flower honey and does not affect the nutritional value of the product. Honey with increased glucose content crystallizes very quickly (eg heather honey) in contrast to honey with a lower amount of glucose where it crystallizes at a slower rate or not at all (eg pine honey).
The color of honey is related to its botanical origin and each type of honey displays the typical color of its plant origin. However, the majority of consumers in Greece prefer light-colored honey without taking into account that many pure categories (eg pine, chestnut, spruce) are by nature dark in color with low clarity.
Purchase from certified sellers
The purchase of honey from street vendors who present themselves as beekeepers but do not have a street vendor license or beekeeping booklet should be avoided.