The country is undoubtedly the country that boasts the world greater number of varieties of honey. «As many as 52, the result of an infinite variety of blooms and the great diversity of the climate from north to south of the Peninsula», says Hubert Ciacci, beekeeper and expert in sensory analysis of honey.
A precious wealth: "Because each honey has particular characteristics regarding theantiseptic, detoxifying, energetic and preventive action», Says Leopoldo Cervo, nutritionist biologist.
A jar full of ...
In addition to being good, this food is a concentrate of nutritional qualities: «It is easily digestible and unlike other sweeteners it contains vitamins, enzymes, bactericidal substances and, among others, a protein, the defensivein -1, recently isolated by researchers from the University of Amsterdam and considered highly antiseptic », continues Cervo.
«If you don't have diabetes or overweight problems, you can take some 2 teaspoons a day, preferably on an empty stomach. Or use it in the kitchen for some recipes ». Obviously, keeping an eye on the total calories (100 grams contain 304, refined sugar 392).
What to watch out for
Depending on the variety, this food is presented differently: «It can be liquid, as in the case of acacia, honeydew or chestnut honey, or crystallized (hence solid) like that of on, of citrus, of apple. The important thing is that it is not “separated”, ie liquid and crystallized at the same time, because it means that fermentation is in progress and that the product is losing quality », explains the beekeeper.
"Furthermore, it is preferable that it is not pasteurized, because the high temperature kills all the vital elements ». Then pay attention to conservation: "It should not be put in the refrigerator, but kept in its jar at room temperature and in a dry place", concludes Hubert Ciacci.
How to evaluate it as a true expert
Are approximately 230 experts in sensory analysis of honey (), specialists able to recognize the botanical origin of the different honeys and to give an evaluation. «The register, unique in the world, was established in 1999 and includes experts who have faced a complex course of study, with two specialization courses and one introductory», explains Hubert Ciacci, producer and taster.
«Their analysis is first of all visual: observe the honey inside its jar to check that there are no foreign bodies or imperfections, such as foam. Then follows the olfactory test: the jar is opened and its perfume is perceived, which must correspond to the type of honey declared on the label ».
The last test is the tasting: «You keep a teaspoon of honey in your mouth for about a minute, letting it soften with the saliva, then analyze all the flavors and aromas», concludes our consultant.
VARIETY OF HONEY AND CHARACTERISTICS:
1. Orange honey
Characteristics and properties: fragrant, with an intense aroma and a fruity, slightly acidic flavor, it has a very fine crystallization and a light, amber color. "Rich in vitamin B12, it nourishes the nervous system and promotes relaxation, helping rest," reveals Dr. Cervo. You can use it to sweeten an herbal tea to drink warm before sleep or in the kitchen ...
Honey paste (for 4 people)
Ingredients: 380 g of spaghetti, 100 g of orange honey, 60 g of almonds, 100 g of stale breadcrumbs, cinnamon to taste
Chop the almonds and breadcrumbs, then use them with the cinnamon to prepare a mixture in a pan over low heat. In the meantime, cook the spaghetti and once drained, saving 1/2 glass of cooking water, toss them in a pan with the other ingredients, adding the honey only when the heat is off. Mix well and, if needed, soften with the cooking water before serving.
2. Pollen honey
Characteristics and properties: collected by bees on flowers, it is considered a perfect food. «It ensures proteins, mineral salts, B vitamins, enzymes», confirms the nutritionist. «It is consumed both fresh (therefore fragrant) and dry and has a sweet taste. It is a valuable tonic, useful after a period of stress or illness especially to increase appetite. But it also works as an anti-anemic or to balance the situation after an intestinal infection. It should be taken 1 teaspoon a day, preferably in the morning on an empty stomach, accompanied by water or fruit juice ».
Fruity antioxidant (for 1 person)
Ingredients: 150 g of blueberries (fresh or frozen), 2 teaspoons of pollen, 2 teaspoons of honeydew honey, 2 ice cubes, 150 ml of fresh milk or almond or rice drink.
Puree the blueberries in a blender, then add the honey, ice, and milk (or the almond or rice drink), until you get a thick, creamy drink. Then pour into a glass and then decorate with pollen.
3. Wildflower honey
Characteristics and properties: aroma, color and flavor vary greatly depending on the geographical area and the season (generally it is lighter and more delicate in spring, darker and more intense in summer). It tends to crystallize and has a full-bodied consistency. It is perfect as a tonic or for growing children. "In addition, it is an excellent antibacterial, active in the lungs and liver, and is perfect during colds or after meals that are too large," says Dr. Cervo. It then stimulates the activity of the intestine, so it can also be used in case of constipation, and intensely nourishes the skin, making it an excellent base for a moisturizing mask.
Chicken with honey (for 4 people)
Ingredients: 500 g of chopped chicken breast, 1 lemon, 2 tablespoons of wildflower honey, 1 shallot, 20 g of butter, 1/2 glass of white wine, 3 star anise berries, 10 g of fresh ginger, oil evo, pepper, salt, 00 flour to taste
Cut the chicken into 1 cm pieces and pass them in the flour, then chop the shallot and put it in a saucepan with the oil and butter. When it is transparent, add the chicken while maintaining the high heat and cook, deglazing with the wine, for about 10 '. When cooked, mix honey, lemon juice, grated ginger and anise in a bowl, then add them to the chicken, sautéing over the heat for 1 '.
4. Honeydew honey
Characteristics and properties: it is a honey that comes from a sugary substance secreted by small insects that feed on the sap of the trees. Collected by bees, it is then transformed into a dark honey, almost liquid, not very sweet, with a bitter aftertaste and a hint of bark.
"Very rich in iron and mineral salts, it is perfect as a supplement after sport", reveals Cervo. «Dissolve 2 teaspoons with 1/2 lemon in a glass of water and recovery is assured».
Honeydew carrots (for 4 people)
Ingredients: 600 g of small carrots, 2 tablespoons of honeydew honey, 50 g of chopped almonds, 1 tablespoon of white wine, 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to taste
Clean the carrots, cut them into rings and put them in a baking dish with oil, salt and pepper. Bake in the oven at 190 ° C for 15 '. Meanwhile, add the wine to the honey, mixing well. Remove the carrots from the oven, add the honey with the wine and then the grains, mixing everything well.
5. Royal jelly
Characteristics and properties: it is the favorite nourishment of the queen bee, produced by the nurses. With a gelatinous consistency, of a color between white and yellow, it has a taste similar to yogurt. "It contains all the 8 amino acids we need, vitamins (especially B group), minerals, fatty acids and acetylcholine, an excellent antibacterial", explains the nutritionist. It should preferably be consumed fresh and is a useful support for the change of season or in moments of strong psycho-physical stress.
Royal jelly muesli (for 4 people)
Ingredients: 200 g of oat flakes, 50 g of almonds, 50 g of hazelnuts, 50 g of dehydrated fruit, 30 g of chia berries, 30 g of dried red currants, 50 ml of maple syrup, 30 g of brown sugar, 30 g of royal jelly, 25 g of seed oil, water to taste
Coarsely chop flakes, almonds and hazelnuts, then put sugar, maple syrup and oil in a pan, add a little water and bring to a boil for about 2 ', until you get a very liquid caramel. Then pour it over the grain, mix well, put everything in a pan and toast in the oven at 160 ° C for 15 '. Then let it cool and add currants, chia berries, dehydrated fruit and, at the last, the precious royal jelly.
6. Acacia honey
Characteristics and properties: with a light and vanilla scent, it has a delicate flavor. The color is clear, almost transparent, the consistency is liquid. It is an excellent sweetener, because it has a lot of fructose and dextrose, but very little sucrose. «It provides an abundance of B vitamins and minerals, in particular potassium, calcium and phosphorus», assures Cervo. «Thanks to this mix it is an excellent tonic, promotes intestinal balance and helps the liver to detoxify».
Lemon and honey cake (for 4 people)
Ingredients: 300 g of flour 0, 3 eggs, 50 g of acacia honey, 100 ml of water, 50 ml of seed oil, 1 lemon, 80 g of brown sugar, 1/2 sachet of yeast
Work with the whisk honey, sugar and eggs for 15 ', until frothy. Then add the lemon peel and juice, water, yeast and flour. Mix well and, when the mixture is fluid, pour into a 20 cm diameter cake pan. Cook at 180 ° C for 30 '.