Honeydew honey is a sugary liquid secreted by insects such as aphids while sucking the plant sap. This sugary liquid is collected by honeybees and converted in to strong dark colored honeydew honey. It is also known as Pine honey, Fir honey or Forest honey. Few varieties are named after the plant source from which the bees collect the honeydew . Composition, properties and benefits of honeydew honey are different compared to honey derived from nectar of flowers.
How it is known in different nations?
It is known with different names in different nations. French: Le miel de forêt or Les miellats, Turkish: Salgı balı, German: Waldhonig or Honigtau Honig; Slovenian: Gozdni med or med iz mane Italian: Miele di bosco or Miele di melata; Spain: Miel de mielada or Miel Forestal.
Properties of honeydew / Forest honey
- Does not crystallize at all due to lower glucose content.
- Contains high concentration of minerals, a characteristic feature for honeydews.
- Possess strong flavor with a woody taste and leaves an aftertaste.
- Dark color with slight green fluorescence.
- Very less aroma.
- Highly viscous solution that is sticky to touch .
Difference between nectar honey and honeydew honey
There are several differences between nectar honey (which is based on flowers) and honeydew honey. Some key differences are provided below:
- Composition: Honeydew variety contains high amount of minerals, complex sugars such as raffinose and melezitose and amino acids.
- Taste and color: It is dark in color and less sweet compared to the blossom honey.
- Crystallization: Presence of complex sugars prevents it from crystallization. The high fructose to glucose ratio and less amount of water prevent it from crystallization.
Benefits of honeydew / forest honey
Like nectar honey, honeydew also offers a wide variety of benefits.
- Serves as prebiotics: Oligosaccharides present in honeydew serve as prebiotics promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria present in the gut. It is very helpful if consumed after taking antibiotics that are generally used to treat bacterial infections. By improving the gut flora it even helps to increase appetite.
- Helps in free radical elimination: high concentration of antioxidants in this honey variety help in elimination of free radicals and reduce the damage caused by them. Thus, intake of honeydew honey promotes general health.
- Antibacterial action: Honeydew variety of honey serves as a powerful antibiotic due to presence of high glucose oxidase activity. High enzymatic action results in production of increased amounts of hydrogen peroxide that acts against bacteria. In fact, it serves as a strong antibacterial agent than manuka honey renowned for its very high antibacterial action. Being an antibacterial agent it serves as a perfect remedy for cough.
- Nourish the nervous system : High concentration of amino acids and minerals such as cobalt, manganese, zinc, phosphorus and sulphur help in nourishing the nervous system. It even helps to improve cerebral functions. By improving the cerebral functions it helps in improving the intellectual abilities.
- Serves as a substitute for salts integrators: Due to presence of high amount of mineral salts it serves as substitute for artificial salts integrators. Dissolve one to two spoons of honeydew honey in a glass of water to obtain the desired salts. This property of honeydew makes it a best drink even for sports personnel.
Using honeydew honey in diet
- It is very delicious in taste and is a best spread for stale bread and toasts.
- Improves the taste of cheese varieties such as Gorgonzola, Roquefort, Taleggio and Murianengo
Plant sources for honeydew / forest honey and its varieties
Some of the trees from which bees collect honeydew include Silver Fir, Greek Fir, Hazel, Maple, Beech, Ash, Apple, Black Beech, Red beech, pine, Apricot, Peach, Oak, Willow, Rowan, Linden, American Elm. Depending on the plant source or the aphids secreting the honeydew different types of honeydew honey include:
Silver fir : Honeydew derived from Silver Fir plant is considered the best variety in Europe especially in central part where it is highly used. German black forest honey is derived from Silver fir. It is dark colored honeydew with a slight greenish shade. It is very less sweet in taste. The odor varies greatly and generally posses herbal, resin, pine, caramel, balsamic or a malty odor.
Pine honeydew : This variety of honey is produced greatly in Greece and on the Aegean side of Turkey from the honeydew produced by the insect Marchalina hellenica. It is a dark brown colored honey with caramel or woody flavor. Pine honey contains high amounts of minerals and does not crystallize easily.
Spruce honeydew honey : This honey is greatly produced in Slovenia, Europe and Czech from the honeydew secreted by the insects Cinara coslala, C.piceae and Physokermes hemicryphus. This is an amber colored honey with slight reddish veins. It is very less sweet in taste and has got the aroma of condensed milk, caramel, smoke, resinous and little balsamic. Spruce honey remains in liquid state and crystallizes very rarely. It also has got mild sweetness.
Oak tree honeydew : Unlike other honey varieties derived from honeydew, oak tree honey gets crystallized very easily forming large and firm crystals. It is greatly found in southern and central Italy, France, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Greece. The honeydew is produced by the insects Tuberculalus annulalus and T.borealis. Oak honey is a dark colored honey with very intense aroma and spicy taste.
Melcalfa Pruinosa Honeydew honey : This honey variety is named after the insect from which the honeydew is extracted. This insect which feeds on citrus species plants and around 200 other varieties of plants produces honeydew that is dark amber in color. Honey made from the honeydew is less sweet and slightly salty in taste. The odor of this honey is very unique similar to a cooked fruit.
Beechwood honey: This is made from plants Red beech and black beech that are native to New Zealand. The popular New Zealand honeydew variety of honey is derived from Red beech. This mildly sweet honey is very thick, smooth and remains in liquid state without getting crystallized. It gives very rich taste to foods and can be taken along with fresh cheeses such as the ricotta cheese, figs, or with plain yogurt.
Willow-tree honey: This is a rare variety of honey that is produced in very small quantities in Tuscany, Umbria and Piedmont. Honeydew is secreted by the insect Tuberolachnus salignus.
Citrus honeydew: This rich tasting honey variety is made using the honeydew secreted by the insect Rinchota that is abundantly found in citrus trees in Calabria, Sicily and Tunisia.
Honeydew honey that is rich in minerals and complex sugar has strong antibacterial and antioxidant properties compared to the blossom honey that we all prefer. Though it is low in sugar content it has got a strong flavor that makes it best to consume with bread. It is a very rare form of honey that is produced only in few parts of world. Hence, purchase it only from reliable suppliers.