History and why Honey has been valued by the Greeks:
The history and use of Greek honey is impressive. Since ancient times honey, has been used both as a food and a source of medicinal therapy. Some of the legendary greats of Greece such as the “Father of Medicine", Hippocrates, wrote, "Honey and pollen cause warmth, clean sores and ulcers, soften hard ulcers of lips, heal carbuncles and running sores." Aristotle, philosopher and student of Socrates, believed that honey prolonged life. There
was “honey therapy" used at the most famed health spa in ancient times , the Asklepieion.
What is Honey?
Honey is a gift from the bees of a sweet, thick, sugary solution from the “honeydew" (sweet secretions of insects feeding on the plant sap) or the nectar that a flower, herb, or tree provides. The ingredients are varying proportions of fructose, water, glucose, oil and a special enzyme produced and added by the bees.
To make 1 lb. of this sought after delicacy, bees fly to 50-100 flowers “per flight" and actually fly thousands of miles to make the equivalent of 1 lb. of honey. Bees fill their sacs with these juices, then fly back to the “house bees" who then take the nectar, add enzymes from “their" bodies which cause the moisture to evaporate and that turns the nectar into honey. After time, the nectar which is stored in a honeycomb cell becomes the honey we know. So you can have either “nectar" honeys or “honeydew
honeys. In some studies it has been found that the darker honey generated by bees feeding on honeydew have greater antioxidant properties than those produced by bees feeding on nectar.
FUN HONEY FACTS:
~~~ In Greek “Mele" is the word for honey…. And “Melissa" is the word for honey bee.
~~~ It takes the lifetime of 12 bees to make one teaspoon of honey!
~~~ Greece has a plethora of myths starting with a pretty strong case for honey… ‘It was the food of the Gods of Olympus known as “Ambrosia".
~~~ Greek honey has specific physical and chemical characteristics. Ultimately, the Greek honey produced is unique in color, aroma, taste and thickness.
~~~ Honey has the largest mythological tradition in all the histories in the world.
~~~ Greece is where the art of beekeeping (apiculture) started in early prehistoric times.
~~~Honey and the collection of honey was so prolific in Greece that you can find more than “40 ancient names" for honey containers and innumerable references to honey throughout ancient Greek history.
~~~ In the 5th century BC and later, archaeological evidence shows that bees were kept in ceramic beehives—(large pottery jars) in which the interior had been incised before firing to provide a rough surface for the bees to attach the combs.
~~~ The world’s first cook book comes from Greece). Even today, loukamades (honey puff balls), melamacarano (Xmas honey macaroon cookie), sesame and honey bars are all made with honey and are a staple handed down through the millennia!
~~ Greek mythology tells us that Zeus, was raised on honey.
~~~ Many beekeepers harvest by hand using the ancient traditional methods from late spring until late autumn. The honey is extracted cold and is unfiltered to ensure the many health beneficial properties of the nectar
~~~ Honey was the first sweetener used by the Greeks in their diet for the preparation of sweets and delicacies which made honey very popular in ancient Greece. Honey, grapes, and olives formed the beginning of Greek gastronomy.
~~~ You may see raw, pure Greek unprocessed honey crystallize (become somewhat solid). This is natural with raw unfiltered honey (Simply place the jar in a bowl of warm water and the crystals will melt into the golden liquid you associate with honey).