- Sapori di Sicilia
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Honey is a food made by bees that, after extracting nectar from flowers (an essence that the latter produce to attract insects), they add their enzymes and let it mature inside the hive. Different flowers present in nature produce different types of nectar, so there are various types of honey. One of the rarest and healthiest is honeydew honey which instead of being produced with flowers nectar, is obtained from a substance often found on leaves or tree bark, honeydew indeed.
Differences between Honey and Honeydew Honeydew
The main difference between nectar honey and honeydew honey lies in raw materials that, as already said, in the first case is taken from flowers while in the second case is a sweet and sticky substance produced by some insects, that bees find on leaves or bark of some trees, such as spruce, linden, pine, oak and maple. The main insect that produces honeydew is the Metcalfa Pruinosa, imported from America and spread in north-eastern areas of Italy above all. Honeydew, rich in sugars and mineral salts, is found mainly in wooden areas where flowers are scarce and bees are forced to use alternative methods to produce honey. One of the most known is the one that grows in the Black Forest and is widely used in beekeeping in Germany. Compared to the more canonical nectar honey, honeydew honey is less sweet, contains less sugar and is the ideal alternative for those who, for example, must follow a low-calorie diet. The flavor, reminiscent of caramel, has a resin aftertaste and leaves a slightly bitter taste; its color is darker, almost tending to black. Finally, the consistency is as compact as that of nectar honey, but does not tend to crystallize.
Honeydew Honey Benefits
Honeydew honey is rich in iron, mineral salts and possesses antibiotic properties, so much that many scientific researchers have confirmed its antibacterial characteristic that are effective even against some pathogenic bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus that often resists antibiotics. Being a source of iron, honeydew honey is also useful for those who follow special diets, such as vegan or vegetarian diet, but can be used as a sweetener instead of sugar, ensuring a lower glycemic index. Therefore, it is recommended to diabetics and those who follow slimming diets, but also to celiacs or those suffering from lactose intolerance. The beneficial effects of honeydew honey also affect our nervous system, because it helps to improve memory and concentration as well as stimulate appetite, just like royal jelly. Thanks to the presence of polyphenols it can be an effective natural tonic and for this reason is often called “athletes’ honey”. In fact it contains all hose mineral salts such as potassium, manganese and magnesium that help our body in specific dehydrating situations or excessive sweating. Honeydew honey also plays an important disinfectant and antiseptic action, so that in the past it was even used to disinfect wounds. In addition, its antiseptic properties are useful against cough and bronchitis, especially for children who cannot take medicines. Finally, honeydew honey regulates your intestinal bacterial flora and improves the correct functioning of your digestive system. Given the multiple properties of honeydew honey, it is even more important to know where it comes from, because in some areas honeydew may have been contaminated by chemicals or heavy metals, especially in some areas closer to urban or industrial centers.
Honeydew Honey Composition
In its natural form honeydew is composed of various elements: about 75% of sugars (a traditional honey such as acacia has up to 80%), including fructose, glucose, sucrose and maltose. In addition, it contains several nutrients, including vitamins and minerals and also a percentage of water that varies between 17% and 18%. In includes also proteins, amino acids, organic acids and essential oligominerals such as copper and iron. Every 100 grams of honeydew honey provides about 300 calories, almost entirely supplied by simple sugars.
Honeydew Honey Recipes
In addition to all the above-mentioned uses, honeydew honey is an excellent ingredient to use in the kitchen. There are several recipes in which you can add it, but you can also eat it simply with a teaspoon or dissolved in water. Moreover, it is great to mix with yogurt or spread on rusks or toasts or even in cereals with milk for breakfast, instead of the various creams. Of course it is a valid sugar substitute for drinks such as coffee, tea or herbal teas and can be used for cakes and biscuits or for orange marmalade with which it fits perfectly. Lastly, an original way to use honeydew honey in a savory dish is to add it to chicken cooked in a pan and seasoned with sesame seeds and soy sauce.
Where to buy honeydew honey
Honeydew honey s not very common in Italy, where it is still preferred the most classic chestnut or wildflower honey, or that of acacia, so it is not easily found in normal supermarkets. It is advisable to go to a herbalist’s shop or in shops that sell natural food who can ensure its origin in order to buy it. The alternative is to rely on the internet and the several specialized sites scattered on our national territory, Sicily in particular. Here, in fact, honeydew honey production is widespread especially in Nebrodi mountains area, where the great botanical variety ensures the possibility of producing various types of honey. In Sicily there are several brands from which to choose your honeydew honey and one of them is Oro d’Etna, a company specialized in the “flavors selection of Italian tradition, products of excellence. Real works of gastronomic art, created by small artisan producers”. The use of honeydew honey does not involve particular contraindications, but is not recommended for children under one year of age.