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Sardinian honey: properties and benefits of the best honey in Italy

Sardinian honey: properties and benefits of the best honey in Italy
 

Sardinian honey is unique. The wide variety of Sardinian honeys is the natural result of the great wealth of plant species that characterise the territory. Wildflower honey, acacia honey, lavender honey, strawberry tree honey, asphodel honey... all types of honey have their own characteristics and taste, as well as their own benefits and properties. Did you know that the winner of the historic "Roberto Franci" 2018 competition is a Sardinian honey?

Here are the characteristics, properties and benefits of Sardinian honeys.

What is honey?

"...honey is the foodstuff that domestic bees produce from nectar from flowers or secretions from living parts of plants or found on them, which they forage, process, combine with their own specific substances, store and allow to mature in the honeycombs of the hive"..

Honey is therefore the substance produced by bees.  Forager bees  collect nectar or honeydew from flowers and plants, which are the raw material for production. They retain these substances and, once back in the hive, deposit them. At this point, the worker bees store them and reduce the amount of water they contain; they then regurgitate it and spread it in very thin layers. By flapping their wings, they manage to create a current of air that further reduces the humidity inside the hive: after 36 days, the honey is ready to be extracted from the combs with the skilled work of the beekeeper and become the product we all appreciate.

We are used to thinking of honey as a simple sweetener (the oldest: for millennia it was the only sweetener used by man!). But honey is much more than that, it is a precious and rare food that comes from the work of wonderful insects that give us a substance with very important properties. 

Why is honey good for you?

It is often said that honey is a real medicine because of its curative properties, already known by the Sumerians, who used it to treat wounds, gastritis, coughs and eye diseases.

Even today, honey is still one of the best-known "grandmother's remedies", an incredible antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. Who has never eaten honey to cure seasonal pains?

Each variety of honey has particular health benefits. Here are the properties of those typical of Sardinia.

 

Sardinian wildflower honey

Sardinian wildflower honey is the typical honey of the Mediterranean vegetation, and is therefore produced from the flowers of the most common wild plants on the island, such as heather, asphodel, thistles and rosemary. An excellent mix that makes the Sardinian Wildflower honey different from those produced in other regions. Its flavour varies according to the season of production and the plants from which the bees collect the nectar. It will be spicier if the bees have collected more nectar from wild thistles or sweeter if they have flown more around lavender flowers. What about its nutritional properties?  High in minerals and antioxidants, it is an excellent ally against flu and to soothe coughs. Wildflower honey is also useful because it stimulates the intestine and digestive system, as well as being a good antibacterial. Try it added to your yoghurt!

 

 

Lavender honey

Lavender honey is pleasant to the palate and its taste is reminiscent of the flowers from which it is made. Amber in colour, it crystallises more quickly than other varieties. The benefits of lavender honey derive from the properties of the plant itself. Lavender honey is an excellent calming agent for the nervous system, able to relax and soothe. It is also used to soothe headaches and is excellent as an anti-inflammatory for the respiratory system and to calm coughs. Not only that, but lavender honey is also used to soothe itchy insect bites and in cosmetics as a natural ingredient in creams and masks! Try it with Sardinian Peretta cheese or on semi-seasoned cow's milk cheeses such as Nobile.

Sulla honey

Sweet, delicate, very light in colour, when crystallised its colour even tends to white. Sulla honey is precious above all for its content of vitamins A, B and C and mineral salts such as Zinc, Iron, Copper, Magnesium and Manganese, which make it an excellent natural energizer. It has also diuretic and laxative properties and the characteristic of having a high sweetening power but a low quantity of simple sugars. Try it in hot milk to fight throat irritations and soothe coughs!

Sardinian arbutus honey

Corbezzolo honey , with its unique bitter taste, is dark in colour and is the most famous Italian honey in the world. This variety is one of the rarest and most prized and has proven to be the richest in antioxidants. Strawberry tree honey is said to improve serum ferritin levels, a protein that guarantees the body's iron reserves, and to have beneficial effects on our immune system. Try it in combination with mature cheeses such as Fiore Sardo or Caprino Visconte!

 

Cardoon honey

One of the most famous Sardinian honeys, Cardoon honey has a distinctive enveloping floral flavour. With its excellent sweetening power, it is rich in vitamins and minerals and is considered an ally of our digestive and cardiovascular systems: it helps digest after meals and is known for its benefits on blood circulation. Try it on bread!

 

Eucalyptus honey

Eucalyptus honey is one of the most popular Sardinian honeys and is famous for its balsamic properties, which make it suitable for treating colds and flu. It has a powerful antibacterial action, making it perfect for mild urinary tract disorders. Great for breakfast!

 

Citrus honey

Highly fragrant and able to give herbal teas a special citrus flavour, citrus honey is sweet and has an acidic side. The benefits of this variety of honey are linked to its ability to stimulate the appetite and purify the body, especially when consumed before meals. Try it on fried desserts or in hot drinks!

How to use Sardinian honey in the recipes?

Sardinian honey is a very important ingredient in many typical Sardinian recipes. Delicious on seadas, typical fried sweets filled with Sardinian pecorino cheese and lemon, as an ingredient in Aranzada, a sweet made with orange peel and almonds, or on typical Carnival sweets; Sardinian honey is also delicious in savoury recipes such as lacquered duck breast or in combination with carasau bread and mixed cheeses.

Taste and health benefits in a jar. What is your favourite honey?