In Crete, beekeeping began during the Minoan period, about 4,000 years ago. In Greek mythology, bee and honey play an important role. According to Greek mythology, the god Zeus was fed with milk and honey as a baby. In another myth, the Bee is the face of the priestess of Demetra the Goddess of the Earth. In addition, the Palace of Malia has the emblem of bees, as well as the Knossos pits, testify to the relation of the bee to the people from the Neolithic Age.
The main ingredient of Cretan honey is thyme. The main amount of Cretan honey is the natural blend of pine and thyme harvested in August. Other varieties of honey are pine, orange, sage, chewing, carob, and malotira honey.
Honey from the blend of thyme and pine, in addition to its amazing combination of flavors and aromas and rich nutrients, has the potential to slowly crystallize. The main characteristics of the Cretan honey are its aroma, taste, and viscosity.
To understand the origin of honey, it is sufficient to see its color and is usually a key criterion that affects the consumer. Dark-colored kinds of honey are rich in trace elements and have a high nutritional value, while light-colored, have a nice aroma and taste. Thyme Cretan honey has a very dark, light reddish color.
Main Honey Ingredients:
- Organic Acids
- Trace elements
- Natural sugars
- Other nutrients
The natural properties of honey are the viscosity which determines fluidity, hygroscopicity, and crystallization.
The beekeeper places the honey in the jar, raw, as it is extracted from the honeycomb, after passing it first through a sieve. So honey stays raw without losing its nutritional value for too long. Keep in a container very tightly closed, avoid exposure to sunlight and place close to heat sources.
The role of honey in health:
- It contributes significantly to metabolism
- It has beneficial effects on the heart and liver
- It regulates the acidity of the stomach
- It has antiseptic properties and antimicrobial activity
- Relieves sore throat
- It helps in faster metabolism of alcohol
- It is high in choline and helps those with constipation due to sedentary living.
In addition, honey plays an important role and is a key ingredient in the Cretan diet.
There are 2,200 beekeepers in Crete.