Pine tree honey is what we call a honeydew or forest honey. This just means the honey starts off in a slightly different way to more typical honeys. In this case, bees gather nectar from honeydew excreted by plant sucking insects like greenflies. The better known method of gathering nectar is by honey bees visiting the flowers of blooming plants.
Honeydew honeys are generally quite dark and thick compared to the lighter varieties.
Pine tree honey has a full-bodied yet quite pleasant flavor that is suggestive of pine sap. This is also one of those honeys that make a perfect and much healthier alternative to table sugar. It's particularly nice when taken with black teas. Pine honey is great when it's spread across toast, hot scones or added to pep up fruity dessert dishes. A lot of creative cooks like to add this honey to create a bit of sweetness to various savory dishes too. Culinary uses aside, pine, like many other honeys, boasts some incredible health benefits.
As a Healer
Thanks to its anti-bacterial properties, pine tree honey can be applied directly to the skin as a healing agent. It helps to speed up the healing process of wounds, burns and sunburn. Those who use it as a healing agent swear by its effectiveness.
Most of the honeydew honeys boast stronger antioxidant properties than the floral varieties. The reason for this is because they contain high levels of flavonoids and phenolic compounds. Antioxidants are important because they are what help to protect against free radicals. The thing that most people relate to free radicals is premature ageing. However, physical aging is one of the lesser worries when it comes to the damage that free radicals can cause to human health. It's the age-related disorders that are of most concern. This can include things like heart disease, cancers, Alzheimer's disease and macular degeneration. So we should embrace anything that can help protect against free radicals.
A 2007 study looked at the differences between nectar and honeydew honeys. The conclusion was this: honeydew honeys are better antioxidants than nectar honeys.
A 2012 study published in The Journal of Microbiology, Biotechnology and Food Sciences, did some research into honey varieties. The aim was to compare the properties of 18 different honeys. The testing included both floral and forest honeys. Researchers found Greek pine honey to be better than all the others with regards to its strong anti-bacterial properties. It exerted antibacterial effects against the following bacterium:
A 2009 study published in the November issue of the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition also had something to report on pine honeys. They found it to be among the best sugar alternatives of all the honeys. As a natural sweetener, it provided the human body with essential minerals. The researchers state that it's a particularly good source of potassium. Potassium is a mineral that's essential for life. It's necessary for the major organs to work properly, including the heart and kidneys. Pine honey also contains a number of other minerals aside from potassium. These are calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium and zinc.
Pine tree honey is a forest honey with a good standing in the world. Its nutritional profile is excellent as is its culinary use. The crystallization of pure pine honey is nice and slow. In fact, this honey will remain fluid for 18 months or more when stored correctly. Whether you're looking for a healthy food staple or a natural healing agent, you will want to put pine tree honey onto your shortlist of options.