Honey. Honey scent. Anywhere, so strong. Over these last weeks we have been harvesting so much honey, that’s its season indeed. I must admit that I am much enchanted by honey. A golden waterfall. As much hypnotic as sweet. As much healthy as delicious. You can do so many things with it. Anybody knows it, but nobody that well. There are so many kinds and of course each pot is different, it’s impossible to reproduce it as in an assembly line. There will be always a little different shade or a tiny element that changes and its uniqueness makes it even more special in my opinion. In any case, among the different kinds – which is ours?
When someone is interested in our honey, among the very first questions we get of course there is ‘which kind of honey is it?‘ or who has clearer ideas/tastes asks us ‘do you have chestnut honey? ‘ or again ‘yours is acacia honey?‘. No, ours is multiflora honey.
Multiflora honey… that means?
I have often noticed – and I am sad about it – that multiflora honey is a bit discriminated. On the same shelf or same stall, near the acacia one or a citrus one, it was cheaper, like if its quality was different. Lower. It’s not this way of course, but in the collective image there is this wrong idea. And what if I tell you that any honey is a multiflora one in the end?
Just a step back…
How can I know that a acacia honey is really a acacia honey and a sunflower honey is a sunflower honey? The beekeeper observes the blooming periods, following them (someone physically too, with the nomadism) and the bees with him/her. Hence, for example, if the acacia is blooming and in the next 3 km there is much of it, most probably my bees will get much nectar from there and mine will be acacia honey, or at least, MAINLY acacia honey. Why do I specify MAINLY? But because of course, out of all the beehives, out of all the bees and out of all flowers, cultivations, bushes, vegetable gardens, plantations,…don’t you think that some bees will fly on other flowers too? And that’s fine, that’s natural. However, this means that any kind of honey is multiflora too (and there’s no quality difference).
But so how can we know for sure the honey composition?
The beekeeper does not observe only the blooming season together with the surrounding landscape, but also the honey itself. Thanks to much experience, from its colour, its consistency, its aroma and smell, the beekeeper can understand something more. Nevertheless, if you want to be 100% sure and go beyond the mere observation/guessing, the only way is to take the honey to a lab. Only there you can check the precise composition. When for example the percentage of acacia is particularly significant, it will be labeled as acacia one. However, when bees went to different flowers and no one stands out in particular, in that case it’s a multiflora… but do you understand that there’s nothing bad in this all? This doesn’t mean that the multiflora has something less…actually, this makes it even more unique: a special sensorial portrait of the area.
Spring or summer multiflora honey?
As often happens here, I like to highlight how less I used to know about this all before meeting Basti and the beekeeping world. If the words ‘multiflora honey’ were nothing new to me, I can’t tell the same for its classification into spring or summer one. It’s very important to specify because there’s much difference between them (this tells us again that multiflora come really from so many different flowers and may change so much, from different periods to different zones).
What’s the difference?
At the end of Spring (from end of May to mid of June generally), we harvest multiflora spring honey that comes from the nectar collected by the bees the previous weeks – so what do we mean? All the fruit trees – apple trees, cherry trees, quince trees, plum trees,… – and typical flowers from this period (dandelion, rapeseed,…)
From end of June to end of July more or less, we harvest multiflora summer honey – this is a more selected content, because if spring is spring and it brings with it flowers, colours and much more, in full summer the pace gets slower and only some plants blooms, such as in our case linden.
One day, just out of curiosity, we would like to send our honey to a lab, but in any case starting from the observation we can already understand something more about it. In summer the village where we leave is full of majestic linden, therefore we are not wrong when we tell that our summer honey is a multiflora one with mainly linden – moreover, this affects its colour and consistence, much different compared to the one of the previous season. While in spring we can notice rapeseed plantations on the surrounding hills, so that is mainly in our spring honey and contributes in making it whiter and harder fast – together with the dandelion.
Always bear in mind: there are no A honey or B honey, but only an endless amount of delicious flowers that bees can’t help diving in and from which we can get honeys whose uniqueness is simply crazy. Think about it at every sweet spoon you get.
Did you know about this difference among spring and summer multiflora? Which is your favorite honey?
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