ikaria heather honey .Heather is a shrub found in Greece that is adorned with numerous flowers. From the nectar of these flowers, bees produce an autumn heather honey which possesses a special aroma and a unique taste.
Anamatomelo (as we call the heather honey here in Ikaria) is a product that has very high nutritional value and is one of the best options for stimulating the body. It has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties which assist the urinary and digestive system.
Additionally, it can help lower cholesterol and is excellent honey for children with anaemia, as well as increase vigor and vitality in seniors.
The honey has a caramel flavor, an intense aroma of the flowers of heather and a red brass color that turns into caramel after crystallization. This crystallization occurs very quickly, ranging from one to three months after collection.
Anama (“heather”) honey (also known in Greece as “reiki”) comes from bees that forage on the native Fall heather that grows at high elevations on Ikaria.
Our Anama honey is pure, raw and never heated. It has an almost peanut butter like consistency – super thick, rich, strongly flavored and mildly sweet and is high in trace minerals. It has the aroma of a beehive and an earthy flavor profile with notes of beeswax, sassafras, burnt sugar, toffee, bourbon and toasty oak with a slight medicinal finish. It is a very unique honey.
It is not a good choice for cooking. Its flavors are too pronounced and it would dominate the dish. And the heat would destroy its healthy biological properties. Rather, like the other Ikarian honeys, it is best consumed plain (delicious!) or with foods like yogurt, bread or cheese where the unique flavors of the honey are highlighted.
Winter Anama is very special and is only available in years when the rainfall patterns allow for the Fall heather to bloom.
Please note – as described above, the Anama honey is very thick and almost solid. It does not pour.
There are two distinct types of single flower heather honey. One is from a single species, Ling Heather (Calluna vulgaris), a true heather, and the other type is from any of the Erica species. Both the C. vulgaris and all the Erica species belong to the Ericaceae family, but of the two types, Ling Heather honey is considered true “Heather Honey,” and it is quite different from Erica honey of the Erica species. It is often called Scotch, Summer or Autumn Heather to distinguish it from other Erica species. It is a low growing evergreen native of Europe with a liking for dry acidic soils. Ling Heather is considered a symbol of Scotland and is one of the national flowers of Norway.
Ling Heather honey has unique sensory qualities and exhibits a gelatinous property called thixotopism. Normally it is gel-like and firm, but it will become temporarily liquid if stirred or agitated.
In judging honey, a common test of the purity of Ling honey is to place the opened honey jar on its side to test how quickly it will flow out. Pure Ling Heather honey will stay firmly in place for several minutes. The longer it stays, the purer the honey. Another sign of purity is the presence of small air bubbles trapped in the gel-like honey (a result of pressing to extract the honey), and while it has a bright appearance, it will not be clear.
Honey Heather Sensory Characteristics
Ling Heather honey is reddish/orange to dark amber. It has a slightly bitter, tangy, pungent, smoky, mildly sweet taste that persists for a long time. It has a strong distinctive woody, warm, floral, fresh fruit aroma reminiscent of heather flowers. The crystallization rate is quite slow and in early stages results in a smooth light-colored mass, and if very pure, it may not crystallize at all. Some beekeepers feel that the purest Heather Honey comes from higher moors (British Bee Journal April 4, 1912).
Another unusual characteristic of heather honey is its normally high moisture content, usually associated with fermentation. It is sometimes as high as 25% but it is usually between 19% and 23%. This is attributed to the gel-like consistency making it harder for the bees to evaporate the moisture out of the honey. Regulations for most honeys are often set at a high of 20% to prevent fermentation. However, an exception is usually made for heather honey, as this is its natural state and it is more resistant to fermentation than other honeys; it is thought because the gel-like property traps water and retards fermentation.