MORE ON CHESTNUT HONEY
Sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa) is one of the latest blooming trees. It usually blooms at the end of June, and at higher altitudes, it represents a very important and, above all, reliable pasture for bees until mid-July. The tree requires warm weather without wind and adequate moisture in the air. It is very sensitive to fog and sudden storms; dry weather also adversely affects blooming.
Chestnut honey is made from nectar and manna. The nectar flow of chestnut lasts three to four weeks, and beekeepers say that one bee colony can collect up to 25 kilograms of nectar from one tree. Chestnut pollen is also of a very high quality. Sweet chestnut blooms relatively late, flowering begins in the second half of June and can be delayed until the first decade of July. Chestnut is considered a reliable pasture for bees, but it requires warm weather without wind and adequate moisture in the air.
Bees collect pollen of excellent quality that is highly nutritious from male chestnut flowers and nectar from female flowers. The nectar flow of sweet chestnut does not start immediately at the beginning of flowering. First, the tree gives pollen, nectar flow begins later and can last three to four weeks. In ideal conditions, a bee colony collects up to 28 kg of nectar from one sweet chestnut (Crane et al., 1984, in Slovenski čebelar, 2016).
In terms of pollen content, chestnut honey is one of the purest types of honey. It contains more than 86% pollen of sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa) and is therefore rightly called a treasure trove of vitamins and minerals.
In the past, chestnut honey was underappreciated and was mainly used to stimulate bee forage in the spring, but later it gained trust due to its many proven medicinal properties. Today we know that chestnut honey is a complex mixture of sugars, amino acids, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, acids, and flavonoids with exceptional wound healing properties.
SENSORY CHARACTERISTICS OF CHESTNUT HONEY
Sensory characteristics of chestnut honeySweet chestnut honey is brownish red, a darker colour signifies a larger content of manna. It can be a bit bitter, probably due to the high pollen content. 10 grams of honey usually contain more than 100,000 pollen grains, sometimes even more than a million.
Sensory characteristics of chestnut honey:
- colour: dark brown, amber, with a tang of red;
- clarity: always clear;
- crystallization depends on the ration pf sugars to water, usually no crystallization.
- strong, intense smell; bitter, astringent, sharp, smell of chestnut blossom, wet cardboard, or crushed walnut leaves; it can be repellent to some.
intense and strongly persistent; medium sweet, slightly sour, medium to strong bitter (persistent bitterness), can be slightly metallic.
- very characteristic, extremely long-lasting aroma, with a bitter aftertaste; sharp, astringent, with burnt sugar, smoke, herbal, and wormwood notes.
- more than 86% Castanea sativa, Tilia (linden) also blooms shortly during the blooming period of chestnut; honey may also contain traces of Trifolium repens (white clover) and Asteraceae (daisy family).