Honey has been our civilisation’s natural sweetener for more than 5 thousand years. In fact, before sugar became widely available in the 16th century, honey was the main sweetener in the world. Ancient Greece and Sicily were the most famous historical centres for honey production. But what is this thick, golden liquid that the hard-working bees make from the nectar of flowering plants and store in the hive, so that the bee colony is fed during the cold season? Honey production is actually a meticulously organised string of chemical processes that includes digestion, enzyme activity and evaporation.
Eight bees will work their whole lives to produce one teaspoon of honey. Honey is a product that should be truly savoured and appreciated. It is a precious gift from nature.
Honey is a natural sweet substance that the bees make from flowering plant nectar and plant secretions. It is a complex food product that contains two simple sugars – glucose and fructose, together with hundreds of organic compounds that make honey not only delicious, but also beneficial for your health. From a dietary standpoint, honey is superior to ordinary sugar, both white and brown. The simple sugars in honey are easily digested and the vitamins, minerals and enzymes found in fresh honey help digestion and metabolism. High-quality unprocessed honey is just like good wine – with its colour, aroma, and flavour influenced by the plants from which it is collected, as well as the season, soil, climate and weather.
Bees collect nectar from flower blossoms. Nectar is a sugar solution, which the plant produces to reward the bee for visiting the flower. Bees collect this nectar from the blossoms with their long tongues until their honey stomach is full. On every journey, a worker bee visits up to a hundred flowers to fill up its honey stomach, then brings this nectar load back to the beehive, so that the worker bees at home can process this nectar into honey. As the bee flies back to the hive, it introduces enzymes – invertase, diastase and glucose oxidase – to the collected nectar from its hypopharyngeal gland. The enzyme invertase found in honey converts most of the nectar sucrose into two simple sugars – glucose and fructose, which are the main components of honey.
We grew up and continue to live in a country that is rich with old historical beekeeping traditions, where the natural, full-bodied flavour of honey is well-understood and appreciated and bees hold a special place in the folk culture. For us, bees are a respected and loved part of nature, as is the honey they produce, which is unlike any other with its unique flavour that comes from the inimitable diversity of nature.
We are delighted to offer our natural, delicious and aromatic honey to honey lovers. Our honey is harvested in Lithuania, in the Baltic region, which is characterised by natural, ecologically clean and very diverse nature. It is rich with large forest areas, lakes and rivers, wild meadows that bloom with many different types of flowers and herbs. Woody plants that are common in the Nordic countries tend to prevail in our region’s nature. A clean environment, biologically active vegetation and a venerable cultural tradition of beekeeping offer the opportunity to produce clean and natural bee products of exceptional quality. These products are rich in natural substances and benefit from herbal medicinal properties that are very beneficial to people’s health. We harvest our honey from the beehives using traditional methods. We don’t introduce any additives or artificial ingredients when we press or remove honey from the beehive. Beekeeping in Lithuania and the Baltic region traditionally uses wooden beehives, which ensures that the harvested honey is natural and pure. One of the characteristics of natural honey is crystallization. The time it takes for honey to crystallize depends on the honey variety. As with any saturated solution, honey tends to crystallize. Crystallization happens due to the separation of long glucose (polysaccharide) chains in honey. Honey loses this quality with heat.
There are thousands of flowering plants in the world that produce nectar and all of them have the potential to create many varieties of honey. Wildflower (polyfloral) honey varieties are made from an array of flowering plants and their colour and flavour differs according to the region and the season.
With regards to its origin, honey can be monofloral, i.e., collected from one type of plant, and polyfloral – collected from a variety of plants. Lithuania tends to offer mixed, multiflower, polyfloral honey. One type of plant pollen tends to dominate in monofloral honey varieties. On the other hand, pollen from a variety of plants can be detected in polyfloral honey. Since bees tend to bring nectar back to the beehive from many types of plants that are flowering at the time, 100% pure honey from a single plant variety usually does not exist. In fact, harvesting honey from a single plant would require the apiary to have tens and hundreds of hectares of the same crop nearby. Bees are not selective – they will collect both nectar and honeydew from many different plants, nectar and honeydew being the two sources of honey.
The flavour, colour, texture, aroma and special medicinal properties of honey depend on the flower from which the nectar was collected. As a result, the colour of honey harvested at the end of the summer will be different from that harvested in spring. This happens because different flowers are in bloom at different times. A light-coloured honey tends to have a milder flavour compared to a darker honey, whereas darker honey contains more enzymes than lighter honey and offers a sharper flavour.
We offer a wide selection of our original honey that has been harvested in Lithuania. It includes dark and light honey varieties, each of them bursting with unique flavours and properties. Our customers can choose from polyfloral honey varieties, including Light Wildflower Honey, Amber Wildflower Honey and Forest Flower Honey, as well as monofloral honey varieties such as Linden, Dandelion, Buckwheat and Heather honey varieties and a Forest (Honeydew) Honey.
Generally, Forest (Honeydew) Honey contains more minerals and amino acids, as well as higher molecular weight sugars (oligosaccharides), especially melicitose and raffinose. Due to its high fructose level and a low glucose level, this honey is resistant to crystallization. The larger part of forest honey is made on hot summer days from trees, particularly, deciduous trees. Forest honey is not available for harvesting everywhere. It can only be found in a few European countries, including Lithuania.
There is no single best honey that is loved by everyone. Most people have their personal favourites depending on the flavour or the perceived benefits.
The research results into honey conducted by the Lithuanian State Food and Veterinary Service (orig. Valstybinė maisto ir veterinarijos tarnyba – VMVT) support the fact that all honey sold in Lithuania is safe and meets the set requirements. However, Lithuanian honey, in particular, is of exceptional quality and its ingredients are far superior to honey produced in hot climate countries.
Lithuanian honey has a more pronounced flavour and aromatic properties because the natural conditions in Lithuania create the conditions for bees to collect honey from the nectar of a large variety of flowering plants. Our honey’s quality is excellent because it has not been treated at a high temperature before packaging. When honey is treated at a temperature of 55ºC to 70ºC, its composition changes and it loses antiseptic properties and other biologically active compounds. The quality indicators in Lithuanian honey generally exceed the requirements of the European Union (EU) legislation and the Honey Technical Regulation (orig. Medaus techninis reglamentas) that regulates the quality of honey in Lithuania.
The extremely rich diversity of plants and the climate conditions that are specific to our geography significantly increase the biological activity of honey compared to southern countries. Temperatures in the south are higher. Therefore, the flowering plants produce nectar much faster, which results in a much smaller amount of minerals in the nectar. Honey becomes more beneficial as you move northward because plants flower longer and build up more minerals. As a result, the biological activity of our honey is up to 70 diastase units, according to the SCHADE method, which demonstrates that it contains more enzymes and more biological activity compared to the processed honey on the EU market.
Our bee products contain up to 30% protein, 24% to 34% carbohydrates, 1.5% lipids, 15% amino acids, virtually all vitamins required by the human body (A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C, PP, E, D, K, H), as well as the necessary macronutrients (P, S, CI, K, Ca, Na) and micronutrients (Mg, Fe, Cu, Zn, Co, Mo, Se, Cr, Ni, Si).
Product quality is guaranteed by continuous comprehensive tests conducted in specialized bee product laboratories in Lithuania and Germany: NMVRVI (National Institute for Food and Veterinary Risk Assessment), Eurofins (Eurofins Food Integrity Control Services GmbH), QSI (Quality Services International GmbH), and Intertek (Intertek Food Services GmbH). Each batch of honey sold to our customers is tested in the laboratory for the following: colour, moisture level, HMF, pH, electrical conductivity, antibiotics, diastase, acidity, pollen and other detailed indicators of honey quality.
Our wholesale and retail customers can purchase our Linden, Dandelion, Amber Wildflower, Light Wildflower, Buckwheat, Heather, Forest Flower and Forest (Honeydew) Honey varieties in different packaging: 320g, 620g or 1000g in glass jars. Our customers can also request for honey to be supplied in 20l (28kg) plastic buckets and large metal barrels up to 200l (290kg). We currently export our bee products to Canada, USA, Japan, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Spain, Italy, Great Britain, Russia, the Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia, Poland, Latvia and Estonia.
We recommend storing honey in a sealed container at room temperature, away from direct sunlight. The package indicates a best before date for use. However, honey virtually does not spoil if it is stored properly. This is due to its properties and the low moisture content in which natural sugars are dissolved. It is not required to keep honey refrigerated after opening, but it should be protected against water and other food contamination. A container of honey should not be kept open for a long time because honey can attract excess moisture and foreign odours of other products due to its hygroscopicity (the ability to absorb moisture from the air).
One teaspoon of honey contains 64 calories, 17.2 grams of sugar and no fibre, fat or protein. Honey has an average acidity level (pH) of 3.9. Studies have shown that this pH can help prevent bacterial growth.
Please note that the exact physical – chemical properties of honey depend on the flora used in its production.
Honey is not a medicine. It is a natural product, dietary supplement and a source of improved energy levels and health.
Why is honey so beneficial?
Studies have shown that honey has antibacterial, antiviral, antimicrobial, antifungal, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory properties. Honey is an excellent antioxidant, probiotic, and prebiotic. Different types of honey will have different effects:
- Light Wildflower Honey naturally strengthens the body’s immune system, helps fight infections that cause colds, soothes sore throats, helps digestion, and fights free radicals that are the cause of many diseases;
- Amber Wildflower Honey treats colds, strengthens the body’s immunity, helps treat colds, and improves digestion;
- Forest Flower Honey has a positive effect on almost all body organ systems, it increases haemoglobin and tones the body;
- Linden Honey helps with colds and sore throats, it is used for treating bronchitis and rhinitis, as well as gastrointestinal tract diseases, including colitis and gastritis. It helps treat liver and kidney diseases, abscesses and can help reduce insomnia and stress;
- Dandelion Honey treats inflammation of the respiratory tract, sore throats, colds, digestive system diseases, and increased stomach acidity. It improves liver and kidney function, alleviates pain, and protects the body from damage by reducing the development of serious diseases such as cancer;
- Buckwheat Honey strengthens the body, calms the nervous system, relieves pain, lowers cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. It helps treat cardiovascular diseases due to its high iron content and it is used in the treatment of infectious diseases and sickness caused by radiation;
- Heather Honey supports the treatment of kidney, bladder and prostate diseases, as well as heart disease and cancer. Compared to other types of honey, it has the highest content of phenolic acids, which protect the body’s cells from the effects of free radicals;
- Forest (Honeydew) Honey is exceptionally rich in minerals, amino acids and prebiotics (oligosaccharides), which positively affect the bacteria of the digestive system.