I prodotti delle api
Honey is a natural product of plant origin: it is the food that bees produce from flower nectar and for thousands of years it was the only available source of concentrated sugar. Honey is composed of approximately 18% water and, in addition to mineral salts, vitamins and enzymes, it contains over 80% sugars, predominantly fructose and glucose. All fresh honeys are liquid originally but only three varieties remain so for a prolonged period: acacia, chestnut and honeydew, thanks to their especially high fructose content. With a higher glucose content, all other varieties soon crystallise, taking on a creamy, more set consistency. Honey has a high sweetening power with fewer calories than sugar, meaning it can “sweeten” food with fewer calories. Honey is a natural product that need undergo no chemical processes nor the addition of any other substances for consumption and, unlike other sugars, its simple structure makes it a highly digestible foodstuff that provides the human body with readily available energy. It is therefore important not to alter its organoleptic properties so as to maintain the richness of the aromas, which are as numerous as the flowers from which it derives: that is why it honey should never be pasteurised. It is thanks to this variety of flavours and fragrances that different honeys can be used in the kitchen in countless wonderful culinary combinations, from hors d’oeuvres to desserts, pairing equally well with meat and fish. Mielizia offers a wide range of honeys, none treated at high temperature, which therefore retain all their original characteristics: from wildflower to monoflorals, namely honeys derived from a single flower variety, thanks to the highly advanced harvesting techniques adopted by our beekeepers and passed down from one generation to another.
Royal jelly is a fantastic source of enzymatic substances that act as biocatalyts, promoting and stimulating the metabolism at cellular level. The composition of royal jelly, unlike other hive products, varies little and the product is not so closely linked to the harvest area. It is composed of a water base (approximately 66%) along with lipids, carbohydrates and proteins. In the hive, the queen is nourished exclusively with this substance and the fact that she is the only bee who can live for up to 5 years, while the life span of a worker bee rarely extends beyond a few weeks, has fuelled man’s curiosity and interest in this substance. Royal jelly is used as a food supplement and, since it is extremely nourishing, it is traditionally given as a dietary boost to people of all ages, especially during changes of season.
Pollen is a powdery substance found in flowers and it ranges in colour from yellow to black. As bees search for nectar, they unwittingly pick up pollen and carry it from one flower to another, performing a highly effective pollination which is essential for the life-cycle of plants. For bees, pollen also represents a vital source of food: they collect some of the precious powder from their bodies and work it into tiny balls, about the size of a sesame seed, which they carry back to the hive.
Pollen is the most balanced hive product in terms of composition, and is extremely rich in useful substances, including numerous amino acids, the building blocks that the human body, too, uses to produce proteins. Thanks to its protein content, pollen is considered an excellent foodstuff, especially for those who follow a vegetarian diet.
Bee pollen can be eaten on its own or else used to enrich yoghurt, fruit juice, milk or water at room temperature. Thanks to its floral aroma, it can also be used to create original culinary combinations.
Propolis is a hive product with an intense, aromatic aroma and a dark colour that can vary greatly. The appearance of propolis depends on the particular plant that secreted the resinous substance collected and used by bees to produce it. Propolis is used by bees to seal small cracks and gaps in the hive, to disinfect it and keep it clean. Propolis is a sticky, malleable resin that hardens and sets at a low temperature. In order to use it, it is heated to around 65-70°C and mixed with water or alcohol.
Used since ancient times, strictly speaking propolis is not a foodstuff; today, indeed, it continues to be used as an ingredient in herbal and pharmaceutical products, thanks to the properties of some of its component substances: resins, balsamic substances, essential oils and countless active molecules.