Pine honey

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Pine honey is a type of honeydew honey. It is produced by honey bees that collect honeydew (sugary secretions) from a scale insect species, Marchalina hellenica, which lives on the sap of certain pine species. When the scale insects feed, they excrete waste in the form of honeydew. Depending on local honey production laws this product is sometimes allowed to be called honey, sometimes not. Similarly, depending on the language a term for it other than "honey" may exist (ex. In Serbian and Croatian languages word for honey is "med" but if it is made from insect honeydew it is called "meduljak" or "medula"; in Romanian, it is called miere de pădure, meaning "forest honey", or miere de mană, meaning "manna honey").

The pine species on which Marchalina hellenica can be found are the Turkish Pine (Pinus brutia) and, to a lesser extent, Aleppo Pine (Pinus halepensis), Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris) and Stone Pine (Pinus pinea). The insects hide in the cracks and under the scales of the bark of these trees, beneath a white cotton-like wax they secrete.

Some typical morphological characteristics of pine honey are dictated by the higher resin and lower water content of the Marchalina hellenica honeydew it is made of: Color is always darker than medium honey but typically lighter than buckwheat honey; density is higher than that of a medium honey (a jar of pine honey should weigh more than same jar of typical honey); viscosity is higher than that of a medium honey (lesser ease of movement of pine honey); smell and taste reminiscent of pine sap; due to high density and resin content eating it creates sense of fullness and heaviness in the stomach much faster than for similar amount of regular honey ingested.

Pine honey is produced in areas where during the honey collection season exists a period of conventional sources dearth and plentiful pine forest. Produced mostly in Middle East and Balkans, a number of Greek islands, Serbia but also in some other heavily forested areas of Germany, Norway and New Zealand. The most rare Pine Honey is the Fir honey of Mainaloy known as Banilias (vanilla). It emanates from the black fir forest of Mainalo in Arkadia and is a famed product for the flavour and the small concentration in sugars. It is the unique Greek honey with Protected Name of Origin (POP) and took golden awards in Paris in 1996. It is a very infrequent category of honey, perhaps most infrequent worldwide, with fantastic flavour and perfume. The basic problems that it faces are the fluctuations in the production. His flavour reminds candy or vanilla. His characterization as POP was registered by the OJ in 1996 (L 163/2.7.1996). It has less humidity than other honeys and it never crystallizes because of its high pH. The export of honey is exceptionally difficult and costly. Pine honey harvesting is an extremely exhausting process.

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