Ancient Ingredients, Modern Superpowers: The Honey Edition
Dear Kosterina Family,
We will be sharing a new series in our weekly newsletter called: Ancient Ingredients, Modern Superpowers. Read on to discover the extraordinary powers of the superfoods of Greece & the Mediterranean for health, happiness and longevity.
In my family, it was not unusual for our ancestors to live well into their nineties, and often, they thrived on basic ingredients that grew naturally near their Mediterranean home. In our modern world, we now call these ingredients "superfoods" because of their extraordinary powers to keep us healthy and happy. First up – HONEY. Let's dive in!
Where does Mediterranean honey come from?
Bee-keeping is a sacred, ancient practice in the Mediterranean that dates back to 7,000 BC. The Ancient Greeks called honey, "the food of the Gods" and used it in all areas of life - from medicinal practices to the first added-sweetener in history. Today, honey is produced nearly everywhere in Greece, and is considered some of the finest honey in the world, because of its viscosity and texture. The Peloponnese region, where my family (and Kosterina) are from, is best known for its honey made with fir. Wild Thyme Honey (most often from Crete and Kythera) is extra special as it contains one of the highest antioxidant activity ratings in the world, three to four times higher than other honeys.
And what makes Greek honey so special? It’s the 7,500 species of flora that make it so potent and delicious. Greek bees are feasting on a wide variety of flowers, herbs, trees and plants and this diversity yields highly aromatic honey. (Seems like it’s sort of how we humans are supposed to “eat the rainbow” for a healthy gut). Lots of variety is good for bees too.
What are the health benefits?
Honey is best known for its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties. In basic terms, that means honey is great at healing from the inside out. It's also really high in antioxidant properties, like EVOO, so it can apparently help prevent cells from aging and even protect our bodies against cancer cells forming. Lastly, honey is a potent prebiotic, which is a necessary precursor for a healthy gut.
How can I use it in my every day?
This ancient superfood is one of the easiest ingredients to incorporate into your regular diet. You likely have already used it as a sweetener in tea, desserts or even drizzled over a simple toast. At Kosterina, we love it in our dark chocolate (the Nuts, Cinnamon and Honey bar) or even in this simple 5-ingredient recipe for Filo-Wrapped Feta Cheese. Personally, I love to add nuts and honey into my Greek (or coconut) yogurt for an added immunity-booster. I also like honey on my pan-fried halloumi.
How do you use this ancient superfood in modern ways? Are there other Mediterranean superfoods you'd like us to cover? Respond to this note or tag us on Instagram @kosterina with your thoughts!
Peace, Love & EVOO