You already know what an important part of Turkish culture honey is when you come across the legendary Turkish breakfast which is dominated by honey. Also honey is one of the main ingredients when it comes to sweetening the famous Turkish baklava. Today, I want to share here two amazing facts about beekeeping and honey in Turkey.
Turkey is the honey producer number 2 in the world with as much as 110 thousand tons of golden ambrosia collected annually. Only China has more bees working ( they produce 450 thousand tons of honey every year). However, most of the honey Turkey produces is consumed within the country – only 6 thousand tons are being exported.
The most expensive honey, according to the Guinness world records website, is Centauri honey from Anatolia. This honey is extracted from caves 2,500 meters above sea level, far away from any human residences and from any other bee colonies. The price of such an exquisite product is 10.000 Euros per kilo.
The most common honey types in Turkey
There are so many types of honey in Turkey. Let’s mention some of them;
- Acacia honey. Honey made from acacia flowers, it is mostly produced in Artvin province in Black Sea region of Anatolia.
- Anzer Honey. One of the most famous Turkish honey types. It is collected in Rize province, in a valley with 450-500 different flower types, up to 90 of which are endemic. To be sure not to buy a fake one, look for the ones guaranteed by the quality control laboratories of Ankara Hacettepe Üniversitesi
- Sunflower Honey. This type of honey produced in the Trakya region crystalizes quite fast and is cheaper than other types. It is also used while making helva.
- Pine honey. It is unusual honey because it is produced by bees that collect honeydew (sugary secretions) from a scale insect species, which lives on the sap of certain pine trees. Turkey produces 92% of the world’s pine honey and Muğla Province accounts for 80% of Turkish pine honey production. Its main advantage is a very long shelf life.
- Multifloral honey, the most popular type of honey in Turkey and probably all around the world.
- Rhododendron monofloral honey (locally known as Deli Bal) from East Black Sea region of Turkey. To produce “deli bal” honeybees collect nectar from flowers growing 1500-1800 meters above sea levels on the Kaçkar mountains. It is not recommended to eat more than 1 table spoon of deli bal in a day because it can cause dizziness and drop blood pressure to very low levels which can even end up with death.
- Chaste tree honey. It is collected in Mediterranian sea region. It is quickly turning dark (in 6 months chaste tree honey becomes dark-red, almost black color), at the same time it doesn’t get crystallized for a very long time. In Turkey it is believed to prevent cancer.
- Linden honey. In Turkey it is collected in Artvin, Rize, Yalova and Bursa provinces.
- Lavender honey is very common in Isparta and Burdur regions. It has a distinctive aroma and is used for treating allergies.
- Buckwheat honey. In 2013, in a contest held in France by World Beekeepers Federation, buckwheat honey was chosen the best.
- Karakovan honey is the most natural type of honey, which doesn’t require building beehives for honeybees to live in. Instead honeybee family is put in a wooden cylindric “tube” sealed from both sides. Karakovan honey is mostly collected in Anatolia’s the Black Sea and Eastern regions.
- Carob honey. Rich in calcium and vitamin E, it is produced in different regions of Turkey.
- Thyme honey. Transparent and light in color, this honey is popular in Aegean and Southeastern parts of Turkey. It has a unique aroma and antihelmintic effect.
- Chestnut honey. Despite the fact that chestnut only blossoms 30-40 days in a year, chestnut honey is not so rare in Turkey. It has a dark color, a little bitterness, unique aroma and doesn’t crystallize for a long time. It is rich in antioxidants and is good for keeping your bones strong.
- Astragalus honey is another type of monofloral honey, that is produced by collecting nectar from flowers growing 1500-2000 meters above the sea level.
- Oak honey. It is produced in Trakya region, that has lots of oak forests.
- Citrus honey (locally called Anavarza honey) is popular in Mediterranean region in Turkey. It is rich in vitamin C and has a distinctive citrus aroma.
- Heather honey. Another rare type of a monofloral honey, it’s famous for its antibacterial effect and is used for treating liver diseases.