When you choose honey to buy in the supermarket, what aspects do you consider? Color? Texture? For a long time, the aroeira blossom honey did not fit aesthetic patterns to gain the world’s shelves. Today, as food and nutrition research evolves, more people are familiar with the health properties of this superfood.
Typical of north Minas Gerais, in Southeast Brazil, the aroeira blossom honey comes from a plant known locally as “aroeira-do-sertão.” This tree is typical from dry regions, with low acidity soil, which is also high in calcium. Its honey is usually darker than those from other blossoms and it never crystallizes. It tastes close to chocolate on the palate, with a touch of spices.
Aroeira blossom honey: a superfood
There are some reasons why aroeira blossom honey can be considered a superfood. The secret is in its amount of phenolic compounds. Psyllid insects of the genus Tainarys, also known as aphids, live in association with the tree in its flowers and leaves.
Also, by being continuously exposed to extreme temperature conditions, the plant needs to produce large amounts of phenolic compounds to protect itself. By sucking the plant sap, the aphids induce the tree to produce these phenolic substances, which are excreted by several organs, including the nectaries and flowers.
As the phenolic compounds can protect the tree, they can do the same for our bodies. Aroeira honey can boost the human immune system, as well as act as a bactericide and fungicide. Some people also use it to treat gastritis and other inflammatory conditions.
Beekeepers and sustainability
“The bee is not only an insect but something that keeps humanity alive,” says Geovani Antonio Alves, a proud beekeeper from Minas Gerais. He left a job in the city, took training sessions in Brazil’s National Rural Learning Service (SENAR), and now he is part of a cooperative that produces honey from aroeira trees and other blossoms.
Today, the same cooperative gathers 354 members in 24 cities in the region. Together, they produce quality honey, with high sanitary standards. This honey is delivered to several regions in Brazil and it is beginning to reach foreign destinations.
Last year, Brazilian aroeira blossom honey arrived in the United States for the first time, and it was a success. Now, European countries are also trying out the product: Portugal, Germany, Belgium, and Italy are among the buyers.
Designation of origin
Brazilian aroeira blossom honey was recently acknowledged with a Designation of Origin (DO). This seal identifies the products that are produced, processed, and prepared in a specific geographical area, using the recognized know-how of local producers and ingredients from the region concerned.
In the mastic tree honey case, it means 64 municipalities in Southeast Brazil, with specific climate conditions, as well as the presence of the “aroeira-do-sertão.” These conditions are followed by the beekeepers’ traditional techniques to produce quality honey with geographic-related characteristics.