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The Warsaw Voice » Special Sections » June 3, 2015
Polska… tastes good!
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Polish Honey Under EU Protection
June 3, 2015   
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Poland is a leading producer of honey in the European Union. Polish honeys attract consumers at home and abroad.

Many say honey is a symbol of healthy food because, to attract bees, the environment needs to be clean. Beekeeping in Poland has a tradition dating back centuries. At present Poland has 57,000 registered beekeepers and nearly 1.4 million bee colonies. Beekeeping is developing with every year, leading to growing honey production. In recent years this has exceeded about 20,000 tons annually.

Honey is considered to have many valuable nutritional and medicinal properties, such as strengthening the heart, soothing the nerves, and even nourishing the brain. It also has antibacterial properties. According to experts, honey fights some bacteria better than antibiotics. Honey is also used as a component of many cosmetics.

Honey contains enzymes that are not found in other natural foodstuffs. These enzymes come mainly from the salivary glands of bees.

Antibiotic-like substances produced by bees and introduced by them into honey include lysozyme, inhibin and apidicin. These substances help combat bacteria dangerous to humans such as Staphylococcus and Streptococcus. It also contains large quantities of trace elements such as magnesium, calcium, iron, molybdenum, manganese, potassium, chloride, phosphorus and cobalt, in addition to folic acid, pantothenic acid, biotin and vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, and C.

The properties of honey depend primarily on the type of plants from which bees collect the nectar, honeydew and pollen. The names of such honeys are derived from the main plant involved, for example rapeseed, heather, buckwheat, acacia, linden, clover and raspberry honey. Also popular is honeydew honey that bees produce from substances secreted by aphids and scale insects that they collect from trees and crops. Many consumers are partial to multi-flower honey that bees produce from nectar collected from different melliferous plants blooming in the fields, orchards, forests and meadows.

Different honeys have different properties. The most valuable are honeys classified as regional and traditional products covered by EU protection and registered as Protected Destination of Origin (PDO) or Protected Geographical Indication (PGI). Honey from Poland’s Sejny region, in the eastern Podlasie province, and Lithuania’s Lazdijai region is the first product from two different countries to have been covered by the European Commission’s Protected Designation of Origin program. The honey is called miód z Sejneńszczyzny in Poland and Lazdiju krasto medus in Lithuania. Only honey made from polyfloral nectar may be sold under the name miód z Sejneńszczyzny/ŁoĽdziejszczyzny/ Seinu/Lazdiju krasto medus (PDO). This is a unique product that is closely linked to the area it comes from. The region abounds in meadows, peatbogs and forests. The honey is obtained from several dozen melliferous plant species typical of the area, such as various varieties of willow and maple, common dandelion, and white and red clover, in addition to papilionaceous plants.

Another product protected with an EU certificate PGI is podkarpacki miód spadziowy (Podkarpacie honeydew honey). It is produced in 17 forestry districts in the southern Podkarpacie region of Poland and two national parks, the Bieszczadzki and the Magurski. This area is rich in coniferous forests including the European silver fir.

Also protected by the EU is miód kurpiowski (PDO; honey from Kurpie), produced in the Kurpie region in central Poland, which has a long beekeeping tradition. The special qualities of Kurpie honey are the result of the nectar, pollen and honeydew that the bees collect in the Zielona and Biała forests of the Kurpie region. The diversity of the trees, plants and herbs gives Kurpie honey its unique spicy aroma and delicate flavor.

Miód drahimski, a variety of honey from Poland’s West Pomerania province, is another registered brand. It encompasses five different varieties: heather, buckwheat, rapeseed, linden, and multiflower honey, produced at apiaries in several districts of the Drawskie Lake District. The honey owes its special qualities to the local climate and soil, which favor the region’s characteristic plants, including linden trees, buckwheat, rapeseed, heather and a wide variety of woodland and meadow plant species. All of those are highly productive honey plants.

Miód wrzosowy z Borów Dolno¶l±skich (heather honey from the Lower Silesia Forests) is yet another variety of Polish honey protected by the EU (PDO). This unique amber-and-tea colored product, with gelatinous consistency, owes its unique quality to the area where the nectar is obtained. The honey has a high content of heather pollen owing to a combination of dense, nectar-rich, heaths and lush vegetation that has been preserved almost intact in the Bory Dolno¶l±skie area, which until recently hosted military training sites.
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