Linden Honey: All you need to know about this precious honey
Linden honey, a honey mainly produced in the forest. Its fragrant flavors with menthol and woody notes will delight you!
Linden honey is a unique honey, produced in small quantities.
It is a sought-after honey, as much for its flavors as for its virtues or its symbol.
Let’s explore it.
- What is linden?
- Linden honey production
- Harvesting linden honey
- His characteristics
- Its virtues
- How to consume this raw honey?
- Where can I find linden honey?
What is linden?
The lime tree is an imposing tree, which can measure between 10 and 30 meters in height.
It is a wild but also ornamental tree.
It is found in the forest, in the countryside, in many villages, and at the edges of the roads.
Its lifespan is impressive.
It can go up to 500 years, or even more.
Since ancient times, the linden tree has regularly been chosen as a symbolic tree.
It was considered a sacred tree in Germanic mythology.
In 1792, it was chosen as a symbol of freedom to represent the values of the French Republic.
More than its symbol, it is the virtues released by its flowers that are recognized worldwide.
Indeed, linden flowers are prized for its medicinal benefits, and its taste qualities . They provide, among other things, soothing, antispasmodic and calming properties.
Linden honey production
The lime tree is a tree that produces a large amount of nectar.
Bees are attracted by the intense and fragrant flowering of the lime tree.
There are mainly two varieties of linden, suitable for honey production:
– small-leaved linden (Tilia cordata Mill.)
– large-leaved linden (Tilia platyphyllos Scop.)
The small-leaved lime tree is much more sought after by beekeepers.
Indeed, their leaves have a greater aromatic finesse. The taste of honey will then be more pronounced.
It is also a more nectariferous variety. The bees will then be able to bring more nectar into the hive.
Whether lime tree with small or large leaves, flowering remains short and fragile.
The flowers are very delicate.
They are sensitive to weather changes.
Too much rain or too much drought can significantly shorten the harvest period. Nectar returns will then be minimal.
On average, beekeepers estimate and harvest a good linden honey harvest every 3 to 4 years.
According to France Agrimer’s reports, published in 2021, there has been a clear increase in sales of linden honey. A 15% increase in volume compared to the previous year. The factors explaining such an increase are not mentioned. This can be correlated to a better 2020 honey flow, and therefore to additional sales. Linden honey remains a sought-after honey.
Harvesting linden honey
Linden honey is a so-called monofloral honey.
On a jar of honey with the mention “linden honey”, this means that at least 80% of the nectar comes from the linden blossoms.
In order to produce monofloral honey, an environment must be found where the desired flora is abundant.
Before successfully harvesting honey, you must first find a location to deposit your hives.
Pitches near lime trees are not easy to find.
They are few and very popular.
Where is linden honey harvested?
The high places of French production are in the Paris basin and in Picardy.
The Chantilly forest (6344 hectares) and the Picardy forests are places with a large number of lime trees.
Did you know that Chantilly means Linden Fields?
This explains why this national forest is recognized as an important area for the production of linden honey.
Other geographical areas, such as the Pyrenees, the Massif Central (the Ardennes), and the East of France (Lorraine and Burgundy) allow beekeepers to harvest this famous vintage honey.
As a rule, flowering occurs between the beginning and the end of June.
Some years, and depending on the region, flowering may begin earlier.
The honey flow, ie the time when the bees will bring the nectar into the supers of the hive, takes place between mid-June and mid-July. The honey flow only lasts a few days.
The characteristics of linden honey
What is the color of linden honey?
Following harvest, the color of the honey is rather amber.
Then after several weeks, it tends towards different notes of yellow, ranging from a pale yellow color to a yellow, ivory tint , or even darker.
When linden honey tends towards dark colors, it is possible that the honey is partly composed of honeydew.
It is a liquid substance , secreted by insects. These insects feed on the sap of plants and reject this sugary substance that they cannot assimilate.
The consistency of honey varies depending on the rate of crystallization.
After harvest, the honey is liquid.
Since its glucose/sugar ratio is quite high, it will quickly change to a more compact state.
Its crystallization is said to be rapid, with medium granulation.
How does it taste ?
linden honey is a very fragrant honey, which brings a real freshness in the mouth.
It is even said that its scent is bewitching.
Its aromas are minty, with undergrowth origins.
This is hardly surprising since a large part of the harvesting takes place in the heart of the forest.
Honey flavors are described as intense, powerful and persistent.
It is a honey of character.
It is not acidic. Only a slight hint of bitterness can be detected.
Much like sunflower honey, a creamy linden honey will need to be mixed with a low seeding percentage.
This sowing, which is carried out with a carefully selected honey, will make it possible to make a semi-compact linden honey with a creamy texture.
In general, the seeding is between 5 and 10% of the main honey quantity. A creamy monofloral honey includes a small amount of another type of honey.
The virtues of linden honey
Linden flowers are known for their soothing, digestive, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.
They also contain an important source of flavonoids, which have an antioxidant effect.
Not having found any scientific studies on the benefits of linden honey, I prefer to remain very evasive on this subject.
Of course, this honey has many benefits, like any other type of honey.
However, I cannot tell you what its properties are.
If you find information on this subject, do not hesitate to contact me!
How to consume linden honey?
Honey is an ingredient that is used in many recipes.
With a taste unique to each honey, the most difficult thing is to find the ideal association between the honey and the ingredients of its recipe.
Linden honey releases slightly minty flavors, with notes of balsamic, and a rather long taste in the mouth.
Recipes with this raw honey are fragrant and slightly spicy.
5 categories of recipes
Accompaniment: lime honey vinaigrette to accompany a winter or autumn salad. The vinaigrette can also be incorporated with grated carrots or cold beets.
Meat: They are often forgotten. Duck aiguillettes with linden honey, served with sweet potato, will delight the taste buds of young and old alike.
Cheese: a fresh cheese, such as goat or sheep cheese, goes well with linden honey. The contrast is quite marked and gives a nice burst of flavors.
Fruit: to combine fruit with linden honey, it is ideal to favor rather sweet varieties of fruit. In the winter, apples will do just fine, and in the summer months fishing is a great option. For recipe ideas, think of pies, baked apples, or simply compotes.
Dessert: In order to end on notes of delicacies, I offer you two types of recipes. It is ginger bread with linden honey, following the traditional realization. It is an easy recipe to make.
For an additional challenge, the excellent pastry chef Nicolas Bernardé has made a gingerbread cake with candied fruit.
Where can I find linden honey?
It is possible to find linden honey, for direct sale, directly on the online stores of certain beekeepers.
To save time, you can also go to the Honey Platform.
By selecting the “linden honey” category, you will discover all the French beekeepers who produce it. You can contact them directly to organize your order.
It is also possible to find honey in stores, in delicatessens, or on reseller sites. As with any product, it is important to read the label carefully to verify the origin of the honey.
In order to favor short circuits and French production, consider buying honey directly from the beekeeper.