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Quite recently beekeeping was mainly associated with honey. Today, honey is only one of many products acquired in an apiary, where pollen, beebread, bee milk and propolis are also produced. At present, flower pollen collected by bees has provoked in the world substantial interest. In order to fully appreciate the beneficial effect of flower pollen, one should find more about it.Read more »
Beebread is a combination of flower pollen, honey and secretion from bees’ salivary gland. Such mixture undergoes fermentation process in the oxygen-free environment of a bee nest. Pollen, before being located in the cells of a comb, is enriched by bees with honey and digestive enzymes. Then, fermentation processes, similar to the pickling cabbage, take place thanks to which proteins of flower pollen disintegrate, creation amino acids and peptides.Read more »
Propolis, known also as bee glue, is a balsamic -resinous substance that is collected by bees from flower bud secretion of variety of broadleaved and coniferous trees. Depending on the source, it has yellow-green, dark brown or almost black colour. It consists of many active substances that have strong antibacterial and analgesic properties. It accelerates cell metabolism and detoxify the system. It regenerates cartilaginous and bone tissue, as well as, skin cuticle what helps preventing scars.Read more »
Honey for centuries was one of the almost indisdpensable natural product in a household. It was used to sweeten dishes, to bake cakes – in particular gingerbread, and even to preserve food. Honey was also appreciated in production of alcoholic beverages as mead and honey beer that once were quite popular.
The tradition of mead production goes back in Poland to the pagan times. However, first records comes from the biography of of St. Otton, in which it was said that Pomeranian tribes favoured honey mead over wine. It was no surprise as Polish people simply could not make wine to the changeable climate, not suitable for growing vine.
Probably first meads had very different flavour from those made today. Today preferred sweeter, in the past mead was more of a dry beverage. Its taste was not always appreciated and that is why monks coming to Polish land form southern Europe took over the the work of producing honey mead. It was extremely profitable and and the same time raising the standard of beverages. Soon enough, monks developed taste for honey mead, favouring them over southern wines. Today, the close connection of mead production with monasteries is indicated by their names, for instance ‘Kapucynski’ or ‘Bernardynski’
At first, the process of natural yeast cultures fermentation was used to produce mead and the concentration of alcohol reached up to 10%. Consequently, it was frequently served while eating meals as it was consummated as juice. Only when hot honey wort and noble variety of yeasts were employed in the production process the quality of the beverage increased. As time passed, other ingredients were added such as spices, fruit juce. And it all caused the honey mead to become more and more popular, especially among Polish and Lithuanian nobility.
According to medieval written sources the mead brewing was in particular widespread in Mazowsze, Pomorze and here in Malopolska. It is confirmed in the decree form 15th century issued by the bishop Zbigniew Olesnica in which he authorized the establishment of mead brewery in Grybow parish. In addition, Marcin Kromer, who was Polish 16th century historian, writes in his chronicle of Polish history that “honey with hop and water is common there, especially where bees are in abundance”.
The unique tradition of mead brewing is being preserved by the Beekeeping Farm ‘Sadecki Bartnik’ in Stroze. The company distributes honey meads produced with its own raw materials. ‘Sadecki Bratnik’ offers nine varieties of mead: trojniaki – “Kozacki”, “Litewski”, “Rycerski” and “Kapucyn”; dwojniaki “Bartnik”, “Kasztel Niedzicki”, “Zbyszko” and “Macko” and poltorak – “Chrobry”. To honour the ancient pioneers the mead “Kapucyn” can be bought only in a stoneware jug.
By being the member of the EU, we hope that mead brewing will finally become a profitable occupation for beekeepers and Polish apiaries will gain a lot as tourist attractions.
Mixed flower honey
Oilseed rape honey