The palm honey is a unique food both for its nutritional composition and its excellent taste. For many nutritionists the properties of palm honey are superior to those of classic bee honey, and a great majority of those who have the pleasure of tasting it claim that its taste is also superior.
Canary Island palm honey is one of the most emblematic gastronomic products of the island of La Gomeraand it's no wonder. Let's review the excellence of this canary product.
What is the origin of this honey
The origin of the palm honey from La Gomera you have to look for it in the guarapo, which is the sweet juice that is extracted from Phoenix canariensisthe Canary Island palm tree.
Guarapo contains a remarkable and highly concentrated amount of nutrients. Its harvest requires months of preparation; the guaraperos, as those who harvest it are called, work for days, cutting the new shoots from the leaves and their buds.
This process allows the guarapo to be expelled from the palm tree, being collected with the so-called gutters.
A palm tree can produce around 12 litres of guarapo every day. Its quality will be better the less the palms are irrigated by water, as the sap will be more concentrated.
The technique used in La Gomera for collecting guarapo allows for the perfect conservation of the palms, so there is no need to destroy them.
After the collection of the guarapo, which is usually done in the morning, it is boiled almost immediately, since otherwise its rich composition would lead it to ferment.
When it is boiled, its substances are concentrated, especially its sugar, so that there is no danger of microorganisms acting and damaging the palm honey; plus they give it a lot of sweetness.
One litre of palm honey is obtained with approximately eight litres of guarapo. Once cooked, all that's left is to pack it.
Properties of palm honey
Professors Pedro Abreu González and Alberto Castilla, from the University of La Laguna, have recently conducted a study that shows the properties of palm honey exceed those of bee honeywith a higher concentration of elements such as zinc, potassium, phosphorus, copper and calcium.
The results of this study have not come as a great surprise, since it has been known for some time that vegetable honeys are more nutritionally complete than animal honeys.
This greater nutritional richness has a very positive effect on the organism of those who consume palm honey. This incomparable nectar can be used in the treatment of ailments and infections of various kinds, as well as a magnificent nutritional supplement in children's and sports diets.
Let's see what the main health benefits of palm honey.
Traditionally, palm honey is used for relieve pain from rashes, mouth infections and different types of intestinal ailments. Its properties contribute in an active way to cleanse and purge the organism.
Balances the diets of children and athletes
This healthy and balanced food is often included in low-calorie diets. It also has a very high percentage of basic substances, such as trace elements.
For these and other reasons, it is recommended that palm honey be included in the diets of children, sportsmen and women and, in general, all those who opt for a healthy diet.
Combats coughs and colds
The properties of palm honey manage to reduce the annoying coughing attacks, with some results very similar to those that cough suppressant drugs may have.
On the other hand, since time immemorial, palm honey has been used in La Gomera as an effective home remedy for the treatment of colds, and is also a magnificent antihistamine.
Prevents urinary infections
Palm honey is also used for the prevention and treatment of various urinary infections, such as cystitis.
Where to find palm honey in the Canary Islands
The production of Canarian palm syrup takes place only on the island of La GomeraAlthough its growing fame and prestige has crossed borders, it can be found in the rest of the archipelago and in different parts of Spain.
Chile also produces palm honey, a kind of sweet syrup extracted from the sap of the Chilean palm, the Jubaea chilensis.
Palm Honey is excellent for accompanying different typical Canary Island dessertsThe most popular products are: roasted milk, quesillo, frangollo, gofio mousse, curd cakes and goat cheese. It is also increasingly used in the preparation of meat sauces.
Either to be enjoyed directly from the package or as an accompaniment to numerous recipes, palm honey is a delicacy you can't miss when you visit the Canary Islands. A taste that contributes even more to this archipelago being known as the "Fortunate Islands".
Source of photos: mieldepalma.com, Vallehermoso (La Gomera) Town Hall, Canary Islands Government.