Honey is a natural food product, healthy, rich in sugars, protein, aminoacids, organic acids and several vitamins, such as B, C, D and E. Its composition, together with its unique taste, makes honey a food product with a high nutritional value. Honey is classified according to the natural source of nectar, and can be defined as unifloral, when it becomes mainly from one floral source, or multifloral when arises from a combination of several different plants. The floral diversity, evaluated by the pollen content in honey, confer to each honey a specific physical, chemical and organoleptic set of properties. To be considered unifloral, the pollen content in honey must be in general above 45% from the same botanic source. Nevertheless there are some plants that fall outside this boundary due to a scarce or overproduction of pollen. Honeys with nectar origin in the family of Lamiaceae, from where the genus Lavandula belongs, present a pollen percentage in honey around 10 to 40%, which is due to the well adapted morphology of the flower to the bees, enabling a lower production of pollen.
The Portuguese Lavender Honey, from the nectar of Lavandula Stoechas and Lavandula viridis species as well as potentially from Lavandula pedunculata, in one of the Portuguese unifloral honeys with higher production value, however lacking of structured implementation in the international market due to the fact that the honey is compared with quality standards defined base on different Lavandula species.
The main goal of this research product is to characterize the production of Portuguese lavender honey to enhance its recognition and commercial value both at national and international level. To achieve this goal we intend to assess the information on the production of lavender honey, both in terms of quantity as well as the type of beekeeping practiced for its production (transhumance, number and time of harvesting). This information, together with the quality evaluation of the honey will provide the basis to define specific regions for adequate production and thus define the quality standards of the Portuguese Honey.