Chestnut honey: it's harvest time!

Chestnut honey: it's harvest time!

The chestnut is a majestic tree, frequent in siliceous soils where it can form real forests. It is a deciduous tree. Slender and large, it can reach 40 meters in height.

Leaves

Castanea sativa illustration

The deciduous leaves, briefly petiolate, are arranged alternately and spirally along the branches of the year. Large, they can reach 30 cm long and 10 cm wide. The entire blade, oblong-lanceolate, has a deeply toothed margin; its upper side, of a deep green, appears a little shiny.

The chestnut leaves contain tannins, mucilage and flavonoids. They have antibacterial, astringent (tightens the mucous membranes) and sedative properties. They are indicated to soothe respiratory ailments and to relieve back pain and rheumatism.

Flowering

Fleur de châtaignier

The flowering of chestnut trees is abundant but relatively short, spreading from the beginning of June to the end of July depending on the local climate and the altitude.

The same tree develops both male and female reproductive organs, but the latter are carried by separate flowers, therefore themselves qualified as male and female: it is said that the chestnut is a monoecious species. The male and female flowers are arranged along fairly stiff axes carried in the axils of the leaves of the year, forming elongated catkins, more or less straightened, and can reach 20 cm or more in length.

Fruit

Châtaignes

After pollination, each female flower evolves into a globular dry fruit 2 to 3 cm in diameter: the chestnut. In parallel, the crown of bracts which surrounded the glomeruli of female flowers resumed its development and transformed into a thorny envelope, or bug, which completely surrounds the 2 or 3 chestnuts from the flowers of the same glomerulus.

In addition, the fruit of the chestnut must not be confused with that of the horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum), an ornamental tree not related to the chestnut. The horse chestnut fruits correspond this time to voluminous seeds with a smooth and brown seed coat, surrounded by a thorny envelope which corresponds to the envelope of the fruit. There is no crown of bracts, which is characteristic of the Fagaceae.

Beekeeping interest

Abeille sur un chaton de châtaignier

The abundant summer flowering attracts bees in large numbers, which collect large quantities of pollen and nectar from male flowers. The honeydew, which generally occurs in mid-July, can be abundant, but is often uneven from one year to the next, due to the relative transience of the flowering as well as the drop in nectar production by strong heat. Monofloral chestnut honey is regularly produced, mainly in Corsica, in the Cévennes, Limousin and in Brittany. It is a dark brown honey with slow crystallization; it has a particularly full-bodied and woody flavor, sometimes with a slightly bitter and astringent finish, which makes it a honey of various character.

In July, chestnut honey can contain a relatively large proportion of honeydew, a sweet liquid exuded by certain species of chestnut aphids, and also harvested by bees.

Chestnut honey selected by Miel Factory

Our chestnut honey is harvested in France, in the Cévennes, in Sainte-Croix-Vallée-Française.

The chestnut does not like calcareous and basic soils, it develops on schist or granitic soils, always rich in silica and more or less acid. It is for this reason that these trees are only really common in crystalline or shale soils: Corsica, Maures, Cévennes, Limousin, Brittany.

The chestnut also needs heat in summer, but does not support too prolonged dryness.

Sainte-Croix-Vallée-Française

Our chestnut honey is an intense honey. Its liquid texture has copper reflections. This honey has a real aromatic power with notes of undergrowth and a note of bitterness at the end of the mouth which characterizes it.

The purity of the chestnut honey selected by Miel Factory will keep it liquid for a long time. This honey is one of the greatest French honeys.

Miel de Châtaignier

discover our Chestnut honey

Chestnut honey is widely used in cooking for the authenticity of its taste and the strength of its flavors. It allows you to flavor certain pastries (cakes, pies). Discover the preparation of the Apple Bread Cake recipe by reading our article:

Recette au miel : Apple Bread Cake

Honey Recipe : Apple Bread Cake