Amirkaal, the miracle honey
At the same time as building the camp, we started beekeeping in mid-May. We had no time to waste, the flowering starts in May and lasts until mid-July. After that everything dries up because there is no rain at all. We bought 40 hives from one of the local beekeepers and put them in pre-made log hives. We made wooden hives with thick walls and designs, hives made from logs, which the bees choose in the wild. According to the ancient method, the only way to extract honey from these was to kill the hives. So we sliced the tree pods every 10 centimeters so that we could extract the honey by lifting the slices without harming the bees. The aim was to create ideal conditions for them.
We placed the hives at higher points than the camp and in the hills, inland, where the local beekeepers no longer go. Some of them could only be transported to the site by horse. I hired horses from local shepherds who graze the animals on the hills from spring to winter. They only go down to the village in winter, when they dismantle their yurts.
Together with the locals I identified the flower species. The first to open after the snow was the purple flower of the shalotts. The bees were mostly carrying honey from three types of flowers, sage, wild oregano and thyme, which together made even better honey, which is what attracted me there in the first place. In Europe, thyme grows to ankle height at most, but there it grows to chest height. But it is true of other plants that they grow to the height of a man. And what makes them so? Is there another local subspecies of the plant? I don't think so, I think it's the excellent soil that makes them so huge!
In Hungary, there is no topsoil in the hilly, mountainous areas, and the humus is washed away by rain in cultivated areas. In the villages of Somogy, for example, the nutritional value of the soil can average around 10 gold crowns. But here, when we dug a 2 m deep hole for the sewage tank, we found black humus even at the bottom. I have never seen such perfect potting soil. As in the souls of all peoples, they too have legends about the rich natural endowment of their homeland. According to them, when God created and allotted the land to the people, they were asleep. The god kept their land for itself because it was the most beautiful, the best on earth. Then they woke up and asked him what they had. The god had to give them the land where they live now.
The honey was not spun out of the spleen, but, according to the ancient method, the spleen was cut out of the log and squeezed out of it. We brought beekeeping tools from home, the ones my grandparents used to make bees. We could have bought new ones, but it was the experience we wanted. At the same time, there was no lack of modernity. Everything was done with proper hygiene, the honey had to be protected from dust and insects, for example, and the tent was equipped with the right tools.
I was on site for 2 and a half months. Since the camp was empty at the end of the summer, I offered it to our friends there, who helped us to use it and enjoy it. They went there as a family on holiday. In hindsight, I think that despite the many trials and tribulations, we made a sensible, common-sense decision to go on an expedition that surpassed all our dreams. We made perfect honey with happy hives living in perfect harmony with nature. That was the point! We produced less than 300 kilograms, but it was wonderful! We named it Amirkaal. The name comes from the shepherds, who call the area - the so-called terroir - where we were beekeeping, by this name. Anyone who tastes it will be convinced that the less we interfere with nature, the more we are able to work miracles.
We also tested the quality of Amirkaal using laboratory equipment. Taking the German Beekeepers' Association's practice as a model, we looked at the intensity of the enzyme that is the most sensitive in honey and the easiest to destroy by heating. If that is intact, then all the other bioactive parts are intact and abundant. These bioactive substances come from the body of the bee. The level of these constituents is not prescribed by any food rule, i.e. if for some reason they are no longer present in honey at all, it does not mean that it cannot be marketed as table honey. It does, however, indicate how the honey has been handled during processing and packaging, for example whether it has been overheated.
In EU honeys, which are considered to be a good brand in the shops, the intensity of this enzyme is usually around 30, which is because they have already undergone two processes by the time they reach the jar. By way of comparison, the German beekeepers' association expects its members to ensure that the honey they market has an intensity of no less than 60. In hives, good honey is usually between 80 and 100, and even for highly bioactive honeys it rarely reaches 200. In Amirkaal, however, it is over 300. The extremely high number indicates that this environment provides the bees with perfect conditions.