How Sweet it Is

For centuries, honey was the only sweetener known to man, harvested from the wild all over the world. Even today the production of honey can be looked at as somewhat of a miracle, given the infinite flavorful varieties produced in nature.

 

The honeybee is the most important honey producer. Honey is made from the nectar that honeybees collect from flowers. The honeybee collects nectar with its tongue and carries it in a “honey stomach” to the hive/nest. Then the nectar is passed to the worker bees, who, by adding enzymes, prepare it for storing. They then transfer the nectar to a wax storage chamber. There, the water evaporates away, and combined with the enzyme activity the nectar turns into honey.

 

Did you know that bees filter out environmental toxins? They die if they come into contact with toxins and therefore do not carry pollutants into the hive/nest.

Dozens of varieties of honey are sold in the United States. The consistency, aroma and taste depend on the types of flowers from which bees collect the nectar. Honey is generally packed in jars or plastic squeeze bottles. Honey will keep indefinitely if stored in a cool dark place.

 

Types of Honey:

 

  • Flower Honey – The flavor is closely related to the flower’s aroma.
  • Herb Honey – Honeybees forage from many more herb flowers today, especially in the Mediterranean region.
  • Honey From Trees – Hives are often placed within tracts of one tree variety during the flowering season.

 

Here are some of the many varieties of honey you can find:

 

ALFALFA

Alfalfa honey is produced throughout Canada and the United States from the purple blossoms.

 

AVOCADO

Avocado honey is collected from California avocado blossoms.

 

BLUEBERRY

Blueberry honey is produced in New England and in Michigan from the small white flowers of the blueberry bush. 

 

BUCKWHEAT

Buckwheat honey is produced in Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and eastern Canada.

 

CLOVER

Clovers contribute more to honey production in the United States than any other group of plants.

 

EUCALYPTUS

Eucalyptus honey is produced in California and comes from one of the larger plant groups, containing over 500 distinctive species and numerous hybrids.  

 

FIREWEED

Fireweed honey comes from a perennial herb in the Northern and Pacific states and Canada.

 

MANUKA

Manuka honey is mainly produced in New Zealand.

 

ORANGE BLOSSOM

Orange blossom honey is produced in Florida, Southern California and parts of Texas.

 

SAGE

Sage honey is chiefly produced in California

 

TUPELO

Tupelo honey is a quality honey produced in northwest Florida

 

WILDFLOWER

Wildflower honey is frequently used to describe honey from various flower sources.

More Than Just Sweet Goodness

More than just a culinary sweetener, honey is valued for its healing properties as well. Honey can help restore energy, has a general calming effect and helps to dissolve mucus. Applied externally to the skin, it disinfects, heals minor cuts and abrasions. Honey has been used for the treatment of indigestion, coughs, colds, insomnia, headaches, minor cuts and abrasions and even chapped lips.

For Insomnia:

Place 2 ounces of honey in a glass with 5 drops of lavender oil. Place the glass in some warm water and heat the honey mixture until it thins out a little. Add 2 TBS. of the mixture to a warm bath, sit back and relax.

For Minor Cuts and Abrasions:

Honey contains a germ killing substance called inhibine. This helps prevent infections. Spread some honey directly on the wound then cover the wound with a sterile bandage.

For Respiratory Ailments:

For relief of coughs, wheezing and other minor respiratory ailments, mix 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme with a little honey and take orally as needed to help soothe inflamed lungs and airways.

Important!!!

DO NOT give unpasteurized honey to infants! It contains a type of bacteria (which is harmless to older children and adults,) than can be extremely dangerous to those younger than a year old.

Honeylicious Recipes

Pears in Honey

 

Ingredients:

4 pears

4 TBS. honey

1 ¼ cup water

2 TBS. lemon juice

1 vanilla bean

2 TBS chopped pistachio nuts

whipped cream

 

Directions:

Peel the pears, cut them in half and remove the cores. Place the pears in a small pan.

Bring the honey, water, lemon juice and vanilla bean to a boil. Once it begins to boil, remove the syrup from the heat and pour over the pears.

Cover the pears and simmer until they are cooked. Baste every so-often with the syrup.

Remove the vanilla bean and transfer pears (with syrup) to a serving dish.

Sprinkle with the chopped pistachios and serve with whipped cream.

 

Honey-Hoisin Marinade

 

Great for spareribs and chicken wings!

 

¼ cup soy sauce (low sodium is preferred)

2 TBS hoisin sauce

1/3 cup dark honey

¼ cup tomato sauce

2 TBS dry sherry

2 TBS rice wine vinegar

2 garlic cloves (minced)

2 TBS grated fresh ginger

2 small dried red chilies, crumbled (for a less spicy marinade – remove seeds)

1 tsp five spice powder

 

Place all ingredients in a blender and mix until well combined.  

Help Save The Honeybee

Honeybee populations are declining drastically. Here are some ways we can help our perfect little pollinators:

Supply food: Flowers provide nectar and pollen. Plant a diversity of bee attracting plants. Use flowers with a variety of colors and fragrances and plants of varying heights.

Supply shelter: Include canopy layers by planting trees, shrubs and multi-size perennials. Leave behind dead wood for nesting and dead plants and leaves for shelter.

Supply water: Running water, ponds, bird-baths and small containers offer drinking and bathing water.

Don't poison: Steer clear of using pesticides and herbicides

Here are just a few (of the many) plants you can incorporate into your garden to attract honeybees:

Annuals

Asters
Clover
Marigolds
Poppies
Sunflowers
Zinnias

Perennials

Buttercups
Cosmos
Dahlias
Echinacea
English Ivy
Foxglove
Geraniums
Hollyhocks
Hyacinth
Roses
Tansy
Yellow Hyssop

Fruit & Vegetable Plants

Cucumbers
Peppers
Pumpkins
Squash
Strawberries
Wild Garlic

Herbs

Coriander/Cilantro
Fennel
Lavender
Mints
Rosemary
Sage
Thyme

Comments 10 comments

one2recognize2 profile image

one2recognize2 6 years ago from New York

This is a great Hub. Always admired bees and can only say I admire them even more now. Can't wait to try the recipes, yum...


TINA V profile image

TINA V 6 years ago

This is an informative hub. My family loves to use honey for our coffee. We have tried using wildflower, buckwheat, sage, almond, and orange flavored honey. They all tasted good, but we liked almond and wildflower the most.

Thanks for sharing your recipes, too.


pddm67 profile image

pddm67 6 years ago from Queens, New York Author

Thank you one2recognize2 and TINA V for being the first to visit my hub and for your kind comments - much apprecited!

one 2 - both recipes are really yummy - even my kids like them and that says alot :-) Please enjoy and let me know how you liked them.

TINA - I've never tried honey in my coffee - is there any you recommend over the other? I am partial to tupelo, wildflower and blueberry honeys.

Thanks again - Rock on ladies!


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

very nice hub Patti, i used eucalyptus, I miss reading your hubs, Maita


pddm67 profile image

pddm67 6 years ago from Queens, New York Author

Thanks Maita! I miss writing them too. Just wish I had more time to spend on them and HP. Miss all my hubber friends. Have not tried the eucalyptus yet - something about the name just makes it seem so "medicinal" - lol. How does it taste? Do you recommend I try it? Your advice is always welcomed :-) Pattie


Money Glitch profile image

Money Glitch 6 years ago from Texas

This is a great hub, I did not know that honey could be found in so many flavors. I'm sure the bees are happy that you informed us of how to take care of them. :) Thanks for sharing!


pddm67 profile image

pddm67 6 years ago from Queens, New York Author

Thank you Money Glitch. And i didn't even list all of the flavors! There are so many more - lol - the hub coulda gone on forever. Glad you liked it and may your garden be filled with many honeybees :-) Rock on!


Tyrone Smalls profile image

Tyrone Smalls 6 years ago from Edi, Isl.

Very informal. What do you know about MARY JANE?


pddm67 profile image

pddm67 6 years ago from Queens, New York Author

Huh? Don't understand???


KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 5 years ago from Sunny Florida

Great hub about honey. I especially like you healthy uses tips. Up and useful.

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