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 honey is produced throughout Canada and the United States from the purple blossoms.
Avocado honey is collected from California avocado blossoms.
Blueberry honey is produced in New England and in Michigan from the small white flowers of the blueberry bush.
Buckwheat honey is produced in Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and eastern Canada.
Clovers contribute more to honey production in the United States than any other group of plants.
Eucalyptus honey is produced in California and comes from one of the larger plant groups, containing over 500 distinctive species and numerous hybrids.
Fireweed honey comes from a perennial herb in the Northern and Pacific states and Canada.
Manuka honey is mainly produced in New Zealand.
Orange blossom honey is produced in Florida, Southern California and parts of Texas.
Sage honey is chiefly produced in California
Tupelo honey is a quality honey produced in northwest Florida
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.
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.
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.
Pears in Honey
4 TBS. honey
1 ¼ cup water
2 TBS. lemon juice
1 vanilla bean
2 TBS chopped pistachio nuts
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.
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.
Want To Help? Check Out These Websites:
- The plight of the bumblebee
"If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years left to live."- Albert Einstein. Incredible to think that the fate of mankind lies in the hands of a small insect...
- The Honey Bees
The honey bees need your help. Find out what you can do to save them!
- Hagen-Dazs - Help the Honey Bees
- Save Honey Bees
Save Honey Bees Information.
No One Loves Honey More Than This Guy!
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:
Fruit & Vegetable Plants