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Health benefits of honey are awesome! Honey can energize the body, boost immunity, fight bacteria, promote healing of cuts and burns, remedy sore throats, colds and it's delicious. Cloverfields Farm & Kitchen's Janine Washle keeps bees at her Hardin County, Kentucky farm. And she is sharing some of her experience AND recipes.
Honeybees literally came over 'on the boat'. Immigrants brought over Apis Mellifera in the 1600's. Native Americans referred to them as the "white man's stinging fly". Today's honeybees are hybridized for disease resistance, gentleness, and productivity to name a few.
Despite the honeybee's sensational reputation on television, they are gentle and will sting only if their hives are threatened or if they fear for their lives. Honeybees habits are admirable and many folks could learn a lesson or two. Their hives are clean, well organized, and when flowers are blooming their only goal is to work as hard and as much as they can going back and forth from hive to flowers numerous times a day.
While a worker bees lifespan is 30-45 days, her exhausting work gathering nectar and pollen can leave her wings shredded, and thus, imminent death from overwork. On the other hand, when blooms have died back or the heat of summer has dried up nectar sources, honeybees can become bored and will look for nectar in inappropriate places, a soda can, ice cream bowl, even a hummingbird feeder.
To learn more about bees locally check out www.kyanabees.com (Jefferson County), Sonora Bee Catchers (Hardin County), and Grayson County Beekeepers Association. All of the emails and phone numbers can be found at www.thehoneyandbeeconnection.com. In fact, joining a bee club before investing in bees is what Washle did just to make sure that she really knew what she was getting into. It is an expensive hobby and mistakes cost money and can be quite frustrating; therefore, it is best to learn up front the proper techniques and exactly what equipment is essential. As with anything, there are a lot of bells and whistles that look great but aren't necessary.
Every 3rd bite of food we eat is directly impacted by a honeybee's pollination efforts. If we lose our bees, we lose strawberries, almonds, watermelons, in fact melons and squash of every type, cherries, apples, blueberries, peaches...you get the picture. Nutritious honey is good on it's own or as a topping for toast, fruit, cereal, and so forth, but it is fun to cook with honey and it is easy to substitute honey for some of the sugar in a recipe by using the following adjustments:
Substitute up to 1/2 of the sugar in a recipe with honey (example: 1 cup sugar would then be 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup honey), then adjust liquids in recipe by reducing the main liquid by 1/4 cup for each cup of honey used(example: 1 cup milk would reduce down to 3/4 cup milk), or using the sugar example above which only uses 1/2 cup honey, you would only reduce the liquid by 1/8 cup. Since honey is acidic, you need to add 1 tsp baking soda to baked goods such as cookies, bread, or cakes. Do not add baking soda to drinks, puddings, or ice cream. The baking soda leavens (lifts/rises) the baked goods so they aren't heavy.
For spring salads, the following honey poppy seed vinaigrette will enliven your favorite greens:
Honey Poppy seed Vinaigrette
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 large egg
1 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1 TB toasted poppy seeds
pinch of salt
In the bowl of a food processor or in a blender, add orange juice, vinegar, and egg. Turn on processor and slowly drizzle in oil, then honey until the mixture has emulsified. Transfer to a double boiler and place on top of a medium saucepan. Add poppy seeds, and salt. Whisk constantly over simmering water until the vinaigrette reaches 165 degrees (the egg will then be pasteurized). Refrigerate overnight. If too thick, thin with a little orange juice or vinegar.
Blueberry season is right around the corner and the following recipe is ridiculously easy, but totally delicious:
1 cup fresh blueberries, washed and picked over
2 TB local honey
pinch of ground cinnamon, optional
In a medium bowl stir together blueberries, honey and cinnamon, if using. Let sit for 10 minutes. Add a dollop of yogurt or just eat plain. The honey with the blueberries is simply delicious.
FREE HONEY & BEEKEEPING RECIPE BOOKLET!
Cloverfields Farm and Kitchen also has a special Honey and Beekeeping Recipe Booklet available by email. To ask for a complimentary copy, just email Janine Washle at firstname.lastname@example.org
Janine Washle and her family live at the Cloverfields Farm and Kitchen in Big Clifty, Kentucky in Hardin County. CloverFields Farm & Kitchen, part of a century old farmstead, is our home and business. The McGuffin house, the original farmhouse, is a registered state landmark. CloverFields Farm has a prosperous farming history. They are continuing this rural story in their own unique way by the addition of CloverFields Kitchen a place to explore the past through food and merge it with our modern lifestyles.
CloverFields Farm is dedicated to the preservation of southern, especially Kentucky, food traditions. The kitchen is commercially-outfitted compliant with Health Department standards. In this kitchen I develop new recipes based on original ideas, inspirations from my culinary research, and most often according to what is in season.
On the farm, they make many gifts and specialty items. She is currently working on her first cookbook, but she also has a long resume developing recipes for several companies. She has also won several contests and cook-offs with her original recipes.