This week I was remembering about a bee I saw busily working a patch of early spring flowers. The way the little guy went at it made me think of an old saying, “As busy as a bee.” He was oblivious to everything around him as he harvested the nectar from these flowers.
Honey, it has been around for a long time. Just ask John the Baptist. At first it was probably used as a sweetener in drinks and very little else, but today you will find it in an amazing array of recipes.
Honey comes to us in a number of types. Liquid honey is extracted from the comb and strained to make it as clear as possible. It is often heat-treated to keep it in the liquid state. Creamed honey is prepared by seeding liquid honey with finely granulated honey and storing it under controlled conditions until it is completely granulated.
Comb honey is natural sealed in wax by the worker bees. Chunk honey is a mixture of comb honey and liquid honey, usually sold in a container.
The flowers where the bees are busy harvesting the nectar will determine the flavour and color of the honey. For example, some of the flavours from buckwheat, blueberry, apple, raspberry and blackberry. Some of the colours are white, amber, golden and dark.
Honey is heated to destroy sugar-tolerant yeast’s that promote granulation. Honey is not pasteurized, even though the labels often say it is. Bacteria will not live in honey.
When I was a kid there was an old guy called Happy Joe who lived on the outskirts of our little village. He was quite a character. I guess he was our answer to the mountain men of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.
Anyway, one day on our way home from school we stopped at his cabin for a visit. We stayed for about an hour and when we were ready to leave he asked us if we wanted some honey.
Of course we were delighted, but hardly prepared for the two gallon pail full of combs and live bees under the lid. We took it home and right into the kitchen.
When my mother got back a few minutes later (she was visiting the woman next door) she turned rather pale and told us to take the pail to the barn and leave it there until the bees left it.
We started fore the barn but somehow the lid came off the pail and the bees escaped. In a matter of minutes we were running for our lives. Well, that’s what I thought at the time.
I had a lot of skirmishes with bees and wasps when I was young and I grew to hate them. But I did not let that keep me from enjoying all the honey I could get my hands on. And now I am going to share a recipe for Honey Bran Muffins I think you will like.
1 cup flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup brain
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup raisins
1 whole eggs
1/2 cup liquid honey
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup milk
Combine all the dry ingredients and the nuts and raisins in a mixing bowl. In a second bowl, beat together the rest of the ingredients. Now blend the wet and dry ingredients until just moist. Spoon into greased muffin tins, filling about two-thirds full. Bake at F 375 for 15 minutes. Makes one dozen delicious muffins.
See Ya Next Week!