Bamboo Honey is actually not from bamboo at all. It derives from a plant called Japanese Knotweed, which is also known as American Bamboo. I'm not a taxonomist, don't ask me why. I do know it is an invasive plant that is related to buckwheat. Hence, the color has a dark, molassy appearance, but the flavor is much sweeter than that of Buckwheat Honey. An interesting honey, and hard to find.
Many varieties of blueberries are either cross-sterile or self-sterile. In order to maximize fruit production, farmers will rent beehives from pollination services.
Studies have shown that for each hive placed per acre, the farmer can expect another 1,000 pounds of fruit! Some farmers will rent as many as 5 hives per acre in order to grow the largest crop possible.
Our blueberry honey comes from Maine and has a wonderful blueberry taste that is perfect as a syrup on pancakes!
Honey Proves a Better Option for Childhood Cough than OTC's (over-the-counter medications) was published in December of 2007 in the peer-reviewed Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. The paper describes how honey, Buckwheat Honey in particular, significantly reduced the frequency, severity, and bothersome nature of nighttime cough from upper respiratory tract infection. Honey tested significantly better than standard cough medicine!
Buckwheat Honey is also known for being high in antioxidants. A study performed by the University of Illinois showed that the darker the honey, the higher the concentration of antioxidants. Buckwheat Honey had the same amount as a tomato! Plus, a University of California (Davis) study showed that eating approximately 4oz of Buckwheat honey a day boosts the antioxidant activity in plasma!
Buckwheat is grown both to add nutrients back to the land and for its seed. Buckwheat seeds can be ground into a naturally gluten-free flour. Buckwheat seeds can also be used in a gluten-free beer, being used as a malt similar to barley. Groats and farina are natural by-products of buckwheat flour production, and are used in instant cereals and as thickeners in gravies. Buckwheat hulls are used in the furniture industry as a natural fill for those who are allergic to feathers.
Buckwheat Honey is naturally dark and has a strong taste similar to raisins or molasses. HINT: See our recipe for Baklava!
You don't normally pollinate carrots. Like other root plants, once they are pollinated, the root turns woody and inedible.
Carrot Honey is collected after the pollination of carrots, and has a certain dark richness to it. This would be perfect for cooking any sort of root or tuber, or used as a sweetener in carrot cake.
We are all familiar with Cotton - that soft, snow white fiber highly prized as a breathable, natural fabric. I have driven through Virginia and wondered at the white bolls in the fields after frost kills the plant, waiting for the cotton pickers to scoop them up.
Remarkably, the honey tastes nothing like what you would imagine. Buttery, yet with a definite tang, the flavor makes you think more of a hard lemonade than a fluffy cloud!
Between American Foulbrood, two types of mites, and the recent hive beetle, there has been a dearth of bees. Many areas are reporting zero wild bee populations!? This makes the use of honeybees for pollination ever more important.
Without honeybees, cranberry bogs produce approximately 15 berries per square foot. With pollination, they produce up to 150! This makes a huge difference in the price we pay for our cran-fruit drinks and holiday cranberry sauce. Cranberry farmers typically lease 1-2 hives per acre for this increase in fruit production.
It can be tricky to get Cranberry Honey, since other plants with more abundant nectar bloom at the same time. Farmers will often mow the areas around their cranberry bogs to encourage the bees to work only the cranberries.
Cranberry Honey is prized for its strong berry flavor without the harshness of the cranberry. In addition, Cranberry Honey has a beautiful red cast when held up to the light!
All honey crystallizes naturally over time, usually producing large crystals akin to rock candy.
Creamed Honey is forced to crystallize such that the crystals are tiny. The end result is a smooth spread!
Creamed Honey is known by many names - Whipped Honey, Honey Butter, and Honey Spread are common. If you are purchasing these types of honey from other suppliers, check the ingredient label - sometimes butter is added to the mix.
Our Creamed Honey is 100% pure honey, made with Orange Blossom Honey for a super-sweet spread!
Once, a man walked up to us and asked us about our show discount.
"What show discount," we asked, thinking we had missed something in the advertising.
The man proceeded to explain to us how the attendees at this particular show were very crafty, and could make most of the items displayed for much less. "Therefore," he continued, "most vendors here offer a show discount to encourage us to purchase from them instead of making it ourselves."
We looked at each other, then back at the man. "Well," we replied, "this here is Killer Bee Honey. We will be happy to tell you where the hives are, if you wish to collect it yourself...."
Killer Bee Honey is a wildflower honey produced by the Africanized Bees of Brazil. Therefore, the flavor varies a bit from year to year, but tends to be a nice natural caramel taste. This rich taste makes it suitable for everything from baking to teas and brewing!
MeadowMaple Honey is technically a wildflower. The bees were placed close to the Meadowfoam fields, but also hit the nearby Maple trees. Meadowfoam is related to the Marsh Mallow, and by itself, produces a taste very similar to marshmallows. The combination of these two floral sources creates a very pleasant maple-marshmallow flavor.
Florida has roughly 550,000 acres of oranges and other citrus, most of it grouped in central to south Florida. Most varieties of citrus are self-pollinating, but the addition of honeybees does not hurt.
This creates a nice partnership between the orange growers and the beekeepers. The growers want the highest possible production in their groves, whereas the beekeepers want an early spring crop to build up strong hives for the upcoming pollination season.
The resulting Orange Blossom Honey has a light, citrus aftertaste that varies somewhat according to the variety of orange grown. In addition, Orange Blossom Honey tastes so much sweeter than other honeys (and cane sugar), that you don't need much of it to sweeten your teas and other treats!
Radish Honey is my current favorite. Not spicy like the plant, it has a sweet-yet-light flavor, with an aftertaste that leaves your mouth a bit dry.
Radishes are pollinated for the seed crops. Studies have shown that honeybees are responsible for roughly 85% of radish pollination, and produce a 22% increase in the seed crop!
I used Radish Honey for my holiday cooking last December. It picked up spices well, at least in my pumpkin pies, pecan pies, and banana breads! Plus, even though it crystallizes quickly, it also liquifies easily and with minimal heat.
Our Raspberry Honey comes from the New Jersey shoreline. Raspberries are popular in home gardens, but without pollination, are not worth the garden space.
Have you noticed how raspberries consist of small kernals? With pollination, you can see 45-90 kernals. Without you will see 15-27. Also, pollinated raspberries are 1/3 heavier than unpollinated fruit! Beekeepers typically place 1-2 hives per hectacre in raspberry fields.
Raspberry Honey typically has a nice amber hue and has a fruity flavor, very similar to the plant.
Before the White Tupelo starts to bloom, a hodgepodge of other plants all bloom all at once along the Apalachicola River on the panhandle of Florida. Ti-Ti, Black Tupelo, Black Gum, Willow, and other plants produce a dark, quickly granulating honey that is excellent for baking and many teas. We call this resultant wildflower Southern Belle Honey.
Surprisingly, this honey has a taste like peaches. Did the bees actually hit peach trees when they produced this honey? We do not know. However, it is surprisingly sweet for such a dark honey, with a rich taste that is not overpowering.
90% of the world's thyme oil crop is produced in Spain due to its favorable growing season. The plant itself is used in cooking, and the essential oil is used as an antiseptic in mouthwashes and cosmetics. Thyme oil is collected through steam distillation of the stems and leaves. Honeybees are brought in to pollinate crops that are allowed to go to seed in order to maximize seed production and fertility.
The tupelo trees along the Gulf Coast of the US require wet, swampy soils to thrive. Its popular name derives from two Creek Indian words meaning tree (eto) and water (opelwu), and its latin name, Nyssa aquatica, means Water Nymph.
The Apalachicola River is the center of Tupelo Honey production in the United States, with abundant growths of white tupelos. Each spring, beekeepers place their hives on stands or riverboats in order to access this wonderful, light-colored honey that contaings just a hint of lemon.
In order to get the highest-quality Tupelo Honey, ALL honey stores must be stripped from the hive just as the tupelo bloom begins. This causes high-grade Tupelo Honey to fetch a premium price, since the beekeeper must move the bees into the swamps and monitor the bees each day until the bloom starts.
White tupelo produces a honey with a high ratio of fructose to glucose, preventing this honey from crystallizing. If there is even just a few days of the previous wildflower remaining on the hive, it will cause the Tupelo Honey to crystallize. Purity is determined by pollen analysis by the Department of Agriculture. Anything greater than 50% can be declared as Tupelo Honey, but our supplier routinely falls in the 80-95% purity range.
Take a look outside your window. What do you see blooming? Dandelions, clover, and violets in the lawn, maybe some chickweed, too. Trees and bushes. Don't forget the herb garden in back. And down by the creek, there are probably plants blooming that most people have never heard of!
That is what Wildflower Honey is composed from. Wildflower Honey varies in flavor and color from location to location, or even in the same location depending upon time of year and growing conditions! Locally, depending upon when the rain falls in the Spring, you might have a light or dark colored honey, a sweet or a stronger taste!
Our Wildflower Honey comes from hives in the Southern Pennsylvania/Maryland/Northern Virginia area. This particular batch is a Fall honey, comprised of Thistle, Goldenrod, Milkweed, and Aster Honeys.