Posted in Food Safety on September 23, 2018
Backyard beekeepers rejoice! September is National Honey Month, and we are jumping for joy in our house. Why are we jumping for joy you ask? It is all because of Honey; a deliciously sweet treat that literally goes with everything. Some of the saddest parts of my life were when I had an allergy to honey. I couldn’t eat it at all without a very serious reaction, and thankfully, I did outgrow it, and now get to enjoy this amazing creation made by buzzing friends. But what makes honey so special? Special enough to have an entire month of celebrating it? Well, let me tell you…
According to agfoundation.org, established in 1989, National Honey Month marks an important time for honey producers and beekeepers across the nation. In the United States, honey collection season typically concludes in September as bees begin to secure their hives and prepare for winter.
In the spirit of celebration, here are a few fun, crazy facts you may not have known about bees, beekeeping, and honey!
One of my fondest childhood memories involved going to the store and getting those little flavored honey sticks. They were such a sweet treat and I loved the fruit flavors the most. They were readily available locally for us because we had so many places that sold local honey.
Did you know that honey is a 1 ingredient recipe? The story of honey is older than history itself. An 8,000-year-old cave painting in Spain depicts honey harvesting, and we know it’s been used for food, medicine and more by cultures all over the world since. Let’s face it, what soothes a cough better than a teaspoon of honey in your tea?
But honey isn’t just about humans. It’s the natural product made from bees—one of our planet’s most important animals. Honey bees visit millions of blossoms in their lifetimes, making pollination of plants possible and collecting nectar to bring back to the hive.
Lucky for us, bees make more honey than their colony needs, and beekeepers remove the excess and bottle it. Just like they’ve been doing since the beginning of time.
I could go on and on about the ways that we use honey in our lives but I would feel like the scene from Forrest Gump talking about the shrimp. We use honey in recipes more often than I care to admit from time to time especially when making barbecue sauces for chicken, we use it as a dip, on other foods and honestly sometimes I just like the way it tastes. We also use it for sore throats. The Mayo Clinic did a study which showed the following:
Drinking tea or warm lemon water mixed with honey is a time-honored way to soothe a sore throat. But honey alone may be an effective cough suppressant, too.
In one study, children age 2 and older with upper respiratory tract infections were given up to 2 teaspoons (10 milliliters) of honey at bedtime. The honey seemed to reduce nighttime coughing and improve sleep.
In fact, in the study, honey appeared to be as effective as a common cough suppressant ingredient, dextromethorphan, in typical over-the-counter doses. Since honey is low-cost and widely available, it might be worth a try.
However, due to the risk of infant botulism, a rare but serious form of food poisoning. Parents should never give honey to a child younger than age 1.
A lot of people use local honey to treat allergies, but again be mindful of the no honey for children under 1 year old rule. Local aka raw honey is safe for healthy adults, but be mindful if you have underlying health issues.
Whether you are using honey for a cough, in recipes or just because you think it is tasty know that the bee that creates it only has a lifespan of between 122-152 days. A short life with so much purpose. The honey bee is known for making a huge colony and people will actually come harvest them from properties and take them to their own personal hives to make honey that can be used.
My honey jar just might be calling to be added to some warm biscuits or toast since we have had some really chilly mornings here lately. Between the rainy damp air and lower daily high temperatures I find that I am looking for more comforting foods and honey just happens to be one of them.
Be sure this month to thank your local beekeeper who keeps the product flowing with the help of his backyard friends. While their lives are short, their product is certainly delicious and the work that goes into making a quality product by the bees and beekeepers is appreciated in not only our household but many others.
By: Samantha Cooper, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)