Thursday, April 1, 2021

BEE-utiful with Honey


You have probably heard the saying "honey has been used since ancient times." Could that really be true? The answer may surprise you but yes, honey was used thousands of years ago all over the world in places like Greece, Egypt, and Spain! Some used it as a way to flavor or sweeten food while others realized its medicinal properties and used it as a way to heal wounds. But those that wanted to have beautiful skin realized honey was the answer. It is easy to look your best when you incorporate honey into your skin and hair care routine.


An 8,000 year old painting discovered in Arana Cave in Spain
where honey is being gathered from a hive on a cliff face.


Hair Care

Honey has been used as a hair treatment for centries since honey has numerous benefits when applied to your hair. Honey is an emollient, which means that it both smoothes and softens dry hair, as well as a humectant which helps to retain moisture. Besides boosting your hair's moisture content, honey can also make your hair shinier and more manageable. And if you are looking to naturally lighten the color of your hair, honey can bring out your hair's natural highlights. Through using honey as a hair mask on a regular basis, you can see stimulated hair growth as it can nourish and regenerate cells on your scalp. But the benefits of using honey don't stop there! If you have dandruff, honey just might be the answer. Besides moisturizing the skin cells on your scalp, honey is antibacterial which can help to treat infections but also kill the bacteria that can lead to dandruff. Pamper yourself with a simple homemade honey hair mask to soften your hair and soothe the scalp!

                                      

Skin Care

We now know that honey can moisturize your hair but those same moisturizing properties found in honey can also do great things for your skin! Brighten and moisturize your skin through a honey face mask. Using honey as a facial scrub can exfoliate dry and dead skin leaving your skin softer and smoother. Besides using honey as just a facial scrub, you can also use honey to moisturize chapped lips. If you struggle with acne, psoriasis, or eczema, try applying unpasturized honey to your sking to activate your immune system while also reducing inflammation and redness. The power of honey does not end there. By applying honey on scars, it can fade acne scars or improve the healing of a wound or sun burn. And if you are really looking to pamper yourself, indulge in a milk and honey bath just like Cleopatra did. 

                                   Try these easy 2 ingredient skin care recipes!


Pamper yourself with honey beauty regiments that have been used for thousands of years. Through honey and its moisturizing properties, refresh and brighten your skin or moisturize your hair to be BEE-utiful through the use of honey!

Monday, March 1, 2021

School in the Honey Bees' Hive

Have you ever wondered what school would be like in the beehive?

Let me show you how honey bees use math, history, science, and biology to keep their home

organized and travel internationally!


Math 

To build the comb out of wax, honey bees eat about 8 pounds of honey in order to make 1 pound

of wax. The wax cells are in the shape of hexagons that have 6 sides. In these cells, bees can store

nectar, pollen, and brood. The brood are the baby bees that start as an egg and then grow into an adult. 

A queen bee can lay around 2,000 eggs each day! After 3 weeks, those eggs will emerge out of

their cells and join the workforce of the hive, cleaning the hive, feeding the brood, foraging of food, and many other jobs. Each year, 1 hive can produce about 50 pounds of honey. Each worker bee makes

1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in her entire lifetime! 

Science

Honey bees can smell flowers from a few miles away! One way that honey bees communicate is

through smells. In the hive, these smells are called pheromones. Honey bees detect different smells

that help them locate flowers, identify the age of a larva (~4-8 days old brood), and find open cells

of nectar. Worker bees will put the nectar into their honey stomach, add enzymes to it, and dehydrate it

and make the nectar into honey. To preserve the honey, worker bees will make a wax capping for the

cell of honey. Honey does not require any processing before eating, so you can buy comb honey

from many stores.


History

Since the beginning of time, honey bees and honey have been deeply ingrained into human culture. 

Honey bees are the only insect that produces food that humans can eat--honey! Humans have found

many uses for honey including beauty routines, wound care, and cooking with honey. Because of the

bees’ great benefit, the explorers brought beehives with them as they sailed across the ocean to find

new lands. In 1622, the pilgrims discovered the new world, which they later named America.

Whether it's making honey or pollinating flowers that grow into our fruits and veggies, honey bees

continue to serve an important role in our lives.


Biology

The biology of honey bees is different from that of humans. In order to breathe, honey bees have tiny

holes in their exoskeleton. According to Flow Hive, “These valves, called spiracles, are located on the

sides of their body."

Another feature of honey bees is their stinger. Worker bees have a barbed stinger so that they can

defend the colony from predators like bears, skunks, and mice. Since the queen bee’s only job is to

lay eggs, she has a smooth stinger to help establish herself as the only queen bee of the colony.

Since drone bees do not defend the hive, they do not have any stinger! 

Honey bees have 5 eyes: 2 compound eyes and 3 ocelli. The compound eyes allow the forager bee

to see the large grouping of flowers and the ocelli helps the bee see the details of the flower.

What kind of details can she see? Honey bees see the world in ultraviolet (UV) light spectrum,

which means that yellow and purple flowers are brighter and look more attractive to bees while red

flowers look black and unattractive. In the pictures below, the flower on the left is seen as normal

and the picture on the right is the same flower in UV light. Each flower species has its own pattern

under UV light. These patterns on the flowers are called nectar guides and help lead the bee to the

sweet nectar that she is foraging for. With the help of her eyes, honey bees can locate and pollinate

many plants.


Monday, February 1, 2021

Sweet Kitchen Tricks


Using natures sweetener has endless possibilities! From cooking to baking, maybe using it as a sweetener, or utilizing it in your meal as a flavorful glaze, your imagination awaits. Use these 8 sweet kitchen tricks to use honey like a pro.




    1. Get that last drop: Over the course of a worker bee's life, she will collect enough nectar to make 1/12 teaspoon honey. So make sure you get all of the honey out of your measuring cup so you can enjoy her hard work! Before measuring out your honey, spray the utensil down with cooking spray to help the honey glide out of the utensil.                                                                                                        
    2. Crystallized to liquified: Honey will naturally crystallize but you can liquify it by placing the jar in a warm water bath and stiring until the crystals dissolve. You may also microwave a microwave-safe container with the lid off, stirring every 30 seconds until the crystals dissolve. To slow the process of crystallization, store honey at room temperature.                                                                          
    3. Substitute: Honey can be substituted for granulated sugar by beginning to substitute honey for up to half of the sugar that is needed in that recipe. With some experimentation, some recipes can have all of the sugar subsituted with honey.                                                              
    4. Turn the temperature down: Honey can increase the speed of browning in the oven. For baked goods, reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees to prevent over-browning from occuring.                                                                                                                                          
    5. Reduce the liquid: Honey naturally has more moisture than granulated sugar so to acheive the same consistency that you would with granulated sugar, you need to reduce the liquid used. For every cup of honey that is used in the recipe, reduce any liquid by 1/4 cup.                      
    6. Neutralize: Honey has an acidic nature making it great for marinades as the acid can tenderize meat. To neutralize the acid when baking, add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda for each cup of honey that is used. The acidic nature of honey is what makes honey self-preserving.                                                                                                                      
    7. Choosing honey: There are over 300 varieties of honey available in the United States, each with a different flavor because of the floral source. So how do you choose which type of honey to use for each recipe? A lighter colored honey typically has a milder taste while a darker honey will have a more bold flavor. A dark honey is great to use in sauces and a lighter colored honey tastes splendid in tea or lemonade. Experiment with the many different varieties of honey to see which honey works best in your favorite recipes.                                                                                       
    8. Honey conversions: If a recipe calls for 1 cup of honey, all you will need is a 12 ounce jar of honey. The conversion is 1 cup = 12 ounce jar of honey. 

Experiment with the over 300 varieties of
honey available in the United States!

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Moo Goo Gai Pan Recipe

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Cooking Chinese

Serves 4-6


Ingredients

1 whole large chicken breast, skinned, halved lengthwise and boned

1 ½ cup water

⅓ cup soy sauce

¼ cup dry sherry

2 ⅕ Tbsp cornstarch

2 Tbsp Honey

2 tsp instant chicken bouillon granules

1 8-ounce can water chestnuts, drained

1 cup fresh pea pods or 3 ounces of frozen pea pods, thawed

½ cup fresh mushrooms

4 to 6 green onions

2-3 Tbsp fresh ginger root

2 Tbsp cooking oil


Directions

1) Partially freeze chicken; thinly slice into bite-size strips.

2) In a small mixing bowl, stir together the water, soy sauce, dry sherry, cornstarch, honey,

and instant chicken bouillon granules; mix well.

3) Slice the drained water chestnuts; set aside. Halve the pea pods crosswise; set aside.

Slice the mushrooms and green onions; set aside. Grate the ginger root; set aside.

4) Preheat wok or large skillet over high heat; add oil. Add the chicken to wok or skillet;

stir-fry 3 to 4 minutes. Remove chicken. (Add more oil, if necessary) Stir-fry water

chestnuts, pea pods, mushrooms, green onions, and ginger root 3 to 4 minutes.

5) Return chicken to wok or skillet. Stir the bouillon mixture and stir into chicken. Cook and

stir till thickened and bubbly. Cover and cook 2 minutes more or till heated through.

 

 

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Honey Cinnamon Butter Recipe

 Ingredients:

  • 1 Stick butter (1/2 C.)
  • 1/2 C. Honey
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon

Directions:
    Mix all ingredients together and serve with pancakes, bagels, rolls, or toast.

Honey Cranberry Dip Recipe

Ingredients:
  • 8 oz. Cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 C. Honey 
  • 1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/2 C. Dried cranberries
  • 1/4 C. Pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped
Directions:
  1. Beat the cream cheese with a mixer until it is fluffy. 
  2. Add the honey and cinnamon and beat until combined.
  3. Fold in cranberries and choice of nuts. 
  4. Chill until firm. 
  5. Serve with graham crackers and fresh fruit.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

2021 Representatives Crowned Virtually


The new American Honey Queen and Princess were selected at the 2021 American Beekeeping Federation Convention held virtually this year.

2021 American Honey Queen
Jennifer Hinkel from Wisconsin

2021 American Honey Princess
Virginia Allen from Texas

Congratulations ladies! They will spend the year promoting honey and beekeeping throughout the United States and post interesting articles along the way. Keep an eye out for the sweetest representatives in America!