Monday, August 1, 2011

Honey Bees & Ice Cream - A Sweet Connection

A honey bee hard at work on an alfalfa blossom
Summer is here, and with it some of our favorite treats: yummy summer fruits, barbecue, corn on the cob, lemonade, ice cream...and speaking of ice cream - did you know that honey bees help to bring us this delightful dessert? Let's take a closer look at just how that happens. 

It all begins under the sunshine, in blooming fields of alfalfa. Alfalfa is a pretty, purple-flowered plant grown in many states across the nation. The alfalfa flowers must be pollinated in order to produce alfalfa seeds to plant the next year's crop. And guess who does a great part of this alfalfa pollination? The honey bees, of course!
Alfalfa being harvested by a swather so that it can be
made into hay

The alfalfa plants are cut several times each year using a machine called a swather. Next, the alfalfa is dried and often bundled into bales. Now it's ready to be fed to hungry cows!
The dairy cows eat the alfalfa and produce milk, which we use to make a variety of delicious foods: cream, butter, yogurt, cheese...and ice cream!

A cow enjoying alfalfa hay

 Ice cream can also contain a number of other tasty ingredients that the bees bring us through pollination, including strawberries, peaches, almonds, coconut, peppermint, and cherries. Can you imagine ice cream without honey bees? Dessert wouldn't be quite so exciting, would it?

When the Haagen-Dazs ice cream company realized how important honey bees were to their ice cream, they made a wonderful website designed to tell others about the vital role honey bees play as pollinators. Take a look here to learn more!

You can also check out our "Recipes" tab to find new recipes for Homemade Honey Ice Cream, Honey Fudgesicles, and scrumptious ice cream toppings made with honey! 

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