Tuesday, August 23, 2011

You Are What You Eat

Last week at the State Fair, I saw an impressive display of honey.  So many colors!  It was amazing!  Naturally, I did not take a picture.  But I found this one on the internet to give you an idea of the variations:
Since several people have commented either here or directly to me, that our honey is very light in coloring, I thought I would share a little information with you.

The honey produced by the honeybee in any given area is a direct reflection of the nectar / pollen supply available to the honeybee. 
Maybe you've heard of honey referred to as Clover Honey, Orange Blossom Honey, or possibly Buckwheat Honey, just to name a few.

These are not honeys that have been flavored to taste that way; it's what the bees are "eating" that gives honey it's particular flavor.  They are what they eat!

Years ago, our neighbor kept honeybees and his honey was light too!  He shared with us the reason:  Our honeybees have an abundant supply of the Basswood Tree. 
Also known as "The Bee Tree"!
Therefore, our honey is considered Basswood Honey. 

In researching Basswood Honey, I was surprised and pleased to learn alot of new things!  For instance, according to http://www.health-benifits-of-honey.com/:   "This is a monofloral honey highly prized for its distinct flavors. Beekeepers that are lucky enough to have this special nectar source growing nearby are said to be in honey heaven when the pretty blossoms are in seasonYou will need to be quick to grab yourself a jar of this type of honey because the blossom on the basswood tree is only in bloom for about 10 days which makes it quite rare."

As to the coloring of Basswood honey...
"This is a beautifully pale honey, almost white at times with just a hint of a green glow, this maybe yet another reason it is known as Lime honey. This special honey is slow to crystallize which would be nothing to worry about if it does. Stand the jar in a pan or basin of hot water and it will revert back to a liquid form in no time at all."

And the flavor of Basswood Honey...
"When you open a jar of this honey the first thing you will notice is the same aroma that attracted the bees to this source of nectar. A gorgeous fragrance; slightly fruity and yet herbal at the same time. Pop a spoon into the jar, dive in, taste and savor this fruit flavour which has a delicious aftertaste. Some liken the taste to crisp apples with a hint of mint thrown in. The taste and flavor will vary slightly with each jar depending on whether this honey was made by honey bees in spring or summer."

Another website I found called it a "Premier Honey" and said the intensity of the flavor is stronger than the color would indicate.  And I agree, it's looks are deceiving!

Deceiving...hows that for a segue?  (Had to look that spelling up myself!  Seg-way)  Onto a sinister matter that our blog-friend Judy mentioned here in comments yesterday.  Thank you, Judy!!

China is in the news again.  Honey tainted with lead from improper storage, antibiotics not approved for use or consumption in the US, and straight up adulterated-watered-down-fake mix of a look alike.  Here is a GREAT ARTICLE, I encourage you to read it!

This "Tainted Honey" is said to be nearly impossible to keep out of the US.  Other countries have banned it, we've imposed stiff tariffs, but it is being taken across other borders, repackaged and shipped here.  And the major honey packagers here...knew about it.

It is sitting on the grocery store shelves, and it's being used in processed foods.  You may never know you are eating it!  The US banned lead in paint back in 1978.  We have enough antibiotics in our poultry, beef, dairy etc. and now our honey.  And we wonder how to treat super-bugs?

What can you do?  Buy it from someone you know!  Seriously, do not support these criminals!  If you demand a better product...you will get it eventually.  But you will have to think smaller.  Small farms, small operations...that's where to look.  You may have to wait.  You may even pay a bit more.  I always look at honey prices when I am out and about.  Last check ~ ours is .14 cents more than what is sitting on the store shelves.

Now, would someone please figure out how to make my favorite cereal?  Honey Nut Cheerios. 

Oh, there is one more thing you could do...


  1. Great post! I just recently got a HUGE jar of honey from my BeeKeeper friend, and it is awesome. The color is different than it was earlier this year. Slightly darker, more intense and heavy. I love it. I love getting the honey at different times during the year to experience the different flavors of flowers the bees are "eating." It does crystallize rather quickly, but just pop it in some water in a low oven, and right back to ooey gooey goodness! I am slowly becoming a honey connoisseur!

  2. The blossom only blooms for ten days? Amazing! Those bees are busy!!

    Great informative post, my dear. We always buy local honey from people we know. And I think you're local enough to be considered local. It's all relative, right?

    Are you...um...taking orders? Because the fabulous lil' bear you sent me will need some pals. :)

  3. When we kept our bees in Illinois, we used to get a light honey that was "clover honey." I preferred that to a stronger flavored honey like "buckwheat honey." Up here, since we're lucky to get any honey at all(!), it's mostly from any wild flowers the bees can find. We have a definite lack of farms with plantings of crops for the bees to work.

    We all need to remember that buying "local" honey (or keeping bees) is the very best possible way to go. It's said that ingesting local honey will help many allergy sufferers, too! But it has to be local to your area . . . 'cause that's where your allergens come from!

    Thanks for all of your research and sharing it with us.

  4. Hey, I already told you how to make cheerios, cant help it if you dont want to make that mess ;)

    I was wondering is there a difference in your honey you harvested now and the honey you will harvest in the fall? Do they use two different food sources in that time and you get two different types of honey, or is it all the same, just different harvest times? I know nothing about honey.

  5. Thanks for such an informative post and equally great links. Some folks love tasting different wines, for me it is honey. I hope I can find some Basswood honey someday to taste. What a treat that would be.
    Love your blog!

  6. I mentioned to my son about "bee keeping I'm too busy great blog the taste of real honey is in the air---"reminder to self---find real honey" everyone please go to the sire APG mentioned it is so informative also states in this article that some people just use corn syrup and add honey flavoring a all out sacrilegious , all these new things coming out about our food supply is alarming!thank you APG

  7. Tiny, yup! Even our honey has a tad darker tint to it come fall.

    MamaTea, well yes. But honestly, for allergy purposes etc. the best thing you could do is fina a local beekeeper. You would benefit most from truly local honey. But I certainly don't want to see you buy anything off the store shelf. So you let me know!

    MamaPea, I want to try some Buckwheat honey. We have some planted, but not nearly enough for it to make a difference. And you are absolutely right that local is always best. And besides that, beekeepers need support!

    Jane, well you need to perfect that recipe! ;) Yes, you will notice a subtle difference between harvests. I don't think (my opinion) that it is all that noteable. But it is there! Amazing, if you ask me!

    Lori, well thank you ma'am! Now a honey tasting party...can you imagine all the sugar high? :oD

    Judy, tell your son beekeeping is relatively low maintenance! Thank you again for turning us onto the latest developments! Yes, it is alarming...

  8. I'm glad to read your response to Judy. They're low maintenance, because Belle has put bees on our list of future goals. We have a perfect spot for them in the greenbelt beyond our garden. Still, I have to admit, I'm worried about swarming. Could you send your husband to us when that happens?! He's very good.

  9. Love and totally agree with this post!!
    I grew up in the middle of an orange grove in central Florida!! It was heaven when the orange blossoms were in bloom!! We ALWAYS had orange blossom honey sitting on our table. Sometimes I'll get some OB Honey - but I try to use the honey from the area I live in to keep alergies away!! (We use to be military and never had problems living in different regions since we always ate "their" honey).
    Anyway--- we need to picket WalMart, Kmart, Target, and all the grocery stores that bring import foods from China. I know that we would be picketing EVERY store in the USA - but we have to make the public aware, in their face and we need to start with our food. If EVERYONE bought only American - everyone would have a job!! This would bring the big businesses back to our country. and I could go on and on . . . . . .

  10. Just call me Junior Mints. Sorry - I just ate some. I had read about China's honey. They have such few regulations and shaky safety measures that I do not eat or ingest anything from China. If I could get to the point where I didn't have to BUY anything from there, I'd be happy. My beekeeping starts back up next spring - I'm savin' for it!

  11. You know, the more I read about tainted foods, the more I want to lock myself up on my farm. But thanks for the information! I've always wanted bees, but there's always something else that gets the time. Hopefully "next year" is actually next year!

  12. This goes FAR beyond honey----people need to just put their foot down and stop buying ANY crap from China. Unfortunately, you can't convince many people. They love their walmart crap!

    Now for a funny----hubby and I were talking about the honey our bee-guy must be getting from our place. I have Salvia--tons of it--along the sidewalk and it smells JUST LIKE CAT SPRAY.....My god, can you imagine what that honey must taste like?????

  13. Just a small little warning. If anybody gets a small jar of honey from Sue for a Christmas present, proceed cautiously. Just sayin'.

    Oh. My. ;o}

  14. Jody, am I guessing correctly that you will be the official beekeeper? If so, two words:

    Bee Suit

    Hehehe! When you get close, feel free to get in touch with me and I will give you a round up of websites, books, where to order etc. And also start looking for your local Beekeepers Association! They are a plethora of info local to you! Keep me posted! That Belle, not only is she smart, she's a lucky gal!

    Suzan, yes you got that right! We would be making signs and basically standing on every street! If we all took one baby step and made one goal a month maybe we could make some progress. And the jobs, oh how we could benefit! Good for you for keeping local honey on the table!! I've never tried Orange Blossom honey. I will do so next time I find it...from a beekeeper that is. ;)

    Susan, even I love Junior Mints. Then again all love all things sweet! Hooray for your bees!!! Good thing you wont have to work that into your am/pm chore list tho. You'd never get out the door!

    Carolyn, I think we all have a "next year" list. Well again, find a local beekeeper and trade goat milk or soap or eggs! You might be surprised!

    Sue, I love a lady who doesn't mix her words! Well said! Hmmm, not sure about that honey and the salvia/cat flavor. I am sure it doesn't taste like that. Right???

    MamaPea, hehehee! Duly noted!

  15. I was actually wondering what your bees were eating, and Finn asked me too! He was so cute he said "I don't think it's clover, mom, I like it better!" Yours is light, not too heavy, very summery, we have been putting a bit in iced tea, too.

  16. Erin, well that Finn really is a honey connoisseur!! Pretty insightful of him and I am impressed! And yes, it is awesome in iced tea!!

  17. thanks for the good info on bees. I hope all is good with you and yours. I am hoping to do more blog comments now that home school is started. I get more time in front of a computer.

  18. Hey Diana, like the new look and as usual love all your blogs. We can almost start counting days, right?? Love you!

  19. Melissa, you've got your hands full! No worries here!

    Aunt Diane, well thank you! Tick Tock is right! Love you too!

  20. Thank you for this post, so interesting. It's fun too how different the different honeys can taste. Yours is definitely superior.