The honeybee worker is a master herbalist: she travels to a wide variety of flowers to gather nectar, and with the help of her sisters converts this nectar into honey. This process involves special enzymes in her saliva, time, and the fanning of many worker bee wings to evaporate moisture. The final product contains the essence of millions of flowers, tiny pollen grains, and healthful enzymes. Raw honey that has not been heated above 95-100 degrees Fahrenheit keeps these elements most well preserved.
Local raw honey is a medicinal food, and is an excellent complement for many herbal preparations. Its sweetness is useful for helping disguise or improve the flavors of bitter, less palatable herbs - honey can be mixed with powdered herbs to form small pills for consuming bitter herbs without using alcohol. Honey can also be used as the base for herbal syrups, complementing and enhancing the flavor. My personal favorite preparation of honey and herbs is an oxymel, or a combination of raw honey and raw apple cider vinegar that has been steeped with different medicinal plants. Honey is an excellent addition to herbal teas, to sweeten and provide soothing and relaxing qualities to the brew. Honey can also serve as a gentle solvent for extracting the medicinal properties and delicate flavors of plants – fresh harvested rose petals infused into honey for several days or weeks, warmed gently, and strained makes a fabulous preparation called “Rose Miel”. This summer I plan to try making a Jasmine Flower Miel with the insanely fragrant star jasmine vines in my garden that begin flowering in late June.
Beyond being a natural and delicious sweetener, honey offers many natural benefits to the body. Honey is anti-microbial, so it can help fight viral and bacterial infections. Its thick, syrupy nature is soothing on inflamed tissues, making it a very useful application for sore throats and coughs. This effect occurs on honey’s journey down the esophagus and into the stomach, where it can relaxes and soothes the digestive system.
In Ayurvedic medicine, the traditional system of natural medicine from India, raw honey is considered to help deliver the healing properties of herbs deeper into the body, and to direct and guide the herbs to where they are intended to provide benefit. Ayurvedic texts are also very clear that honey should only be consumed raw.
Honey is also a valuable for healing skin problems externally. It’s antimicrobial and soothing properties are very useful in application to the skin, particularly to soothe burns and other types of skin wounds. Honey can be applied directly to the skin, and covered with a clean cloth or bandage as necessary.
Honey is an amazing gift from the bees that benefits our health and well being in many ways, and helps our lives be sweeter.
This fun energy-packed, nutrient-dense raw honey recipe includes local Bee Pollen, ginger, and cardamom.
Honey Nut AmazeBalls
1.5 cups tahini
1.5 cups nut butter
2 cups raw honey
8 oz. Dried, shredded coconut
1 package fair-trade chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried fruit (currants, blueberries, raisins)
½ cup dried dates, chopped into small pieces
½ cup candied ginger, chopped into small pieces
1 cup chopped nuts
1.5 Tablespoons ground cardamom
2 Tablespoons ground bee pollen
3 Tablespoons hemp or sesame seeds
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl until a dough forms. Make individual balls of approximately 1 tablespoon each. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
This recipe yields ~70 balls – great for a party! You can cut the recipe in half for a smaller quantity.
Raw honey should not be given to infants under 1 year of age, because it has not been pasteurized.
Honey Mama’s Aims to Sweeten Your Life—Sans Sugar, of Course
“I wanted to create a sublime experience of eating where the texture of the food is simple and pure — something that makes your body feel good after eating it.”
STORY BY CHAD WALSH PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF HONEY MAMA’S
Christy Goldsby says she’s never been much of a sweets person — not when she helped run Blue Gardenia, her family’s now-shuttered Mississippi Avenue bakery, and not today.
That’s not the stance you’d expect someone to take as she heads a growing company that produces cacao and honey nectar–sweetened snacks. But Christy’s Honey Mama’s Cacao-Nectar Bars aren’t your normal sweets, either. They’re vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, and, with the exception of the cacao that’s roasted into some of her 3-ounce bars, raw, as well.
They’re also made with ingredients that are direct-trade, non-GMO, and organic, all the way down to the honey Christy sources from her friend Matt Mickelberry, who harvests honey for her and others from his apiary in nearby Troutdale.
Read the full article here: http://edibleportland.com/honey-mamas-aims-to-sweeten-your-life-sans-sugar-of-course/
Redefining sustainability amidst a disappearing West
written by Tricia Louvar | photos by Eugene Pavlov
“I wouldn’t stand there,” said Matt Morris, apiarist, bee educator and co-owner of Mickelberry Gardens. “The bees will get stuck in your hair. Always stand to the side of a thriving hive.”
Point taken. I quickly switched positions, since I hadn’t yet put on a borrowed bee suit and helmet with veil. “Thriving” is euphemistic for 50,000 bees inside the industry standard Langstroth beehive. The bee activity on the outside looked like an aerial view of Iowa Hawkeye fans at a stadium’s exit.
Morris, 37, tended to three of the five beehives along a hedgerow in Troutdale. He wore a T-shirt that read Honey Lover. He, along with this wife, Madelyn, started Mickelberry Gardens, which manufactures local honey herbal remedies in a 2,500-square-foot former grocery space near a busy intersection in Gresham.
Morris waved a smoker around the beehive to disorient the bees before lifting the lid. “I think many of us come together knowing the honey bees are in trouble,” he said. “We want to be proactive and help. We want to be self-sustaining.”
Madelyn Morris is an herbalist and gardener. In 2011 she started an herbal honey company with her husband, who raises honeybees. Based in Portland, Oregon, they have built their business around local bee products and folk medicine-based herbal remedies.
Madelyn has developed their product line of honey tonics, salves, balms, and soaps, and attends to the myriad details of running a small business.
In the four years since they started with a single farmers market booth, they have grown to having five employees and customers all over Oregon and Washington.
Madelyn is thirty years old and has lived in Portland, Oregon for most of her life.