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Bees….the mere mention of that word makes some people shudder. And for others like me, who are allergic to their stings…well, we are the ones running around, arms flailing when a bee gets anywhere near us.
But the world would be in sad shape if it weren't for these little flower-hopping insects. According to www.honey.com, about one-third of the human diet is derived from insect-pollinated plants, and honey bees are responsible for 80 percent of this pollination. Honey bees are responsible for pollinating a variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes and more.
Honey is "manufactured" in one of the world's most efficient factories, the beehive. Bees may travel as far as 55,000 miles and visit more than two million flowers to gather enough nectar to make just a pound of honey.
The color and flavor of honey differ depending on the bees' nectar source (the blossoms). In fact, there are more than 300 unique kinds of honey in the United States, originating from such diverse floral sources as clover, eucalyptus and orange blossom. In general, lighter colored honeys are mild in flavor; while darker honeys are usually more robust in flavor.
Honey is primarily composed of fructose, glucose and water. It also contains other sugars as well trace enzymes, minerals, vitamins and amino acids.
Note to Parents: Your Baby's Tummy is not ready for Honey!
DO NOT add honey to your baby's food, water or formula.
DO NOT dip your baby's pacifier in honey.
DO NOT give your baby honey as medicine.
Honey may contain bacterial spores that can cause infant botulism - a rare but serious disease that affects the nervous system of young babies (under one year of age). Botulism spores are common and may be found in dust, soil and uncooked foods. Adults and children over one year of age are routinely exposed to, but not normally affected by, botulism spores. So no honey till after the first birthday.
Here are some yummy recipes using Honey. Try using different flavored honeys and see which one you like best.
HONEY BEE BROWNIES
5 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 1/2 C. honey
2 T. vanilla extract
1 1/2 C. biscuit baking mix
2 3/4 C. pecans, chopped
Melt chocolate; cool slightly. Beat eggs; beat in chocolate, honey and vanilla extract. Thoroughly beat in biscuit mix. Stir in pecans. Pour into greased 20 x 12 x 2-inch baking pan; bake at 350°F until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool completely. Spread with frosting; let set up. Cut into 48 (2 x 2 1/2-inch) pieces.
1/2 C. boiling water
1 1/2 lb. confectioners' sugar
5 oz. unsweetened chocolate melted
1/4 C. honey
1/2 T. vanilla extract
1 to 2 tsp. boiling water
Gradually beat the 1/2 cup boiling water into confectioners' sugar. Beat in chocolate and honey, then vanilla extract. Thin frosting with 1 to 2 teaspoons of boiling water, if necessary.
GERMAN HONEY COOKIES
1 1/3 C. honey
2 1/4 C. sugar
2 C. ground walnuts
4 C. flour
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 C. candied fruit or dried fruit chopped
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper, set aside. Warm honey in saucepan, stir in sugar until melted. Let cool. Sift together flour and spices. Place honey mixture in mixing bowl and gradually add flour mixture and stir until well blended. Stir in fruits. Roll dough about 1/4-inch thick on a floured board, cut into squares and rectangles with a pastry wheel or sharp knife or drop cookie dough by teaspoonful. Bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Makes about 4 dozen. These cookies keep almost forever in a sealed container. They become softer and chewier over a period of time
1 C. milk
1/4 C. shortening
1/2 C. honey
1 pkg. yeast
1/4 C. lukewarm water
1 1/2 tsp. salt
4 C. flour, divided
Soften yeast in the lukewarm water. Scald milk; add shortening and honey and cool to lukewarm. Add softened years, salt and 2 cups of the flour. Add beaten egg and remainder of flour to form a soft dough. Knead lightly until smooth. Let rise twice, then form into rolls. Let rolls rise until light. Bake at 400ºF for about 20 minutes.