Reviving Golden Crystallized Honey

I often get the question on what to do with honey that has crystallized or gone hard.  Let me just say that crystallized honey has not gone bad or is there sugar added to it.  Most honey will harden and crystallize over time, but it doesn't have to be discarded. Ontario honey that is not pasteurized will naturally crystallize, and some people actually prefer it that way. But if that is not the way you like it, here is what to do.

[caption id="attachment_2190" align="alignleft" width="276"]Reviving Crystallized Honey Reviving Crystallized Blueberry Honey[/caption]

To bring honey back to its lovely golden translucent, liquid state, you can use either simmering water or a microwave.  Though I prefer the simmering water method, microwaving can be a quicker method when you need honey for your coffee or tea and time is of the essence.  Microwaving may destroy any natural nutrients in unpasteurized honey.  In either case, make sure the honey's container is heatproof or microwave-safe.  Just place the opened jar honey in a medium saucepan filled with about 1 inch of water and place the saucepan over low heat.  If you can, stir the honey frequently.  You should see the honey melt and return to its golden clear liquid.  If you are using the microwave method, heat the opened jar in the microwave in 10-second increments, stirring intermittently, until it returns to its golden liquid state.

 

Talking to customer at our shop or at farmers' markets, I have been told that there is honey that does not crystallize.  Tupelo honey is one, from sunny Florida.  Some honeys from the Philippines, the Middle East and India also do not crystallize.  Our Blueberry Honey also takes a longer time to crystallize and it has a delicious fruitiness that tastes fabulous drizzled on yogurt or fruit. Great as a alternative sweetener in your tea or coffee.

The Bee and Me Honey 5

The Only No Maintenance Beeswax Candle

Burning a beeswax candle may sound easy but there is more to it then just lighting a wick and watching it burn. As some of you have told us, that is not always the case.  A beeswax candle can burn unevenly, drip or tunnel. We have a candle that will solve all these problem.  Our customers buy this candle over and over again because it is so easy to burn.

The Bee and Me Obelisk Beeswax Pillar Candle

This unique shaped Obelisk Beeswax Candle was design by my friend Ian Fraser. He is master chandler and mold maker. We refer to him as our "candle guru" because he is so knowledgeable on making the perfect beeswax candle. It truly is a "no maintenance candle".  Just light and enjoy the warm glow that radiates from a 100% pure beeswax candle. The beeswax burns evenly without tunneling. The wax will burn to the bottom with no muss no fuss! I burned this obelisk beeswax candle in my home yesterday over a 25 hour period.  As you can see it burns evenly.  No dripping or tunneling.  Right down to the bottom.  I placed it on a small tray for safe burning.

They come in three different sizes and look elegant paired together. A large size 7" tall, a medium size 6" tall and a small size 5.5" tall. Obelisk Beeswax Candle Pillar - The Bee and Me Burn time is anywhere for 20 - 35 hours.

“B” is for Beeswax

Walk into our shop on the day we are making our wonderful beeswax candles and you will smell the essence of the beehive.
The sweet perfume emanating from the soft, golden yellow beeswax is memorable.

The-Bee-and-Me-Honeycomb

Beeswax is unique only to honeybees and they use it to store honey and raise their baby bees. The hive is comprised of thousands of hollow hexagonal cells made of beeswax.   Beeswax is produced only by bees in their prime between the young age of just 10 - 18 days old.
Only these young bees secrete white wax called a scale from glands on their abdomen. It takes 10 pounds of honey consumed by honeybees to form 1 pound of beeswax scales. Then by instinct, construction by mouth and feet commences. The beeswax honeycomb is a very intelligent design.  The hexagon shapes fit together in the honeycomb without leaving gaps and so do not waste any space. The Bee and Me Honey Honeycomb

The bees then go to work filling each cavity with sweet honey.  Once full, the bees seal the honey with a thin layer of wax known as the "capping's".  In a good year a beehive might yield up to 100 pounds of honey.  Our honeybees need more than 40 pounds of honey for themselves just to stay alive over  the winter.  We retrieve about 5 pounds of beeswax from each hive.  It is only the thin capping's layer that we  cherish to make clean burning candles. The capping's are removed from the comb by the beekeeper during the extraction of the honey.  The beekeeper recovers as much honey from the capping's as possible and then the wax is rendered and ready to make our aromatic beeswax candles.

The beehive if full of natural riches and we stock our shop with everything that comes from it.  Come visit our shop and you too will ask
"What is that wonderful smell".  If you can't come by our shop, visit our website where you can order any of our clean burning beeswax candles made from the 100% pure beeswax capping's.
The Bee and Me Beeswax Candles

Summer Sale on our Natural Beeswax Lip Balm

The Bee and Me Beeswax Lip BalmFor the months of July and August our all natural Beeswax Lip Balm will be on sale.  Regularly $4.49 on sale for $3.50 or 2 for $6.00.  They come in five fabulous flavors, natural, peppermint, bubble gum, tangerine and cherry.  You can find all our Beeswax Lip Balm available in our web shop, at the farmers' markets we attend and at our store.
The Bee and Me Beeswax Lip Balm keeps your lips moist and supple. If you want relief from cracked or chap lips give our lip balms a try and see for yourself.

Jentree Whole FoodsOur Georgetown Farmers' Market is booming with shoppers who love to buy top-quality  products directly from the person who produced them—and can often find products they won’t find anywhere else.  Jenny Allen from Jentree Whole Foods is one of those persons.  She has been a vendor at the market for four years and produces a line of artisan granola, dressing and cooking sauces and nut mix

All her products are created in small batches and she uses lots of organic ingredients. Granola  flavors like Cranberry Raisin and Honey and Orange Almond Cranberry can be used as a cereal or as a healthy snack. And Jenny uses our Golden Wildflower Honey in some of her delicious products.

Jenssaucesoptoized
Her Chipotle Honey Bold BBQ sauce is my favorite with chicken and the Raspberry Red Wine is fabulous in an avocado salad. Jenny always has samples so you can find just the one you like.  She posts a recipe on her Facebook page weekly.  Find the link on her web site www.jentreewholefoods.com.
You can also find her cooking classes there and purchase her cook books.
Jenny is joined at the market by her dad Denise and her lovely daughter Tegan.  Stop by her booth and say hello and try those fabulous sauces!

 

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Honeybees are Dying By the Millions

I was flooded this week with people concerned about the population of our honeybees.
It seems you can't turn on the television or read the newspaper without coming across a story of dying honey and bumblebees.  The Post ran a story last month that was alarming  on the insecticides known as Nionicotiniods.  Nionicotiniods is banned in Europe but still used in North America.  A second story in the Los Angeles Times from Oregon also reports the use of insecticides that were used and the results were fatal for bumble bees.  So what can we do to help restore the bee population and not harm these insects?

Here are 4 EASY WAYS TO HELP HONEYBEES AND BUMBLEBEES

1. PLANT A HONEYBEE POLLINATOR FRIENDLY GARDEN
Honeybees, like humans, love a diverse diet, so make the natural world more bee friendly.  Begin with your back garden.  Typically honeybees LOVE lavender, clover, borage, sunflowers, phacelia, poppy and many more. Add your favorite herbs, fruits and vegetables to your yard, the bees are sure to love them.
The Bee and Me Bee Pollinating Flower

2. DO NOT SPRAY PESTICIDES
Pesticides are linked directly to honeybee deaths. Find natural alternatives.  Many garden centres carry a variety of honeybee friendly pesticides.

3. DON'T FEAR A SWARM of HONEYBEES
More than likely if honeybees swarm, they have run out of room because they are growing and healthy. DO NOT call exterminators, instead call a local beekeeping association. They will come to your home or place of the swarm and remove them free of charge. Bees are extremely valuable pollinators and we do not want to kill them unnecessarily.
Bee Swarm

4. BECOME A BEEKEEPER
If this is something that interests you, check with a local beekeeping association to get started.  Workshops and courses may be offered for beginners.

It has been great to see lots of you at the farmers' markets we attend.  Fruits and vegetables are filling vendors booths.
Juicy Ontario cherries from Niagara came out last week as well as delicious green beans and new potatoes.
Come, enjoy the wonderful atmosphere at the Oakville Place Farmers' Market, Dundas Farmers Market, Sherway Farmers Market and Georgetown Farmers Market. 
Stop in at our booth and say hello and enjoy all the flavors of summer and eat well!!

Bitters' Sweets
It's time to tell you about another vendor at one of the market we attend.  I would like to tell you about a vendor at the Georgetown Farmers' Market who creates the most amazing jams and jellies. Her name is Rebecca and she is the owner of Bitters' Sweet Jams and Jellies.  Rebecca is a resident of Acton but grew up in Georgetown.  She is  a pastry chef by trade. Her mom tells me she has loved to cook since she was a small child.  She uses local products as much as possible to create the most untraditional jams and jellies.

Bitters' Sweets Jellies like red wine infused with Rosemary and three different kinds of strawberry jam, Strawberry Orange, Strawberry Balsamic and Strawberry Rhubarb.  And try her Cherry Jam, to die for on pancakes. What could taste more delightful then home made jam on your morning toast or bagel.  You can sample any of her jams or jellies at the market, so next time you are at the Georgetown Farmers' Market stop in to visit Rebecca at Bitters' Sweets. 

 

UPDATE: Bees Thrive at

 

What’s In Your Natural Raw Honey?

Beyond adding a touch of natural sweetness to what you eat, natural honey contains natural enzymes that act as a probiotic, soothing the stomach and aiding in digestion.  So what else will you find in natural honey?  Honey contains mainly fructose (about 38.3 percent) and glucose (about 31.0 percent).   An average honey is 17.1 percent water.  In addition, honey contains a range of vitamins, such as vitamin B6, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin and pantothenic acid.  Honey also contains essential minerals like calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc as well as several different amino acids are all found in natural honey. Research has show that unlike most other sweeteners, honey contains small amount of a wide array of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants. So drizzle  a spoonful of honey into your Greek yogurt and get a dose of nutrients which keep the immune system functioning robustly.

The Bee and Me Honey Shop
We want to thank everyone who came out to the grand opening/ open house held at our honey shop last week.
It was great to meet many of you.  Congratulations to Sarah M. from Fort Erie, Ontario, who won a fabulous gift basket full of our great products.  We had a lot of fun doing this. We hope to have an open house again during the Christmas holiday season.  Look for an announcement for date and time coming in the fall.

The Bee and Me Beeswax Candle Maple Leaf

It's Canada Day this weekend in Canada.  That means a long-weekend for most of us. Enjoy time with your family and friends.  Check out our Maple Leaf Beeswax Candle.

Honey Shop is Open

The Bee and Me Honey ShopWell, the time has finally arrive.  Construction on our new retail honey shop was finished last week.  I started moving products in this weekend!  We are all very excited to have our customers visit us and view all our wonderful products.  Along with all our honey products, we will also have a great selection of beeswax candles and natural skin care products.   I will also be adding products made right here in our local area.  Great products like 100% pure grape juice produced in Beamsville and Hearts and Bones Organic Dog Treats. I am also very excited to bring in a body balm from Vintage Tradition.  This body balm is the best cream I have seen for eczema and sensitive skin.  It came highly recommended by my Naturopathic Doctor, Laura Margaritas.  All ingredients are produced at or beyond organic standards.

There is a grand opening planned for Wednesday June 19th with a free gift for the first ten customers and refreshments.  We will also be offering some sale prices on our honey.  If you like to really save money when buying local honey, we will endeavour to have a "fill your own jar".  Just bring a clean glass jar and have it filled with our delicious Golden Wildflower Honey for $7.50 Kg.

The Bee and Me HoneyOur honey shop will be open from Tuesday to Saturday.  We are located in the small town of Dunnville, Ontario.  Our address is 8053 Hwy. 3.  If you are in the area stop on by, we would love to see you.

And a reminder I will be at the Dundas Farmers' Market this Thursday afternoon from 3 pm to 7 pm. The Dundas Market is located behind the Dundas Public Library.  I will be bringing all our honey and beeswax products and farm fresh eggs.  Hope to see our all our customers again this year.

Also starting up this week is Georgetown Farmers' Market on Saturday mornings from 8 am to 12:30 noon.  This is the 30th year anniversary for Georgetown Market so there will be celebrating on Saturday. Come join the fun.  There will be lots of sampling from the different vendors and other activities for the whole family.  Hope to see you there!

The Honey Controversy

the Bee and Me Honey

At a show I attended as a vendor this weekend, Fleece and Fiber Fest, I was asked the question "why do we NOT give infants under the age of 12 months honey?"  I get asked this question a lot. It seems that family physicians tell moms not to feed their infants honey but neglect to tell them why.
Health Canada and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (USA) recommends that raw honey not be given to children under the age of one (12 months)  Raw honey MAY contain botulism spores that are harmless to older children and adults but can cause fatal effects in the immature digestive system of an infant.
However, it is important to remember that people from around the world been giving their babies honey for centuries, safely.  The trouble MAY be the methods used today to raise bees and the pesticides that are sprayed abundantly on flowers, the bees food source.  So play it safe and do not give infants under the age of 12 months honey.

Also this weekend my family and I like to listen to Stuart McLean on CBC Radio on Sunday's on our way home from church.  For those of you who have never heard of Stuart, he is one of Canada's most beloved storytellers and a best selling author.  He travels across Canada and the US  with his show The Vinyl Café.  His stories are humorous with a serious side.  This weeks story was about bees.  Have a listen.  The story is called "Rosemary Honey" (May 25th) Enjoy!

And don't forget to get to you local farmers' market this weekend.  Asparagus is still available and strawberries are on the way! Support local growers.

Meet a Local Farmers’ Market Vendor

Through out the summer months I would like to introduce you to some of the fabulous vendors at the different farmers' market we attend.  Many of these vendors have started their own business from scratch, creating or growing products to bring to the market place.

The Bee and Me Blog -Hearts- and BonesThis week I would like to  featured  Sandra from Hearts and Bones Organic Dog Biscuits. Sandra is a vendor at the Sherway Farmers' Market in Etobicoke, Ontario.  This is the second year Hearts and Bones has been attending this market and the response from dogs and people has been excellent. Sandra is committed to making treats that you can trust from ingredients that are sourced locally as much as possible.  All of her ingredients are certified organic and are produced in North America; many are Canadian.  With flavours like Live, Peanut Butter, Pumpkin and Cheddar, your pet is sure to find one he will love. Hearts & Bones Organic Dog Biscuits is proudly made in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Bee and Me Blog - Hearts- and Bones And new for this year Sandra has added  natural laundry soap and cat nip packaged in adorable burlap bags stamped with whimsical images.  Bring your dog to Sherway Farmers' Market on Friday's from 8 am - 2 pm  and take home some delicious Hearts & Bones Organic Dog Biscuits for your pet.

What's in season at local Farmers' market this time of the year.  Local grown Ontario asparagus.  I picked up a few bundles and our family enjoyed grilled fresh asparagus at our family gathering this long weekend.  I have posted the recipe taken from Edible Toronto. I used our very own Golden Wildflower Honey but I think Blueberry Honey would  be just as delicious. I grilled our asparagus but it could easily be roasted in your oven. Give it a try!
Local Ontario asparagus is available at your local farmers' market til mid June.

GRILLED ASPARAGUS WITH HONEY LIME DRESSING
Makes 4 to 6 servings5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tsp the Bee and Me Golden Wildflower Honey

1 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint leaves

2 pounds Ontario asparagus, washed and trimmed ½ tsp kosher salt

Place a large cake-cooling rack over the grates of a gas grill. (This will prevent the asparagus spears from falling through the grates. I keep a rack specifically for this purpose.) Preheat the grill on high.

In a small bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, the lime juice and honey until thoroughly combined. Whisk in the mint; set aside. In a large shallow pan, toss the asparagus with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the salt to coat thoroughly.  Reduce the grill heat to medium-high. Gather together all of the asparagus spears in one bundle and place them onto the rack. Spread out the asparagus in a single layer. Cover the grill and cook until the asparagus is well grill-marked on the bottom, 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully turn each asparagus spear over and cook until the asparagus is tender and just slightly limp, 2 to 3 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the asparagus to a serving platter. Pour over the dressing and toss gently to coat the asparagus. Delicious served warm, at room temperature, or refrigerated. (Surprisingly, both the asparagus and the mint retain their green colour after several hours of refrigeration.)

To roast the asparagus: Place the oil-tossed asparagus in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Roast in a 450º F oven, tossing the asparagus once or twice, until the asparagus is tender and just slightly limp, about 10 minutes.
http://edibletoronto.com/spring-2012/grilled-asparagus-with-honey-lime-dressing.htm

 

The Buzz on Bees

bee-on-dandelionBees are the most important of all our pollinators.  Birds pollinate, bugs pollinate, but bees make the biggest contribution.  Approximately one-third of all human food is prepared from plants that depend on bees for pollination.  Bees come in different sizes and shapes and Canada is home to approximately 800 species.  When people think of bees, most think of the honey bee.  And if you have ever been stung by an honey bee you know how aggressively it will defend its nest.  The honey bee was introduced to Canada from Europe almost 400 years ago.  Treasured for its natural raw honey production, beeswax and other products it is used by many farmers right here in our area for crop pollination.  Apples and soft fruit in the Niagara Region and berries here in Haldimand County, from where we get our blueberry honey are all crops that depend on the humble honey bee for pollination.

You may have seen some of the more native bees such as the bumble bee or the mason bees buzzing around in your yard.  Going from flower to flower collecting pollen and a thin sweet liquid called nectar that is the honeybee's lifeline.  Unlike their cousins the honey bee which share labour and care taking of its young, the majority of these native bees prepares her own nest, provides her own food (pollen and nectar) for offspring and lays her own eggs.

The Bee and Me HoneyIn future post we will be talking about what you can do to draw bees to your yard with bee-friendly plants and drinking stations.

Bees and bees alone have freely offered food, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics to our human population for thousands of years.  Now is the time to appreciate what they have done and provide an environment to keep them healthy and prosperous.  We can begin by supporting organic farming which avoids the use of insecticides, and planting nectar-rich wildflowers giveing these wonderful creatures all the help they deserve.
And we can buy raw unprocessed honey, packed full of life-enhancing ingredients, at health-food stores, online and at farmers' markets.