Bees and Honey

Wednesday evening’s Wellness of Chatham meeting was incredibly interesting, and I thank our hosts, Lisa Piper and Dave Clark of SMALL Cafe and B&B as well as the participants Chris Bouton, Marilyn Grubbs, Carl Theodore, Steve Sullivan, Barb Tesla, Donna Poe, Nita Dukes, Debbie Orol, Carly Erickson, Jenna Harvey, Rudy Mullis and Judy and Mike Harrelson.  Special thanks to our speaker, Judy Pick, beekeeper extraordinaire for her informative and eye-opening discussion.

I really could not even begin to cover the vast amount of information that Judy shared with us about the life and practices of bees as well as the ways in which the health of our environment here in NC directly affects our bee populations.

I will, however, share with you some information from the “Cooking With Honey” flyer that Judy gave me.

* When using honey in cooking, it’s best to use recipes that are already developed for the use of honey.

* Honey is about 1 1/2 times sweeter than sugar (due to the amount of fructose).

* When using honey in baked goods: – Add 1/2 tsp baking soda for each cup of honey.

– Reduce oven temp by 25 degrees to prevent over browning.

– Reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe by 1/4 cup for each

cup of honey used.

– Substitute honey for up to 1/2 the sugar in a recipe.

– For easy removal, measure honey in a cup you used for oil or


– Honey can be substituted in most yeast breads in a direct amount (ie. 1/2 cup sugar would be traded for 1/2 honey)

– Honey can be substituted in many recipes that use other liquid sweetners such as molasses or maple syrup.

* Finally, go to, the National Honey Board website, for more infomation about honey and recipes.

I would like to mention a few other bits of information that Judy shared with us.  First, she said that many honeys here in NC will have some Tulip Poplar in them, since this is the most abundant source of nectar and pollen in our area.   Also pesticides and herbicides are soluable in the wax within beehives.  Bees utilize propolis like glue.  It is a resinous mixture that honey bees collect from tree buds, sap flows, or other botanical sources and is used as a sealant for unwanted open spaces in the hive.  Nectar is what the bees use for making honey, pollen is a protein source for bees and water is used to dilute honey (to feed baby bees) and to keep the hive cool.

The book Covered in Honey: The Amazing Flavors of Varietal Honey by Mani Niall was donated to the Chatham County library and is available for check out.  In it, chef Niall reveals new culinary uses for honey and brings the story of nature’s oldest

sweetener to life, serving us food history and honey lore mixed with more than 100 delicious recipes to inspire and delight.

Finally, a recommendation by Judy and Mike Harrelson was made to see the documentary, Colony:The Endangered World of Bees.  The documentary looks into the mysterious phenomenon called ‘bee colony collapse disorder.’  Apparently, worth watching.  I know I’ll be checking it out!


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