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Honey week: Week 18 of BigBarns food and drink weeks

It is just starting to warm up enough for us to start seeing bees in the garden. Bee enthusiasts around Britain are starting to get their kit out ready for the season ahead.

It is so nice to see mankind taking the drop in honey bee numbers seriously because without these little guys life itself could cease to exist. Bees are the number one pollinators in the world which is why their existence is so important. The bees pollinate the trees by collecting their pollen and carrying to from plant to plant, the spread of pollen is how plants reproduce and in turn we get food such as apples. Many cities including London have become big pollinating cities by encouraging the urban hive. Urban hives are easy to maintain, loads of fun and at then end you get your sweet reward.

FOE bee flower

FOE bee flower

The different flavours of honey come from the local blossom in the area. For example people may put their hives near apple trees to get the rich and powerful flavour of the apple blossom or next to a field of clover for the sweet taste of clover honey. It’s a very simple cycle but one that could not survive without the wonderful world of bees.

Here are 11 top facts about bees:

1. There are three types of bees in the hive: Queen, Worker and Drone. Honey bees have five eyes, and four wings that are latched into pairs by hooks.

2. Queen bees will lay as many as 2000 eggs on a good day and an average of one every 45 seconds.

3. Honey is a Hebrew word meaning enchant. Initially it was a culinary sweeter, and now is recognized worldwide as a healing ingredient in medicinal treatment.

4. Honey is 80% sugars and 20% water. Honey stored in air tight containers never spoils. Sealed honey vats found in King Tut’s tomb still contained edible honey, despite over 2,000 years beneath the desert sands.

rapeseed oil, local and good for you

rapeseed oil, local and good for you

5. Honey was so in demand in the eleventh century that it was a stipulation for German peasants to offer their feudal lords payment in honey and beeswax.

6. Honey bees from a typical hive visit approximately 225,000 flowers per day. Bees must visit approximately 2 million flowers and fly over 55,000 miles to make 1 pound of honey.

7. Honey is the only food that includes all the substances necessary to sustain life, including enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and water. It’s also the only food that contains pinocembrin, an antioxidant associated with improved brain functioning.

8. Honey bees never sleep, and they communicate with each other by dancing and by using pheromones.

9. Beeswax production in most hives is only about 1.5% to 2.0% of the honey yield.

10. Two tablespoons of honey would fuel a honey bee flying once around the world.

11. Honey is the ONLY food source produced by an insect that humans eat.

No bees, no fruit?

No bees, no fruit?

Plus, it’s pretty damn delicious spread on toast, drizzled over yoghurt, stirred into warm roasted parsnips, or used as an alternative to sugar. The possibilities are quite simply endless, which is why we all love it so much.

This May we are running our Make1Change campaign where we are asking consumers to buy locally in a bid to bolster your local community. You could make your one change as simple as buying only local honey or learning to keep a hive.

Busy bees

Busy bees

If you are interested in keeping bees yourself contact https://www.bbka.org.uk/, or alternatively for fun, facts and trivia, head over to https://www.honeyassociation.com/
They say that eating locally-made honey can help alleviate hay fever symptoms, so they best possible honey is one made just down the road. The Bigbarn marketplace is a great place to find producers and order online or have a look on the local food map for a producer near you.

If you have a favourite honey recipe that you’d like to share, or any other recipe, and would like the chance to win a prize, please video your recipe and add it to KIS (Keep it Simple) Cookery. Please have a look at existing videos here and try and keep your video less than 2 minutes long.

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