September is back-to-school month for many kids, but it’s something even more important, at least if you’re a bee or beekeeper. It’s National Honey Month — so designated by the National Honey Board back in 1989 as a way to support the beekeeping industry and to remind people of honey’s role as a sweetener and a source of nutrition. National Honey Month is also a nod to all the beekeepers who typically spend August and September harvesting honey from their hives, making sure to leave enough for the bees to eat during the winter.
Below, in honor of the occasion, are two favorite — and simple — honey-bearing recipes.
Melt 1/2 stick butter in shallow baking pan. Stir in 1/2 cup honey, 1/4 cup prepared mustard, 1 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. curry powder. Roll six chicken breasts in the mixture to coat both sides. Cook in same pan at 375 degrees for approximately 50 minutes (depending on the thickness of the chicken). Baste periodically.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In large bowl, mix 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 3 tsps. baking power and 1/2 tsp. salt. In a small bowl, mix 1 egg, 1 cup 2% milk, 1/4 cup melted butter and 1/4 cup honey. Stir into dry ingredients until moistened. Add blueberries (try 1/2 cup), and fold in gently. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups 3/4 full and bake 15 to 18 minutes. Cool 5 to 10 minutes. Serve warm (with strawberry jam or more honey, if desired).
An 11-year-old girl from Austin, Texas, will soon be seeing her product – Me & the Bees Lemonade – on the shelves of Whole Foods.
According to an article in the Huffington Post by blogger Mary Snapp, Mikaila Ulmer has adapted a 1940s recipe for lemonade by adding in local Texas honey. Her concoction won an investment from the ABC series “Shark Tank” plus the Whole Foods distribution deal.
Better yet, from beekeepers’ point of view, she is investing some of her profits to, among other groups, the Texas Beekeepers Association, according to Snapp, who is corporate vice president of Microsoft Philanthropies.
The seventh grader is also trying to spread the word about the dangers honeybees face in today’s environment, and what young people can do to help protect them. Snapp says Ulmer is learning how to code “so she can build a mobile app as an educational resource for bee protection.”
Meanwhile, Microsoft is partnering with WE Day in a broadcast celebrating Ulmer and others that will air August 28, 2016, on ABC. The event is organized by WE Charity, a group that, according to its website, “motivates youth to take action on local and global issues.”
Twenty-first century beekeepers know that using a bellows to gently blow smoke on a beehive makes it easier to harvest the honey without getting stung by hundreds of furious insects. Smoke is thought to sedate the bees while the honey heist takes place.
It’s not exactly a new strategy. An article from The New York Times on August 9 analyzed the impact of early humans’ ability to build fires. On the plus side, for example, fire allowed people to keep warm, socialize together around the hearth, and eat cooked rather than raw food. On the negative side, some scientists contend that fires allowed certain diseases, including tuberculosis, to spread more easily among people huddled in close contact around their fireplaces. The illustration that accompanied the article showed a cave painting thought to have been done 15,000 years ago in Spain which depicts a person holding a lit torch in one hand to smoke a beehive. In the other hand is a sac presumably used to hold the purloined honey.
Below is a photo of the cave painting, although not the one used by the Times.