Did you know they are dying? Many people don’t realise just how critical to our ecosystem these little creatures are. I know if one stings you it can be a little annoying. Ok well maybe also annoying. But what will be even more annoying is living in a time when we have to do without about 70% of the worlds crops because there are no bees to pollinate them.
One of the biggest factors in the mass deaths of the honeybees are the use of insecticides in modern farming techniques.
One of the other issues facing bees, particularly in North America is the mass plantings of wheat and corn in particular areas. this leaves bees without much needed food for far too many kilometres. They just can’t travel far enough to get food and then they die. American farmers have unfortunately imported bees from other parts of the world compounding the problem by introducting species and strains of viruses that just shouldn’t be there.
Studies have shown that colonies with access to the best pollens (with more than 25 percent protein plus essential amino acids), which occur in diverse plant habitats once common across the landscape, are more robust and more resistant to disease than those in pollen-poor environments. (Source – National Geographic)
With this concern many community members have started keeping hives themselves and in Australia we are seeing a growing cottage industry in bee keeping.
I buy my honey from a local lady at Coledale Markets. Backyard honey. From the closest hive that she has honey available from to my house. Now put the whole, I quit sugar thing to one side for a minute and lets talk about the amazing medicinal qualities of honey.
Researchers from Penn State College of Medicine performed a trial, published in the Archives Of Pediatrics And Adolescent Medicine in 2007, where parents assessed the cough-suppressing qualities of a dose of buckwheat honey before bedtime. One group gave their children a dose of honey 30 minutes before bedtime, another group gave a dose of honey-flavoured cough suppressant Dextromethorphan and another gave no treatment at all. The honey treatment group reported “significant symptom improvements” compared to the others. Now there is no real scientific evidence to back up the use of cough medicines so why not try honey as an option this winter?
You can’t just grab any old supermarket honey though. Those commercial honey’s have been heat treated and don’t have any of that natural goodness left. Make sure you buy organic, raw non heat treated honey. If you can buy it from your local area, my bee lady says it helps all those transeasonal allergies and sniffles. It makes sense right? The bees are using the very pollens that are making your eyes water and your nose sneeze. Why not try it?
When cooking with honey…..if you are of the eat less sugar brigade, then you only need half as much honey as you would sugar in your cakes and cooking.
And well if you just love things that you can pretend are healthy……try my…..
Sticky Honey, Almond and Amaretto Cake
1 1/3 cups caster sugar
1 tspn baking powder
125g plain flour
1/3 cup pouring cream
Double Cream or Whipped cream to serve
1/1/4 cups flaked Almonds
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 tspns ground cinnamon
1/3 cup pouring cream
1/3 cup honey
Grated rind of 1 orange
Beat the caster sugar and eggs until mixture is thick but do not over beat.
Sift in combined sifted baking powder and flour and mix well.
Whisk together melted butter and cream, then add to the cake batter and mix until well combined.
Line a 28cm Springform tin with baking paper making sure to extend the paper well above the tin.
Bake at 180 degrees C for 45 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.
Remove from oven and pierce all over with your skewer.
To make the toppig, combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and stir over a medium heat until butter is melted, spoon over warm cake.
Place back in the oven and bake for another 15 minutes.
Allow the cake to cool until the topping is just set but this cake tastes best when it is served just warm.
Remove paper and serve with cream.