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June 3

June 3

Read about how Frost Beer is made in Food For Thought!


Frost Beer Works will be at the Co-op June 8th (3-5pm)


Garin and Christina Frost of Frost Beer Works

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Honey PDF Print E-mail

by Chris Ellis, Staff Nutritionist
August 2015
I always marvel at the honey bees when I see them buzzing around in search of nectar from the flowers near my house. They are amazing creatures that create a delicious substance—honey. Honey is a delicious sweetener. I enjoy a little in my hot tea in the morning and use it on toast or in baking desserts or breads. It's also great at the first sign of a sore throat, soothing as it gently coats the throat when swallowed.

The miraculous source of honey is primarily the honey bee. The honey bee works very hard to make its incredible product. In fact it has been reported that a bee travels approximately three times around the world searching for food that they will then convert into about 17 ounces of honey. Honey is a delicious sweetener. Honey bees as well as other varieties of bees are hard-working insects that are struggling to survive in this world. Bees live in large colonies in a hive and they fly around collecting nectar from an assortment of plants that they mix with saliva in their mouths. The bees then use their special, often referred to as "honey stomachs" to ingest and regurgitate the honey until it is partially digested and is eventually transformed into delicious honey. The bees store the honey in the cells and walls of the hive until extraction takes place by humans who manage the hives.     
Honey has existed for thousands of years and humans have always been attracted to it, since other than fruit it was the primary sweetener available. Honey has other health benefits than just being sweet! It has been a crucial part of the pharmacopeia of countries all over the world and people are often unaware of all its medicinal benefits. Honey has great infection control qualities since it draws every bit of moisture out of germs and germs can't survive without water so is a great anti-microbial agent. It also has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Honey consumption is advocated by many herbalists and holistic practitioners to treat seasonal allergies to pollen but this should be done after a consultation with a practitioner or herbalist. I recall learning about some of the medicinal benefits from Adele Dawson, an herbalist friend of my mother's whom she knew from northern Vermont, and the main thing she emphasized—and that I retained—is that to take advantage of the many medicinal properties of honey, you must acquire it right from the hive, uncooked and raw. Fortunately we have access to raw honey here at the Co-op and there are many apiaries around the state that sell it too.
Honey contains tiny amounts of protein and fiber but it also provides small amounts of vitamins, specifically B vitamins, vitamin C, as well as some minerals. It is a rich carbohydrate source and is very sweet, twice as sweet as sugar. It contains primarily 38 percent fructose and 31 percent glucose, along with the other sugars maltose and sucrose. Due to its high fructose content it is absorbed slower than sugar so for many it does not cause the increase in blood sugar that sugar usually does. However since it has lots of calories and only small amounts of nutrients, it should be used in moderation, although it is one of the best choices of sweeteners to use. Remember honey is not to be given to infants in their first year due to the botulism spores it contains that can be fatal to that age group with their immature intestinal tract.
Take advantage of this great local sweetener we have in Vermont. The Co-op has wildflower and clover varieties available in bulk too.  Enjoy the recipe and easy honey-use ideas below:

  • Add small amounts to smoothies
  • Drizzle on toast, with or without butter or nut butter
  • Add to your favorite hot beverage
  • Use with apple cider vinegar and hot water before bedtime, an old Vermont folk remedy
  • Add to plain yogurt or your cereal for breakfast or as a snack