Well hello there, Ogglers! Did you know that National Honey Week starts today? At least, I think National Honey Week starts today – or maybe it kicks off next week…
Who knows? And does it even really matter? The fact is, I’m thinking of honey – so the concept of Honey Week worked! As a matter of fact, I’m surprised it’s taken so long to feature the stuff. Because honey is lovely. Runny, sweet, sticky – the best thing to drip on to hot buttered crumpets. Mmm. That Winnie the Pooh knew his stuff.
Today, in celebration of this magical substance, I’ve decided to bee productive (geddit?!) and give you some honey-themed facts (many of which have come from The Honey Association website). Not since my all-encompassing post on Cheesecake has the Pud-Hog Blog been so informative. So try not to get too used to it…
- The earliest depictions of beekeeping have been found in Spanish cave paintings that date from around 7000 BCE (that’s Bee CE by the way. Obvs)
- Nectar is converted into honey through a combination of water evapouration in the hive and enzymes produced by the bees (who partially digest it then regurgitate the results. Who knew they were such fussy eaters? Bleurgh)
- In addition to eating it, the Ancient Egyptians used honey as an ingredient in embalming fluid. Ah. The sweet taste of mortality…
- In its raw state, honey is approximately 80% sugar, 18% water and 2% minerals, vitamins, protein and pollen. Be(e)ing sweeter than sugar, it should be used in smaller quantities than the white stuff – lest your teeth fall straight out of your gums
- All types of honey contain hydrogen peroxide (that’s right – the chemical you can bleach your hair with). This contributes to honey’s antibacterial properties, in case you were wondering
- Apparently, honey makes a good remedy for rats who have conjunctivitis. That’s all right then
- ‘Bee Bread‘ is not a loaf full of insects. In fact it is a substance made from pollen and fungi (amongst other things) that gives the hive its protein. You may also know it as Ambrosia
- Apparently you can send Queen Bees via Royal Mail. Makes a change from Christmas cards, I suppose…
- Don’t bother watching ‘The Secret Life of Bees‘. It’s crap
Wowzers. I hope that wasn’t too factual for you – I found it pretty intense, myself.
Anyway, still fancy celebrating National Honey Week after all that? If the answer’s ‘yes’, I’d brew up some honey, lemon and ginger tea (with boiling water, lemon zest and raw ginger slices – good for what ails you), bake some honey cookies (I have an excellent recipe, if you haven’t already tried it), or just buy a jar and drizzle a generous spoonful into your mouth.
In fact, should you happen to be in or around London at some point, there’s a stall in the Jubilee section of Borough Market which does the most amazing honey I have ever tasted: made with chestnut pollen, it’s so thick, dark and luxurious, you’d be forgiven for mistaking it for caramel. Except it’s nutty too! Mmmmmm.
I’d tell you who makes it if I could track them down on the web – which I can’t. Damn! Never mind. Just look out for a plain jar with ‘Chestnut’ stamped in black somewhere on it. You can’t go far wrong with that one.*
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll adjourn for the moment. All that nectar gathering has made me sleepy. To wake me up, just waft some hot pancakes and honey beneath my nose. I expect that’ll do the trick.
Over and Snout!
*The good news is that, since this blog was first posted, I managed to hunt this stall down. The honey is sold by a Greek company called Oliveology… Unfortunately, they haven’t made it for over a year. Gadzooks! Here’s hoping they wangle some more chestnuts soon…