Monday, March 30, 2015

About our blog

Whether you are new to honey or keep hives on your property, we’re here to offer a variety of perspectives on the world of honey, and particularly Minnesota ‘local’ honey. Honey has been around for centuries, yet most people don’t give a second thought to that bottle of honey sitting on their grocery store shelf. We’re here to change that understanding.

Our blog will cover interesting, amazing, helpful and, at times, comical stories about honey, bees and hive-related things. We’ll share information, recipes, humor and stories that come from conversations with our customers. Look for updates weekly. We promise a fresh look at one of the oldest foods on earth that doesn’t spoil.

Why read our blog? Because we know honey. We know about bees and beekeeping. We’re passionate about what we do at the Minnesota Honey Company. We love talking to like-minded people, young and old, who appreciate the natural goodness of raw honey and hive-based products. We talk to people every day about honey, answering their questions and helping them explore the nuances of flavors that bees and beekeepers collect from the various plants and trees in nature. Product preferences and taste are very personal things. We offer options and let people decide what’s best for them.

This is a joyful business. It’s a sticky business too (pun intended!), but somebody has to do it. Welcome to our hive! You’re invited back any time to explore with us the wonderful world of honey and everything the bees have to offer.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Top 5 ways to use honey

Raw honey is a real mainstay sweetener in today’s kitchen for a variety of reasons. It’s delicious, nutritious, available from local sources and more accessible in the marketplace. Based on conversations with our retail customers, we’ve come up with these top five ways people use honey:

1 - Tea and coffee - tea and honey have long been endeared as the eternal ‘couple.’ Add coffee to the list! Many coffee drinkers are now asking for honey to sweeten their mugs.

2 - Breads - fresh bread, toast, english muffins, cornbread. Smooth it on directly, or pre-blend the honey and butter together. Honey butter is an excellent addition to special-occasion table settings (you might want to add a little cinnamon or vanilla flavoring!). Start with a 1:1 ratio of honey and softened butter; mix by hand or with a beater; adjust to taste.

3 - Cereal - Hot cereal, cold cereal, granola...why stop there for breakfast! Honey is a great addition to pancakes, waffles, yogurt, fruit and smoothies.

4 - Baking - families are finding ways to incorporate raw honey in food preparation. A recipe calling for sugar needs some tweaking to replace the sweetener with honey, but it’s worth the effort to experiment when you have a great recipe. Here are some general rules:
  • start with less honey than sugar (try ½ to ¾ of the amount of sugar called for), or replace only part of the sugar with honey
  • for each cup of honey used, reduce other liquids by about ¼ cup, and add about ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • reduce oven temperature by 25 degrees to prevent over-browning

5 - Toppings - it doesn’t take much to dress up ice cream, cheese-and-cracker appetizers, baked apples or fruit compote. In fact, skip frosting on your next cake, and drizzle a little honey on top, or dollop some nice whipped honey on it before serving. For a super easy dessert, top off a teaspoon with your favorite honey - a quick way to solve that sweet craving!!

What’s your favorite way to use honey?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

King Tut's honey?

If the story is true about how archaeologists found honey in King Tut’s tomb, it conjures up a humorous cartoon vignette about ‘Larry, the research intern,’ who was chosen to taste a sample and declare it was still ‘good.’ Good tasting or not spoiled? We assume the latter.

While we want to believe that honey virtually lasts forever, there is sufficient information to indicate that honey lasts for a very, very long time. Honey contains natural antimicrobial properties, which prevents spoilage (assuming no other bacteria enters the container). Over time, honey does its natural ‘aging’ thing - it crystallizes, or becomes more solid. This does not diminish the quality of the honey. Its texture changes, but its taste is virtually the same.

To return aged honey to it’s earlier liquid state, place the container in continuous hot water baths. Microwave heating is not recommended. As with raw honey, overheating can destroy the beneficial properties of this truly amazing gift of nature. Something that’s been around for centuries!