Honey Love and More

This post is linked to Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Real Food Wednesday, Food on Fridays, Foodie Friday, Monday Mania, and Friday Foodie Fix–Honey.

Sheryl has the Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free! roundup of French-themed foods posted over at her blog, Breaking Bread. I submitted my Creme Brulee Ice Cream. All the other entries really are sensational. Check them out here. 

Speaking of honey, we spun the honey out from the frames from our beehive this past weekend. (We have one beehive here at our house. We can’t go too crazy as we’re in a subdivision with our beehive on an open part of our property, not far from the street.) Mr. GFE’s sister and her husband volunteered their equipment and workshop for our use. The process:  remove frame from super (the boxes where the bees store the honey in the frames), scrape off wax caps, place in spinner/centrifuge, spin, drain honey through fine mesh stainless steel screen into food-grade plastic bucket, and repeat … until all the frames are empty of honey. After a few hours, the results were four gallons of golden, amazing, raw honey. In our case, 48 pounds worth from our one hive. We are pleased as punch, or should I say mead? In basic terms, mead is honey wine. Did you know that honey mead is the basis for the word honeymoon? Per Wikipedia, “In many parts of Europe it was traditional to supply a newly married couple with enough mead for a month, ensuring happiness and fertility. From this practice we get honeymoon or, as the French say, lune de miel [lit. "moon of honey"].”

Honey is a non-refined sugar. It’s allowed on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. One of my most popular recipes that uses honey is my Flourless Chocolate Banana Honey Walnut Cake—a rich, grain-free, dairy-free, and again, refined sugar-free treat. Most of my ice cream and sherbet recipes use honey, like Honey Cinnamon Grand Marnier Ice Cream (Grand Marnier is optional) and Honey Dewed Sherbet. It sweetens nicely and keeps the ice cream/sherbet soft and scoopable. More trivia for you … honey is the only food that does not spoil. If your honey should crystallize over time, just set the jar in a pan of hot water until liquefied again. Now if you really want to be impressed by the 4 gallons of honey, consider this … a honeybee produces only 1/8-th of a teaspoon in its lifetime. Such driven, phenomenal little honeybees. My late father-in-law was a grand beekeeper who taught everyone in the family how to keep bees. One year he harvested over a ton of honey. Yes, over 2,000 lbs. If you did the math from our harvest details above, you  figured out that a gallon of honey weighs 12 pounds.

You might be wondering what kind of honey ours is … maybe you have heard of or enjoy different flavors of honey—clover honey (like the sweet clover honey that is on my sidebar under Foodzie), tupelo honey, orange blossom honey, lavender honey, and the like. Most commercial beekeepers move their hives so that the bees work (i.e., gather nectar from) different types of flowers and then they extract the honey immediately, so they know that it is solely that particular varietal of honey. Our honey is actually blended honey, because we never move our hive and we extract the honey from all the frames at once, mixing it all together. Some years the resulting honey is light, some years it is dark … all dependent on the which flowers are in bloom and worked that year. In one frame, which is the individual, rectangular section in the hive where the bees store their honey (shown in photos below), you can often see both light and dark honey. A large portion of our honey is always made from the nectar of white clover and tulip poplar blooms (this tree is also known as yellow poplar or tulip tree). We also have another common tree here in Virginia  called the yellow locust. The yellow locust tree produces spectacular showy blooms (shown above) that are both beautiful and cloyingly sweet in fragrance. Bees love locust blossoms and turn the nectar into a light-colored delicious honey.

Honey even has antiseptic, antimicrobial properties and has been used in that manner throughout history, including wound care today. There are many nutritional health benefits of honey as well. Warning: Children under the age of one should not consume honey. You can read much more about honey here and here.

Interested in the magic of nature? Consider becoming  a beekeeper. Honeybees need all the help and love they can get. Besieged by two different kinds of mites for a few decades now and then affected by the still unexplained Colony Collapse Disorder, the more folks who raise bees the better. We need bees to pollinate all the vegetable plants and fruit trees to supply our real food.

Talking about honey and honeymoons reminds me of the big buzz of late in the gluten-free world … the fact that Chelsea Clinton’s wedding cake was gluten free (and vegan). Vanessa Maltin, author of Celiac Princess (plus Food and Lifestyle Editor of Delight magazine and more), reported that A Piece of Cake by Elana made Chelsea’s cake using Pamela’s Products. Read more here. UPDATE: Turns out the information shared by Vanessa Maltin was totally incorrect. A bakery by the name of La Tulipe Desserts in Westchester, NY, actually made Chelsea’s organic, gluten-free (but not vegan) wedding cake—vanilla with dark chocolate mousse. Read more here. I’m anxious to see photos, but what I’d really like is to know the nitty gritty details (oops, hopefully, the nitty, non-gritty details … none of us would want a gritty gluten-free cake). I would love to taste the cake. But, now Chelsea and Marc are on their honeymoon. I wonder if they saved a piece for me. I’m sure they froze that top layer per tradition. So maybe there’s still hope. I mean we gluten-free folks share and share alike, right?

Speaking of other frozen or chilled delights, this morning’s smoothie included some chilled coconut milk, water, raw cacao powder, cabbage, Romaine, pears, frozen banana, hemp seed, almond flour, and some of our freshly extracted raw honey. It tasted like a chocolate milkshake and was full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. But, you don’t have to have a shopping list of ingredients to make tasty, nutritious smoothies. Actually, I’ve found that folks can sometimes be intimidated by smoothies for that very reason. Well, that and the fact that they can’t wrap their head around drinking their veggies. I understand. It took a leap of faith for me the first time, too, and it still amazes me how much I love them, even the “greenest” ones. If you’re still not sold on smoothies (but would like to be), try starting out with a simple smoothie recipe. One that includes only bananas, water, and spinach, is very easy and delicious. It’s a great recipe for beginners. One of my support group members, Jennifer R., shared samples of this smoothie with our group and everyone liked it. This smoothie is a lovely pale green, and you don’t taste spinach … you just taste “good.” Or try this three-ingredient smoothie from Ali at The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen. Don’t make it too complicated. You can even ease into green smoothies, by making a fruit smoothie that you love and adding in a little spinach or other greens, like kale. Yes, kale …it’s great in smoothies. You can add a little more of the green stuff each time you make a fruit smoothie and soon you’ll be completely smitten with green smoothies!

If you are still not sure about smoothies, but want a refreshing summer drink, try Amy’s Cucumber Basil Herbal Water. Alta got to try it first hand at the lovely gluten-free brunch that Amy hosted. She described it as “the most amazing refreshing drink” she’s had to date. Read more about their brunch in this post by Alta with a recipe for her Basil Chicken Pesto Salad Puffs and this one by Amy, Rustic Lemon Blueberry Scones.

Peaches are in season! One of my favorite gfe readers, Mir (Woulda Coulda Shoulda  and more), used my Crustless Apple Pie recipe to make peach pie. All you need to do is substitute peaches for the apples. Mir used Pamela’s Baking Mix as her gluten-free flour mix. Her review: “Totally delish. I am afraid to make it again, lest I just fall face-down into the pie plate.” We all want to feel that way about our pies, don’t we? Just look at Mir’s photo!

Trying to incorporate yet more fruit into your diet with summer’s bounty? How about this stunning fruit pizza that Heather (Celiac Family) made? Heather swears it’s easy to make. She took hers to a family birthday party. That would be so much better than birthday cake in my opinion. Or, how about this gorgeous fruit salad that also incorporates salad greens over at Jenn’s (Jenn Cuisine).

Jenn also has an ongoing series called Gluten-Free Substitutions that I think you will find very helpful, whether you are new to the gluten-free diet or have been eating gluten free for some time. Her latest post is installment four: Gluten-Free Substitutions: All-Purpose Flour. Previous posts were her inaugural post for the series, Gluten-Free Substitutions: An Introduction; Gluten-Free Substitutions: When No Subs Are Needed; and Gluten-Free Substitutions: Easy One-Ingredient Substitutions.

Jenn and Lauren (Celiac Teen) had what most bloggers would call a dream meet-up. In Paris. Yes! Read about their meeting and see some of Jenn’s incroyable Paris photos here. Incidentally, you can find all of Jenn’s photos from France here on Flickr. Many have an ethereal quality, which I think makes them look like paintings. I can so imagine them hanging in my home.

Still have an abundance of zucchini? I can personally attest to the deliciousness of Kim’s (Cook IT Allergy Free) Zucchini Fritters. I believe if you added some Old Bay seasoning to them, they’d almost taste like crab cakes. They are outstanding. Even Mr. GFE agreed. I topped one with a fried egg and had it for breakfast. Scrumptious.

In a post earlier this month, a family member of Kim’s shared her story on the connection regarding the Type 1 diabetes and gluten. You can read it here. I share a lot of studies and medical research with my support group, but usually don’t share that type of information too frequently here at gfe. I’m more apt to share personal stories as Kim did. So I’m grateful to all my blogging friends who do pass along that data online. In a recent email to my support group members, I shared the recent recommendation from The Endocrine Society 92nd Annual Meeting for all folks with Type 1 diabetes to be screened for celiac annually. Yes, annually. Not once, not every 5 years, but yearly. The most compelling quote from the article to me was: “Some patients develop celiac disease as long as 10 years after their diabetes diagnosis, so ongoing screening is essential, and we recommend screening once a year. Patients in whom a diagnosis of celiac disease is confirmed should be placed on a gluten-free diet and referred to a gastroenterologist.” This statement came from Phyllis Speiser, MD (chief of the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology at North Shore–Long Island Jewish Health System in New Hyde Park, New York) in an interview with Medscape. That’s right. One doesn’t get tested for celiac one time and say, that’s it, “nope, don’t have it,” and go away thinking celiac is no longer a concern. Unless one eats gluten free, the risk is always there if one has celiac genes (see MyCeliacID post for more information on levels of risk for celiac). My friend, Alison (Sure Foods Living), did a great write-up on the recommendation here, also sharing her thoughts on this topic.

I’ll be back later tomorrow with my Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger post on my main page.  I’ve already been adopted by sweet Tia, of Glugle Gluten Free; I’m so excited! You can check out Tia’s post here to see which dish of mine that she made. Tia also shared her review of another wonderful recipe from another blogger who is a mutual favorite of ours. Finally, soon, there will be a gfe-unique giveaway on my Out and About page! The four winners of the e-book giveaway are already posted here.

Not just gf, but gfe!

Not just gf, but gfe!

Full Disclosure/Disclaimer: This post may contain one or more affiliate links. If you purchase through them, your cost will always be the same, but I will receive a small commission. Thanks for the support! Read the full disclaimer here.


57 Responses to “Honey Love and More”

  1. Jenn on August 3rd, 2010 4:00 am

    Shirley thank you for all of the wonderful compliments!!! The way I get that “ethereal” look is by combining different exposures of the same picture together and then playing a bit. It’s becoming one of my favorite ways to create an artsy look with my pictures :)

    Great post about the making of honey, fascinating! I have not had many different types of honey before, I should start branching out I think :)

    • Shirley on August 4th, 2010 10:40 am

      Hi Jenn–You’re welcome. :-) I love that look you have in your photos. Being artsy is fun and beautiful, in your case. Now that you’ve told me how you do it, I still really don’t have much of a clue (photography limited, you know?), but I’d love to explore the options some day.

      Sounds like you can get some very different types of honey in Europe per H.Peter’s comment. I recommend getting small jars to taste test. There are some honeys that I have tried in the past that are way too strong for me. Glad you liked the post. Honeybees are amazing creatures. Did you know that all the workers are girls? Hmmm, I should add that to my post … LOL


  2. Debi on August 3rd, 2010 8:09 am

    That’s awesome! I love raw honey and use it for my allergies. It’s also one of the things I use if I want to sweeten something (pure maple sugar and mashed fruits being the others). I would love to have a beehive, but we’re in an apartment. Our neighbors wouldn’t be happy with us. :)

    • Shirley on August 4th, 2010 10:44 am

      Hi Debi–Looks like you are new to gfe–welcome! :-) I’m so glad that you enjoyed the post and that you find raw honey helpful. Many folks swear by raw local honey to keep allergies at bay. I love sweetening with honey and the other natural sugars that you mentioned. Yeah, you’re not likely to get away with a beehive at an apartment. However, if you are seriously interested in learning about beekeeping, you could find a local group to join and attend meetings, and perhaps be a helper to someone who keeps bees. Beekeepers with many hives always have way too much to keep up with and love passing on their knowledge. Just a thought. ;-)


  3. H.Peter on August 3rd, 2010 8:34 am

    Honey. So many memories. Back in Europe there are plenty of beekeepers in my village area.

    Nowadays, I love deep amber colored pine honey from Turkey.

    • Shirley on August 4th, 2010 10:59 am

      H.Peter–I love that there are so many beekeepers in your home village. I’d love to see beekeeping be more commonplace in the United States. And, I’d really like to try that pine honey. I’d never heard of pine honey before you mentioned it, but it makes sense that there’s pine honey. There are areas of the U.S., like North Carolina, that have many pine trees, but I’ve never seen pine honey there. I need to talk to a NC beekeeper and see what gives. ;-)


  4. Heather @CeliacFamily on August 3rd, 2010 11:47 am

    What an informative post! Love all the honey pictures. And, thanks for the mention and kind words.

    • Shirley on August 4th, 2010 11:01 am

      Hi Heather–My pleasure on the mention … I’ve been pondering how to make that fruit pizza dairy free. ;-) Glad you enjoyed the post. I will add a few more photos to the process pictorial … hopefully, this evening.


  5. Lisa on August 3rd, 2010 1:05 pm

    Whoa, that pie looks awesome. I linked back to the recipe and I *can’t believe* how easy it is. It will be a fantastic surprise for our family dinner this week. Thank you!! And…I’m so glad there’s people like you out there taking care of the bees.

    • Lisa on August 4th, 2010 12:41 am

      An update… most of you will not have this problem, this is just an FYI. The apple/peach pie does not perform well at high altitude. Ha, ha, the surprise is on me! I used peaches, and Pamela’s baking mix, and reduced the sugar as is necessary for baking at 7,000ft. While baking it foamed up and billowed up about 4 inches, gushing over the side of the baking dish. Even after baking for longer than one hour, it was not close to cooked. Only a bit around the edges cooked, and the center had turned to liquid. We dug out the edges that were cooked, though, and they were delicious!! Oh well, I guess I needed to clean the oven anyway. I’m here to tell ya, trying to bake gluten free at high altitude is a true adventure. Your results may vary.

      • Shirley on August 4th, 2010 9:06 am

        Lisa–Oh, no … so sorry! I have no experience with high altitude baking. I’ll have to investigate to see how this recipe could be adapted. At least you salvaged some and it was tasty, but bummer on the oven mess. Ah, the old “results may vary” warning. :-( Sprinkle baking soda on the spilled stuff in the oven (and perhaps a sprinkle/spray of water as well) and leave it there overnight to make for “green” easy clean up.



        • Lisa on August 4th, 2010 4:04 pm

          Hey Shirley– We cleaned the oven with a little disassembly and old fashioned elbow grease. I had completely forgotten about the baking soda trick. Thanks for the reminder.
          I still have hope for that pie recipe. We’ve got a local chef who bakes with alternative grains (though not exclusively gluten free). He teaches an occasional GF baking class at a local cooking shop. With your permission, I’ll send him your recipe and ask whether he has any ideas for high altitude modifications. I know enough to cut the sugar, but that clearly isn’t enough tweaking for this recipe. Maybe it went volcano on us due to the extra sugar in the peaches. I’ll let you know if he comes up with something that works.

          • Shirley on August 4th, 2010 7:29 pm

            Hi Lisa–”Elbow grease” goes a long way, doesn’t it? Oh, please share my recipe and get some input from your local chef, as he’ll know the adjustments to make. Still I’d bake the pie with a cookie sheet under it next time, just in case. :-) Please let me know how it all turns out … fingers crossed, dear.


    • Shirley on August 4th, 2010 11:03 am

      Hi again Lisa–I replied to your other comment first (still bummed about that altitude messing with your peach pie!), but did want to say thanks for the kind words regarding our beekeeping. The family (and some extended family) have been beekeeping for many years now. :-)


  6. Tia on August 3rd, 2010 1:09 pm

    My husband loved this post. He really wants to keep bees. I read the whole first part of this to him, and he was fascinated. He loved the pictures, too. He hasn’t even read any of MY posts, yet.

    I love your round-ups. I always get a list of things to check out. When I was reading the part about Pamela’s Products used for Chelsea Clinton’s wedding cake, I was not surprised because I LOVE their Chocolate cake mix. Alison (Sure Foods Living) gave me one when I met her at the CDF Conference. She was working the Pamela’s Products booth. She also runs the GIG group meeting that I go to over here. It’s still funny to me how we end up with friends all over by doing this fancy, newfangled internet thing. Didn’t realize my life would change so much in 10 years.

    Thanks again for a great post. I can’t wait to read you post about Wendy.

    Tia :P

    • Shirley on August 4th, 2010 11:08 am

      Hi Tia–Oooh, maybe I’ve convinced some more folks to be beekeepers … now that would be awesome! I recommend that you find a local beekeeping group (or even someone you know who keeps bees) and start doing some research before you jump into it. Don’t be upset about him being more interested in my post … husbands can be that way. Of course, I can be the same way when hubby wants me to read or look at something of his. Just sayin’.

      Thanks so much on the roundups! It’s always interesting to see how each of us finds different things appealing and worthy of checking out. I really want to know more about Chelsea’s cake! Alison is a doll, isn’t she? So glad you met her and attend her meetings. Yes, the interwebs can bring us close together … in some ways, it defies logic, but in other ways, it’s not that much different from the bonds formed during old-fashioned pen pal relationships. ;-)

      Hope you enjoy my adoption post! I read your post on adopting me to my hubby. He loved it, as did I! Thanks again!


  7. Renee on August 3rd, 2010 2:39 pm

    Shirley -
    Great post on the bees! We started a hive this year (top bar) but unfortunately it didn’t ‘take’ – something happened, not sure what, so no honey for us this year. It was super cool having them for the 10 weeks that they lived. My husband’s teacher said it was a rough spring here for new bee hives. So we’ll try again next year! And we’ll probably get two new queens next year as my husband wants to build another hive this winter.

    And the mead! Oh yummy! We made some about 3 years ago with honey from a friend and gave it as wedding gifts that year. Everyone enjoyed hearing the story. And it is naturally gluten free – water, honey and yeast!

    Thanks for sharing!!

  8. Kim @ Cook It Allergy Free on August 3rd, 2010 2:50 pm

    Shirley, thanks so much for sharing my fritter recipe link! Yours look amazing in that picture! And I so appreciate you sharing Emily’s story as well! I think it is so important to bring awareness to the link between Celiac Disease and type 1 Diabetes. We have a huge connection in our family with 4 diagnosed Celiac’s and 3 diagnosed Type 1 Diabetes, all on my husband’s maternal side of the fam.
    I never knew that you and Mr. GFE were beekeepers! How amazing! We eat raw honey all of the time because of all of the health properties associated with it when it is in it’s natural state!
    Thanks for everything!

    • Shirley on August 4th, 2010 11:18 am

      Hi Kim–It was my pleasure to share the recipe. I’m not sure which I like best … the crunchiness on the outside or the yumminess in the middle. ;-) I guess it’s the combo that pleases. Mr. GFE wants me to make more tonight. :-) The diabetes/celiac connection is another one that gets little publicity. In a recent survey that U of Chicago Celiac Disease Center did, only a small percentage of endocrinologists tested for celiac when a patient had Type 1 diabetes … ever! So the guidance on testing annually is outstanding … I hope it gets out there.

      Thanks for the kudos on beekeeping! I’m mostly the bottler and baker/chef when it comes to honey. Mr. GFE does the daily vigilance and hard work. :-) Raw honey is the best for health and taste. That heated pasteurized stuff … fugeddaboutit! LOL, but seriously …


  9. Mir on August 3rd, 2010 3:18 pm

    And you say I’m a busy lady?? I’m going to need a month to get through all of these recipes, and I’m not even raising bees. ;)

    Thanks for the shout-out and thanks as always for all the great recipe ideas!

    • Shirley on August 4th, 2010 11:20 am

      Hi Mir–LOL … okay, we’re ALL busy! ;-) Just pick and choose what seems to be of interest and take a look when you get a moment. Don’t want to give you an assignment that will take a month. hehe



  10. Maggie on August 3rd, 2010 4:36 pm

    Okay Shirley, you must have to take a nap after writing these posts! Wow, it’s incredible. I was fascinated by the honey-process story. So interesting. I wish I could bring Callum to your house to show him all of this in action. Mmmmm, honey! Thanks for telling us all about that. One of my comfort foods is peanut butter and honey on toast. Always has been! Now I’m off to check out Kim’s fritters. My friend brought over a LOT of zucchini. I want to make zucchini pasta but I don’t have a spiral slicer. Fritters sound yummy too. Thanks!

    • Shirley on August 4th, 2010 11:23 am

      Hi Maggie-Nap? What’s that? ;-) Thank you so much, dear, for you kind words. Glad you find my super roundup posts helpful and that you enjoyed the honey info! :-) Peanut butter and honey sandwiches are the best IMHO. A 100x better than PB & J. Of course, I’m biased. ;-)

      I have a solution for you on zucchini pasta with no spiral slicer!!! Do you have a mandoline? Karen (Cook4Seasons) just posted this great recipe/method for making it using a mandoline … now I must get one! :-)


      • Maggie on August 4th, 2010 2:18 pm

        Thanks for the link Shirley. She makes it sound so easy! I do have a mandoline, I just need to dig it out!

        • Shirley on August 4th, 2010 7:21 pm

          Maggie–You’re very welcome! Karen is a firm believer in simple and easy using real food, but of course, very delicious. I’ll look forward to hearing how your recipe turns out! :-)


  11. Fatcat on August 3rd, 2010 7:58 pm

    I just wanted to let you know that I had that moment, the one where I was walking up the stairs, easily, quickly and realized that I didn’t HURT!. I’ve been gluten free for 8 months.

    • Shirley on August 3rd, 2010 10:01 pm

      Hi Fatcat–I have to reply to you first … you just made my heart soar with happiness! Sending you big, big congratulatory hugs! And, I’m betting they don’t hurt either. ;-) Thanks so much for stopping by to tell me your fabulous news!! :-)


  12. Kim on August 4th, 2010 3:18 pm

    Holey honey!! I had no idea about the process, so I really enjoyed reading this. Thank you for sharing that. Will you keep all of that or will you sell any of it?


    • Shirley on August 4th, 2010 7:23 pm

      Hi Kim– :-) Thanks so much for the kind words. Glad you enjoyed the info! As a rule we never sell our honey. MIL sells hers, but she generally gets a lot more from her numerous hives than we do. We give ours as gifts, bake/cook with it, and for the last several years it’s been the compensation I offer for my support group’s guest speakers. Nobody has complained yet. ;-)


  13. Linda on August 4th, 2010 11:53 pm

    Great pictures of the honey and equipment. My brother in law just started keeping bees this year. Maybe we’ll get some honey. It would be nice since my dad stopped making maple syrup this year.

    • Shirley on August 5th, 2010 7:13 pm

      Hi Linda–Thanks! How wonderful that your BIL is keeping bees! :-) You might just get some honey for a Christmas present … I know we’ll be giving some this year. ;-) That would make up for the loss of the maple syrup a bit … nature’s sweeteners are so nice.


  14. Cara on August 5th, 2010 9:24 pm

    Great post! perfect time for me to read it too, as I’m about to begin planning a “Ring in the Sweet New Year” honey and wine tasting during Rosh Hashanah for a young Jewish professionals group I’m involved in.

    And how ironic – I have a very good friend, another Vanessa, who also has celiac, and also had a baker (here in Boston) make her cake from Pamela’s products :) And even as someone who can eat gluten, I can attest that her chocolate cake is one of the best!

    • Shirley on August 5th, 2010 10:20 pm

      Hi Cara–So glad you found the post helpful and the timing is good! :-) Hope you have a wonderful event with your friends and a lovely Rosh Hashanah!

      Sadly, the info shared by Vanessa Maltin was totally erroneous. I’ve updated the post to reflect the real details. So, it was a different bakery and I don’t think Pamela’s was in the picture at all. :-( But, you’re right Pamela’s products are appreciated by many. ;-)


  15. Ann Kroeker on August 6th, 2010 10:06 am

    I have learned so much from this post, and I love honey more than ever! I’ve been trying to switch from sugar to honey in my morning tea for many reasons, and after about a month, I’ve finally adjusted to the taste.

    I bought a gallon of honey from someone at the farmer’s market, but I need to get at least another gallon or two to make it through winter. I use honey in several recipes now and am trying to phase out sugar wherever I can. To do this requires a lot of honey.

    A friend of mine is a beekeeper. My sister-in-law did for a while, but couldn’t keep up with the care and gave them to someone who keeps many hives.

    I’m grateful to all who do the work and care for the bees, those hardworking gifts to the human race.

    • Shirley on August 7th, 2010 1:47 pm

      Hi Ann–So glad you appreciated this post—thank you! “Hardworking gifts to the human race” … very well put! It definitely takes some time to adjust to honey flavor over sugar. One way we use honey is on our pancakes and waffles. It’s rare for me to use maple syrup. I don’t use honey exclusively though. For some recipes, you do better with a granulated type sweetener. That’s why I’ve been using coconut/palm sugar recently, too. Very nutritional, low glycemic, and has amazing taste. Having our own honey on hand, I really have no idea how much honey I use in a year. I’m very fortunate to not have to worry about it. Hopefully, you can purchase some more honey to keep you going. :-)

      Glad your SIL gave beekeeping a try and was able to pass along her bees to another beekeeper. Beekeeping can be a lot of maintenance. Not so much of an issue, if you can do a little every week, but if one gets behind, it’s hard. I’m fortunate that Mr. GFE does all that. ;-)

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, Ann!


  16. Alta on August 6th, 2010 11:53 am

    I am so in awe with your beehive! I was thinking about you while I watched an episode of Good eats the other day, where Alton Brown was walking us through the whole beehive to honey routine. When you say you borrow the centrifuge and such, do you bring it to your house? I would love to start a beehive – I am worried I’d be afraid of the bees though, and they’d know and sting me! LOL!
    Thanks for the shout-out on my chicken salad puffs!

    • Shirley on August 7th, 2010 2:00 pm

      Hi Alta–Thank you! :-) Very cool on Alton Brown walking folks through the hive to honey routine. I’ll have to see if I can find the episode online.

      We just went to my SIL and BIL’s workshop to extract our honey, but one could bring the equipment home. Their centrifuge is very large and heavy, but some are lighter in materials and, therefore, weight. My FIL and MIL always did the spinning in their kitchen, so they moved the equipment in and out each year. Doing the spinning in SIL and BIL’s workshop meant we could just leave and they could hose down their floor and equipment afterwards. :-) Some beekeeping groups have a set of equipment that is available for loan to their members.

      When you do anything that will anger the bees, you will be wearing a bee suit, boots, veil, etc. There is no doubt that you do get stung from time to time though when beekeeping. We have special first aid treatment for bee stings that works like a charm. I recommend that you apprentice with someone first if you are seriously interested. That will let you know if it’s something you really want to do. Join a local bee group or attend a meeting, too.

      Those chicken salad puffs are still on my mind! I’d love to make them for our meeting on Monday, but not sure if I have the time. I’m not saying they take a long time … I just have a full agenda already. ;-)


      • Renee on August 8th, 2010 11:37 pm

        Hi Shirley –
        Just read your comment to Alta above about having emergency bee sting medicine. Can you tell me what it is? My husband has been taking a bee keeping class, we tried to start a hive this year as I mentioned above, and on Saturday he got stung twice, in class, for the first time in 5 months. They are still hurting him and quite swollen still. If they told him what to do in the class for stings, he has not done it and has not mentioned it to me. Instead he just wants to whine about it, I think! :-) So I am curious what you do. It has been years since I have been stung.

        • Shirley on August 9th, 2010 7:08 am

          Renee–Here’s a link that shows various brands of the product we use. These are crushable swab tubes, that provide immediate relief, but you keep swabbing every few minutes until you’ve used up all the green liquid inside. As you can see they are usually called sting relief, sting away, sting kill, etc. You can order them from first aid sites and beekeeping sites. We used to just pick some up at our local pharmacy, but I haven’t seen any there lately. We keep them in our vehicles and in the house. Always make sure you remove stinger first, if it is still there (with a tissue or tweezers, pull away and discard immediately–very potent obviously) and then you crush the tube between your fingers and it will then supply liquid to the swab, and swab. The crushing part sounds strange, but once you use one, you’ll understand. Kudos to hubby and sorry for his stings! I’m really surprised they didn’t offer any help in the class. He might be doing everyone a big favor, by sharing this info.

          Hope that helps!


  17. Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist on August 7th, 2010 11:31 am

    Incredibly informative post! I am going to show all these pictures to my kids so they know where their raw honey comes from!

    Would love it if you would consider sharing this blog or another post at Monday Mania. Hope to see you there!

    • Shirley on August 7th, 2010 4:46 pm

      Hi Sarah–Thanks so much! I hope your children will gain a better appreciation for bees and their honey from my photos. Hopefully, they’ll get more education as time goes one via beekeeping demos, etc. We need lots more bee and honey love and education. :-)

      I’m glad you reminded me about your carnival. I finally took a look and there are some great posts there, even some other gluten-free ones from bloggers I’m not familiar with. So, I will link up soon. Just have to get in the habit. Very impressive turnout for the start of your Monday Mania, too. ;-)



  18. Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist on August 10th, 2010 5:21 pm

    Shirley, thanks so much for sharing this informative post at Monday Mania! Folks really need to be more aware of our little bee friends as we would be so lost without them agriculturally speaking! Hope to see you again at future editions!

    • Shirley on August 10th, 2010 11:23 pm

      Hi Sarah–It was my pleasure! now I just have to remember every Monday to join in … if I have something worthy to share, of course. ;-)

      Let’s spread the bee and honey love! See you over at The Healthy Home Economist again soon. :-)


  19. Vicky on April 20th, 2012 3:40 pm

    I loved reading this post! I haven’t seen the process of making honey before and this was so interesting! My husband always insisted on buying honey on the comb because he lived in the country while he was growing up and this is how he ate his honey!

    I never liked honey, it was never part of my life growing up but for the past seven years I have been taking Manuka honey straight from the spoon twice a day and I haven’t suffered a cold throughout this time. I totally believe in it’s magical healing properties!

    Oh and your smoothie sounds SO nutritious! Yum! We make smoothies but they tend to be just fruit, I must experiment more!

    • Shirley on April 29th, 2012 10:04 pm

      Hi Vicky–Many, but belated, thanks for your nice feedback on this post! Beekeeping is a labor of love in our family. :-) I agree that it’s a fascinating hobby. I’ve read your post on Manuka honey and have read about its healing properties elsewhere as well. I just found out that I can buy it locally, too, so I’ll be trying it. I already shared the info with my support group and some of my members have started using it regularly as a result.

      I’m so surprised that you only use fruit in your smoothies. I absolutely love lots of “green stuff” in mine. ;-) It’s nice to start out slowly with it though.


  20. Vicky on April 29th, 2012 10:36 pm

    We’re not great smoothie drinkers, just now and again! I’ve been enjoying looking at a lot of smoothie recipes recently and am now thinking about experimenting myself!

    Thank you for spreading the word about Manuka honey, there’s now a couple of us where I work taking it too! Do you find that you avoid season allergies because you eat your own honey?

    • Shirley on April 30th, 2012 8:55 pm

      Vicky–Oh, boy are you in for some tasty and nutritious fun when experimenting with smoothies!

      Many report that local raw honey protects them from seasonal allergies and I’m sure I see some of that, but I think eliminating gluten and most dairy is a much bigger factor. As I’ve shared before here, Mr. GFE used to have seasonal allergies and yearly sinus infections. While he’s not gluten free, the fact that I cook gluten free means he eats far less gluten. Therefore, he has not had a sinus infection in almost 9 years and no longer has colds, flu, etc. either. Any of those illnesses is rare for me, too, but I’m happy to add the “insurance” of the Manuka honey, too. ;-)


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