“Bee silly, Bee honest & Bee kind”
Honey really is a beautiful thing. But it’s the clever little creatures behind that tasty jar of honey that really are marvellous. Honey bees are such important little insects, and with our recent move to the beautiful Ganico (an organic pomegranate farm just outside Joburg), we’ve learnt to appreciate them even more. Ganico has 8 beehives on the farm, and the bees collect pollen from the beautiful pomegranate blossoms and other wild flowers. Once a year, they harvest the honey, and you are lucky enough to find a jar of this beautiful pomegranate blossom honey in your boxes this week! Which we’re super excited about, and we hope you are too! And so we thought it only fair to share some facts about honey and the beautiful bees that make it. Here it goes:
1. Honey bees feed us
Honey bees do the job of transferring pollen between male and female plants, allowing them to grow seeds and fruit. Not all plants need this, but many of them do! Bees are important pollinators for around 70% of all the fruit, vegetables, seeds and nuts that we eat globally. In South Africa, approximately 80% of the fruits and veggies we eat on a daily basis are pollinated by bees. In other words, the humble buzzing honey bee is really important to our food security.
2. Honey flavours are wonderfully unique
The flavour of the honey you eat is dependent on many things; surrounding vegetation, temperature and rainfall, and can also be influenced by human activity, like farming. Each harvest of honey will have its own unique inputs, and so the flavours can be quite varied and unique! And even more interesting, is that uniquely flavoured honey can be eaten in many different ways. Kim Morgado, one of our main honey suppliers, also affectionately known as The Honey Bear, had this to say:
“South Africa has been blessed with a most extraordinary diversity of climates and floral species. With such variety comes a wide range of superb, unique and rare honeys. Some honeys, namely Boekenhout, should be indulged by the spoonful like a most delectable crème brulee. Avocado or Sweet Thorn is a must for yogurt. Buffalo Thorn is great for porridge and together with Creamed Aloe, makes for mouth watering toast. For herbal tea definitely Black Thorn, whilst Orange Blossom is a blessing with hot scones and Bluegum is a good jack-of-all-trades, and does an excellent job for cooking and baking.”
3. Always choose raw honey
Raw honey is never heated above 38 degrees celsius, which is the temperature that the bees maintain in their hive. With commercial honey, it is often heated to a much higher temperature, and also filtered. This is done to prevent crystallisation, which is actually very normal (and doesn’t indicate that the honey is old). When honey is heated to such high temperatures and filtered in this way, it loses most of its vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and natural enzymes. This is why you should always be on the look-out for raw honey!
4. Honey bees like to dance!
And lastly, did you know, when a bee finds a good source of nectar, they do a little dance! Seriously! Known as the “waggle dance”, bees communicate the location of new nectar sources to their fellow workers, by shaking their bottoms! We’re known to do a little jig when we come across some beautiful produce, so we can relate. We thought it best to share a little David Attenborough at this point, to give the ‘waggle dance’ the justice it deserves.
We’ve loved learning about the beautiful bees that we share our new home with. And we hope you’ll love the beautiful jar of raw pomegranate blossom honey, that’s come straight from the farm to your boxes! As you spread it on a warm slice of toast, drizzle it on your yoghurt, or glaze your gammon with it (what a treat!), think of all the little buzzing bees that made it.