Why is honey so special?

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At The Honey Cottage we are frequently asked aren’t all honeys the same? Or why is this so expensive?

Honey is like a fine wine; the more rare and special a honey it is the higher the price will be. Many people use honey for its medicinal qualities. They also use it because it is a sweetener that works with the body. Let us be clear that not all honey is the same. The quality of the honey you purchase is dependent on who the beekeeper is and the rarity of the honey.

Tupelo honey is no exception to this rule. There are several types of tupelo trees, but only three locations for the tupelo tree known as Nyssa Ogeche also known as the white tupelo tree. These trees thrive in the wet swampy lands of the Ogeechee, Altamaha, and Suwannee Rivers. These trees only bloom 2-3 weeks out of the year and the bloom depends on weather. If there is not a sufficient winter so that they have a good rest they won’t bloom very well. If there is not enough sunlight they also struggle to have a good honey season.

What makes white tupelo honey even more special is the way the beekeepers have to get honey. There are not a lot of flat lands in the areas where the trees grow and the possibility of flooding is high in these areas. So the beekeepers have to keep their hives on flat barges; they have to use boats to access these hives to extract honey. Beekeepers also have to switch out frames, this is what holds the honey in the beehive, and so what they extract has as much tupelo nectar as possible. Tupelo is also unique because it has a higher amount of fructose then sucrose; this honey resists crystallization!!

When you come into The Honey Cottage remember that you are able to sample any of the bottled honeys. This will give you a better idea of what different honeys will taste like and you will leave happy knowing you have a honey that you will enjoy!

From our beehive to yours,

Bee Queen

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Raw Honey Cookies

 

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Are there lessons that you have learned that other people do not understand?

In the past several years I have learned that I cannot eat a lot of sugar without consequences. I know many people say there is no connection between hyperactivity and sugar, but I know how I act and feel when I have it and when I do not. I have noticed more and more that in “organic” and “natural” products there is no junk, BUT there is a never ending amount of sugar in the products. I know that this is because in order to keep people buying the product it has to taste good and keep people wanting more. So I have had to find alternatives for the things I like without having a massive amount of things that I don’t want. I have also learned that I should not spend all day in the kitchen making it too. So here is one of my favorite recipes that is great for snacking and on the go people!

Ingredients:

16 dates

2 Tbsp. of honey

1 cup of walnuts

½ cup cashews

½ tsp. cinnamon

1 Tbsp. hemp seeds

2 Tbsp. goji berries

2 Tbsp. of shredded coconut

 

Directions:

Take the dates and honey and puree them together into a paste. Crush up the walnuts and the cashews and add them to the paste, pulse the mixture three to four times just to give a good mix. Pour the mixture into a bowl and add the cinnamon, hemp seeds, and goji berries. Mix together thoroughly and add the coconut, give a light mix. Put parchment paper on a plate or baking sheet and roll the mixture into balls; place each ball on the sheet and mash down. This recipe makes 7 medium size cookies, or 14 small ones. Cover the cookies and let stand over night; place in an air tight container and enjoy for a week!

Tips:

–Keep the mixture in ball shapes and roll it in coconut

-Add a ¼ cup of chocolate chips or cocoa nibs

-Use pecans instead of walnuts

-Use pumpkin seeds instead of walnuts and add pumpkin spice instead of cinnamon

From our beehive to yours,

Bee Queen

Sweet and Sour Honey Sauce

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Have you ever been told you can no longer have something because you are allergic to it?

This has happened to me! I have had bad issues with MSG and soy for over 15 years now. It has been hard to revamp my diet, but I have found ways to make my diet work for me! Chinese is one of those types of foods that have been super hard to find a substitute, but I DID IT! This is one of my all time favorite recipes; honey style of course. No soy and no MSG and just the way I like it. I have found that a dark wild flower honey offers a better flavor and makes it a little sweeter. I also really like that I can use this with meat or I can do a vegetarian style dish.

Sweet and Sour Honey Sauce

1 cup white vinegar

1 cup of honey

½ cup of ketchup

2 cup water

¼ cup cornstarch

Combine the vinegar, honey, and ketchup in a medium size sauce pan; turn the stove on medium heat. Take the water and cornstarch and mix together thoroughly and add this to the sauce. Stir the sauce for a minute and bring it to a boil. Once it starts to boil, mix for one to two minutes; turn off the heat and put aside to top on your favorite stir fry or put in the fridge and enjoy for up to a week.

Tips:

  • Adjust the cornstarch to the thickness that is desired; we like it a little thicker so we add more cornstarch, if you desire a little thinner add less cornstarch
  • This recipe is amazing for using as a dip for chicken fingers or eggplant dippers
  • The sauce will thicken when it is in the fridge; the sauce reheats better when mixed into the food instead of placed on top
  • Chicken, beef, pork, tofu, and shrimp all work well for the sweet and sour honey sauce

From our hive to yours,

Bee Queen

Honey Butters

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Do you love toast, bagels, English muffins, and muffins? I do too, but I think they are so much better when they are dressed up fancy with honey butter. I have found that honey is super versatile and comes in so many yummy flavors. This allows me to make something super bee-licious every time! Honey butters are no exception. The sweet and salty combination really makes baked goods even more satisfying. I have even used the honey butter on our chicken and ham.

Cinnamon Honey Butter-

8 ounces- butter room temperature

4 Tbsp. – Rabbit brush honey

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Place the butter, at room temperature, into a mixer and whip until it is nice and light. Take a spatula and scrape down the sides, mix again for a couple more minutes. Then, add the honey and the cinnamon and mix until thoroughly blended. Place in an air tight container and put it into the fridge. Use up within 2 weeks.

Honey caramel pecan-

8 ounces- butter room temperature

4 Tbsp. – Honeyville caramel honey sauce

1/3 cup- crushed pecans

A pinch- Sea salt

Place the butter, at room temperature, into a mixer and whip until it is nice and light. Take a spatula and scrape down the sides, mix again for a couple more minutes. Then, add the caramel honey sauce and crushed pecans and mix until thoroughly blended. Place in an air tight container, sprinkle with sea salt, and put it into the fridge. The caramel has milk in it so make sure to refrigerate. Use up within 2 weeks.

Tips-

  • I like to whip the butter all at once and then measure out what I need for each recipe, and then continue mixing
  • Walnuts make a great substitute for the pecans
  • Take the cinnamon out if you want just a plain honey butter
  • Try adding 2 tsp. pumpkin spice and 1/3 cup crushed pumpkin seeds

From our bee hive to yours,

Queen Bee

Raw Honey Food Bars

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These are a big family favorite in our house! These bars are great for when you want a small snack and want something healthy. They are high in fiber, a great source of protein, and energy. They almost taste like a candy bar without all of the added junk. They are also fun to use different honeys with because you get more of the honey flavor when you keep it in raw form. Everyone’s taste buds are different; so if you are not used to the rabbit brush, use one that is to your taste buds.

Ingredients:

2 cups of dry oatmeal

1 cup of shredded coconut

½ cup hemp seeds

¼ cup cocoa nibs

½ cup of walnuts, bite sized pieces

½ cup of chocolate chips

1 cup peanut butter

½ cup rabbit brush honey

½ cup coconut oil (unrefined is best, it has not been processed)

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Directions:

Put oatmeal, shredded coconut, hemp seeds, cocoa nibs, walnuts, and chocolate chips in a bowl. In a small sauce pan; put the peanut butter and coconut oil in and warm it on the lowest setting possible (#1, low, or melt). Once it is warm enough, it will thoroughly mix together. Turn off the heat and add the honey, cinnamon, and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Pour the honey mixture over the dry ingredients and mix together; the chocolate chips will melt a little. Depending on how thick you want the bars; spray an 8″ x8″x2 1/2″ pan or 9×13 pan with your favorite spray and pour the mixture into the pan. Pat it down and cover with wrap. Place in the fridge for about 4 hours, cut them into bars or bite size pieces and ENJOY!

*They will start to melt when they start getting to room temperature; make sure to keep them refrigerated. Keep them in a cooler to prevent them from getting to hot.

Tips:

  • Add a ½ cup of goji berries
  • Use pecans, cashews, or almonds in place of walnuts
  • Add ¼ cup of flax seed
  • Instead of peanut butter use almond butter
  • Lemon, orange, or almond extract can be used in place of the vanilla extract to give it a different flavor

Honey Chia Yogurt

Honey Yogurt

One of my favorite foods in the world is yogurt! You can do so much with it and you can have it ANY TIME OF THE DAY!!! I dislike buying it pre-done in the store; in my opinion it is loaded with unnecessary sugar and tastes way to sweet. Plus, I want my little ones to learn the value of good old fashioned whole milk yogurt. Yogurt also makes a great dip, frozen popsicle, and is great in smoothies. One of my favorite add ins is chia seeds; they are an amazing superfood and can be a huge benefit to the diet! They are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, vitamins, fiber, and minerals. At The Honey Cottage we add raw honey to our yogurt for a slight sweetness. Here is my favorite recipe for honey chia yogurt; we hope you enjoy!

Honey Chia yogurt

1 cup- Whole milk yogurt

1 Tbsp.-Chia seeds

1 Tbsp. – Raw honey

½ cup- Fruit

¼ cup- Pecans

Directions:

Take the cup of yogurt and put it in a sealable container or in a bowl that can be sealed with plastic wrap. Sprinkle the chia seeds on top of yogurt and mix in; cover and let set for about 2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Pull the yogurt out of the refrigerator and place the fruit on top and stir it in the yogurt. Sprinkle the pecans on top and drizzle the honey on top of the pecans. ENJOY!

Tips and Tricks:

You can use frozen fruit; let it thaw before adding to the yogurt. Or put the frozen fruit in the yogurt if you let it set over night. Instead of pecans; use walnuts or almonds. Granola also makes an amazing topper for this yogurt recipe. This is a great way to use local honey so you get those 2 Tbsp. a day!

HELP SAVE THE BEES!!

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At The Honey Cottage we are dedicated in educating and helping teach people about the importance of bees. Beekeeping should not be just about honey or money, but we are seeing a drastic increase in demand for raw honey. There are a lot of pressing issues that need to be looked at if we are going to save the bees. It takes EVERYONE. You don’t have to be a beekeeper to help either. We actually recommend against it; there is only so much forage per area. Too many beekeepers in one area is taxing on the ecosystem and is stressful for the native bees. Each hive needs approximately one and half acres of constantly blooming plants to be successful. There is a misconception that bees only need the flowers in spring and early summer. This is not true; bees need late summer plants and plants that bloom in fall to be successful during the winter. This is why we are making a BIG push for everyone to HELP beekeepers. PLANT more plants than ever and plant a variety of plants, don’t use pesticides, support your local beekeepers, support your local garden clubs and nursery’s, and set out water sources.

-The more plants we plant as a community means there are more food sources for bees and other pollinators. They also need a large variety of plants so that they have a varied diet and will be much healthier. Plus, flowers will bloom not just in the spring, but summer and fall! They need to eat all the time just like humans do! They need to be able to put enough honey away for the long winters.

– Please don’t use pesticides on the plants!!! Bees pollinate our flowers and our food. If the poison is on the plants it is also going to be in the plant and now will go you’re into your system. Bees also make honey from the nectar that is in the flower. If they are getting the poison in their diet, it is also going in YOUR system. Push for co-planting instead; like planting peppermint, this will deter bugs from eating the plants.

-If you have an interest in beekeeping; start by learning and supporting a local beekeeper and garden clubs. This will help them and you at the same time. Education’s the key; to be a good beekeeper you need to know the bees, the flowers, and the habit in your area.

– Store bought plants can have GMO pesticides and growth retardants on them when they arrive at the store. This is to keep the flowers looking nice by the time they make it to the store; however, the pesticides harm bees. Working with the local garden club can help the club and makes sure the plants are well taken care of and don’t have the pesticides on them. You also support the local economy by working with local beekeeper’s and garden clubs!

– Water sources are very important for bees! We recommend a water basin or bird bath with gravel or 1 inch river stones. The bees are terrible swimmers and the stones will give them plenty of places to land to take a drink of water.

From our hive to yours,

Queen Bee

 

 

Honey Coleslaw

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Do you like it when honey speaks for itself in a recipe or compliments the recipe? This is what I love most about honey; a recipe can change with the type of honey that is used. Honey coleslaw is one of those recipes where the flavor can be changed just by the honey. I have found; when a lighter honey is used the vinegar and mayonnaise speak out more. When I used a darker wildflower honey the flavor of honey came through more and the coleslaw was sweeter. I also tried buckwheat, but found that the honey overpowered everything. So I would recommend either local wildflower honey or a nice alfalfa clover honey for this recipe.

Honey Coleslaw:

1 pound- Green Cabbage

½ pound- Purple Cabbage

1- Carrot

Dressing:

½ cup- Mayonnaise

1/3 cup- Honey

2 Tbsp. – Vinegar

1 Tbsp. – Celery Salt

Salt and pepper to taste

Shred the green cabbage, the purple cabbage, and the carrot into a bowl. If you are in a hurry grab a bag of 1 pound coleslaw mix from your grocery store and a small head of purple cabbage. In a separate bowl mix together the mayonnaise, vinegar, and the celery salt. Then drizzle in the honey and mix well. Pour the dressing over the cabbage and mix together.

Tip: I recommend letting the coleslaw sit in the fridge for about two hours and then salt and pepper to taste. If you are not used to salt the celery salt will be just perfect! I also really liked using the Alpine Wildflower honey; it is all up to what speaks to your taste buds!

From our bee hive to yours,

Queen Bee

 

Honey Sticks

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At The Honey Cottage we firmly believe experiences help other people. Weather it is our experiences that we share or what customers share with us and others. This month has been no exception. We have had many customers come in and talk about the advantages of honey sticks. One of those advantages was using them during pregnancy and labor. I was so excited to hear this because one of our big surprises this year was that we were having a baby!! So I took the advice of so many people and had honey sticks stashed everywhere; I also had them in my labor bag and anywhere else I could think to hide them. I can honestly say the honey sticks are super handy and are fantastic to have on hand. Plus, others said they used them after labor too!

Some of the big advantages that I and others noticed during pregnancy: they are convenient, they are perfect for the purse and overnight bag, they come in different types of honey or flavors, and they are a big energy boost. I liked that I did not have to carry around a bottle of honey everywhere. It was nice to be able to pop one open and have the energy boost I needed; each stick is a teaspoon of honey. When I was in labor no food was allowed, but I could have HONEY which gave me the energy I needed! Lastly, these have been great for when my sugar gets too low.

Other helpful ways to use honey sticks:

-Many diabetics use them to boost their blood sugar levels

-Teachers use them for their students as incentives

-We have had a lot of military come in and stock up for when they are in the field

-Several parents use them for helping their little ones potty train

-Perfect for nursing moms

-Back packing

-Hiking or biking

-Walking or running

-Perfect for kids birthday parties

-Baby showers or weddings

These are some of the ways our customers use honey sticks!! They make a great gift and are perfect to have around the house! We are super thankful for those who come in and share what they learn from using the different products at The Honey Cottage. Feel free to “like”, follow, and share what you learn on our facebook page or on twitter!!

From our bee hive to yours,

Queen Bee

P.S. Here is a peak at our new bumblebee!!!

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National Honey Month!!

IMG_6710.JPGIt is our FAVORITE month of the year at The Honey Cottage; SEPTEMBER!!! That means it is….National Honey Month!  We LOVE having an entire month dedicated to bees and honey. Follow us on; facebook, twitter, LinkedIn for fun facts and neat pictures!! HAPPY SEPTEMBER!

1- Beeswax can get a frosty white appearance on it when it sits for a while. This is called bloom; it comes off easy by lightly wiping it off with a cloth.

2- Did you know that if you are baking with honey that you can lower the oven temperature to prevent burning of baked goods? About 25 degrees F seems to be best, but sometimes the recipe needs to be played with in order to get it just right!

3- Did you know there are bees that are called dwarf bees? They are about a quarter of an inch in size!

4- Drone bees and queen bees do not make beeswax; it is instead made solely by the worker bees. They have wax glands on their abdomen that discharges the wax. The drone bees have no wax glands, but the worker bees have four pairs!

5- A butterfly and a bee have something really cool in common!! Their mouth is called a proboscis; this is how they both suck up nectar!

6- Creamed and whipped honey means the same thing. It is whipped with whips to give it a smooth, creamy, spreadable texture.

7- The beeswax that the bees secrete is actually white! It is changed to yellow by the pollen that is brought into the hive!!

8- Honey dew honey is not from the melon!!! It is the only honey that is not made from a nectar source! Honey dew honey is from aphids; they eat the sap off of trees and leave a secretion behind. The secretion is then picked up by the bees and made into honey. How cool is that?

9- Want all the honey off of the measuring spoons and cups? Try warming up the measuring spoon so it goes right into the recipe! Or lightly grease them so that the honey comes right out of the cup!

Feel free to share with friends and family. The more everyone knows the better care we can take care of these amazing ladies.

From our hive to yours,

Queen Bee

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