A La CarteEat DrinkFeaturesSlideshow

A LA CARTE

By April 26, 2022April 29th, 2022No Comments

Hey Honey

By Babs Rodriguez
Above photo by Sean Walker

Some people collect fine wines. We fill our cupboards with honey. The subtle flavor variations in all those sticky jars make developing a terroir-sensitive honey palate a sommelier-worthy challenge. Organize a tasting to convince your sweet tooth that bees are the consummate blossom connoisseurs. Aromas and colors are also a result of flowers our busy friends visit. With more and more local honey on offer at pop-ups, gourmet food stands, delis and groceries, we’d have to say the market is bearish. Here are a few facts that we’re buzzed about.

Gold Standard

Colors and flavors vary from the almost transparent acacia honey to the golden, lightly sweet product of mesquite and the amber/rich brown “dark” honeys from buckwheat, manuka, thyme and wildflowers. The darker the honey, the more pungent the flavor and higher the level of nutrients.

Raw Facts

Minimally processed, unheated honey has the highest levels of antioxidants. And locally produced, unheated and unfiltered honey contains the most pollen, the better to build resistance to area allergens.

Baby Talk

Because there’s a chance that spores in honey can lead to infant botulism, you should never feed honey to a child younger than 1 year old.

Minding Their Beeswax

Strictly speaking, bees make honey for themselves. To avoid exploitation, and because commercial harvesting can harm the insects, honey is not vegan-friendly.

Cheers to Bees

Honey infused with herbs and/or spices is an easy-to-make cocktail mixer. Top a tablespoon of dried herbs (lavender, basil or thyme — or a blend, but only dried, not fresh) with a cup of honey. A broken vanilla bean or dried chile flakes create sweet or spicy profiles. Stir, cap tightly and let sit at room temperature for 14 days. Strain into a clean glass jar. Add a teaspoon or two to your favorite spirit along with a squeeze of lemon, stir and serve over ice.

Simple Science

Bees harvest flower nectar, break it down into sugar and deposit it in a honeycomb, where we collect it. Raw honeycomb is edible and is reputed to raise good cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure. Don’t overlook the value a wedge of the comb adds to a cheese board.

Photo by Sean Walker

Healing Power

Honey has been celebrated as medicinal since ancient times, but its natural antibacterial properties were documented in the late 19th century. Not all honey is equally powerful, though; New Zealand’s manuka honey — find it at Central Market — is known for its strong anti-inflammatory qualities as well as being a potent antibacterial agent. Note: The price of manuka reflects its superstar reputation.

RESOURCES

You can find 100 percent Texas raw honey (unheated and unfiltered) at many grocers and gourmet shops, including an organic line from Burleson’s in Waxahachie and all products from Desert Creek, Fain’s and JC’s Honey Bees. Seek out these local producers and others at area farmers markets.

Lieber Honey Eric Luebbert, owner/beekeeper of Lieber Honey, started his Colleyville business to help a daughter suffering from seasonal allergies. Find his raw, unfiltered honey at Foreman’s General Store in Colleyville, Bedford and Keller farmers market and Boopa’s Bagel Deli in Fort Worth. See website for other retailers. lieberhoney.com

SD Captain Bee Romanian immigrant Stelian Done is a third-generation beekeeper now living in Fort Worth. He sells hives, wax and honey online and at The Clearfork Farmers Market and also offers bee relocation services.  sdcaptainbee.weebly.com