And Now, A Word about Mother Nature – Honey

Today is National Honey Bee Awareness Day 2010

August 21, 2010

Buying locally is an idea that has caught on in Minnesota and beyond.  We are fortunate to live in such a green state with a thriving farming tradition that we can buy locally very high quality food products from organic farmers.  One of the items I buy regularly at the Farmer’s market is locally made honey.  It goes well with pancakes. The many flavors of honey come from the particular fields where the bees gather their nectar. Without the bees, there would be no pollination. Without pollination there would be no crops.

(My mother claimed that eating local honey helps with allergies. I follow her advice and have been using honey for a long time.)

I like to serve pancakes with honey, molasses, butter and yogurt.  Here’s what I do.

In a bowl:

1 ½ Cup Buckwheat flour

1 Egg

1-tablespoon oil

½ teaspoon of baking powder

½ cup milk or enough so that the batter pours

Mix it together with a spoon, but don’t over mix

If you really want fancy add a few drops of vanilla or cinnamon spice.

Heat up a griddle or cast iron pan with either butter or a thin layer of oil.

Pour out the batter on the pan in small amounts to make about three little cakes

Wait for the cakes to bubble before flipping over. Add oil to the pan as needed.

I make small cakes.  This recipe will make enough for two people.

Stack the cakes, add butter and put a tablespoon or two of plain yogurt on top

Then drizzle on some molasses and honey and add some home made applesauce.

If you don’t have buckwheat flour, white and whole wheat mixed with a bit of cornmeal is tasty too.  Or use orange juice instead of milk. Very yummy.

Warning all measurements are approximate!

In the Netherlands the custom is to eat pancakes (Pannekoeken) for supper. That was novel to me. In the town where I lived there was a boat called the “pancake ship”. It was a pancake restaurant. They served dinner plate sized pancakes with applesauce, cheese and other goodies blended or folded into them.  It was a cause for my further experimentation.  In Mexico I loved the spicy little pancakes the served with peppers.  There is no end to what you can serve with pancakes.

Here’s the buzz about bees. From the National Honeybee Awareness Day site

Good for Bees, You, and the Environment

“Local honey – Good for you, the bees, and the environment! About 50% of the honey we consume in the United States is imported. Just as drinking a bottle of water shipped from France, and which happens to be no better for you as the bottled water produced domestically or down the street, the same can be said about foreign honey. Shipping products half way around the world that could be produced and purchased locally creates a huge carbon footprint. If more consumers demand local products like honey from the neighborhood beekeeper, that carbon footprint is much smaller. It is about time that beekeepers get “green” with their products and promotion. Locally produced honey is the best “green” sweetener you can buy.”

Here are a few ways non-beekeepers can support, help, and save the honey bee

1) Consider beekeeping as a worthwhile hobby and seek information to get started. The more beekeepers there are, translates into more voices to be heard.

2) Support local beekeepers by buying locally produced honey and other beehive products. Honey is the best “green” sweetener you can use.

3) Attend and support beekeeper association events held throughout the year in most communities such as environmental centers, schools, state parks, and other various places.

4) Educate yourself on the dangers and risks with homeowner pesticides and chemicals. Whenever possible, choose non-damaging non-chemical treatments in and around the home. Most garden and backyard pests can be dealt with without harsh chemicals, which many times are not healthy for the pets, the kids, or the environment.

5) Get to know the honey bee. Unlike other stinging insects, honey bees are manageable, and are non-aggressive. Don’t blame every stinging event on the honey bee. Many times, stinging events are from hornets, yellow jackets, and wasps.

6) Plant a bee-friendly garden with native and nectar producing flowers. Use plants that can grow without extra watering and chemicals. Native plants are the best to grow in any region. Backyard gardens benefit from the neighborhood beehive.

7) Understand that backyard plants such as dandelions and clover are pollen and nectar sources for a wide variety of beneficial insects, including honey bees. Dandelions and clovers are an unwarranted nuisance for many homeowners. The desire to rid yards of these unwanted plants and to have the “perfect yard” are sources for chemical runoff and environmental damage from lawn treatments. A perfect lawn isn’t worth poisoning the earth.

8) Consider allowing a beekeeper to maintain beehives on your property. In some areas, beekeepers need additional apiary locations due to restrictive zoning or other issues. Having a beekeeper maintain hives on your property adds to overall quality and appeal of any country farm or estate.

9) Know that beekeepers are on the forefront in helping communities deal with wild bee colonies in unwanted situations. Every township and community should welcome beekeepers. It is not the managed colonies that beekeepers maintain that cause many problems it is the unmanaged colonies. Every community should be able to rely on beekeepers and beekeeping associations for dealing with issues, and with other aspects such as educational programs. Communities should not pass restrictive measures or ban beekeeping altogether. Banning beekeepers means nobody may be around to help when help is needed.

10) Get involved with your community with things such as the local environmental center program for kids, the volunteer program at the county garden program, and other agriculture and nature based programs. No doubt you will meet a beekeeper. Beekeepers are not just people who keep bees. They are part of your community and most love nature on all levels. Beekeepers give generously to affiliated programs, as they are all connected within the communities in which we live.

http://www.nhbad.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=57&Itemid=67 Retrieved August 20, 2010.

About kunstkitchen

Visual artist and writer hunting words, languages, visions, and insight in my kitchen - connecting Art (Kunst) and culture and slow food cooking. Credits: Do not own a microwave oven and never have. Do not own a food processor. Chopped veggies in a Zen monastery for a weekend. (Seriously) Classically trained artist. Paint and draw with traditional materials. Live in the Northland where it's six months of winter. Appreciate the little things in life. Sharing food and art experiences and the lessons that my talented and generous friends have given me.
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