Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Ferrogosto Honeycomb!

August is here and beside celebrating Ferrogosto,
in celebration of our Honey harvest. Derived from two Latin words, Feriae Augusti, meaning August rest. In ancient Rome after the cereal crops were harvested, there was a large celebration for the farmers and the draft animals. They were given a well-deserved rest: they were even adorned with many flowers. These celebrations were also in honor of the Emperor Augustus Caesar, and the main day of this celebration was August 15th. We have removed frames of honeycomb from our hives and cut them neatly to be sold as boxes of our ever popular honeycomb! Here is a photo of a perfectly filled deep frame of honey. Honeycomb is truly natures perfect food.

If you've never had the pleasure of tasting this truly divine treat this is a must before you die and go to Naples. I recommend first spreading this on your favorite piece of toast. You can add some butter first. Who does not love honey butter? My next recommendation is spreading some honeycomb onto a cracker or piece of baguette then spreading a little brie, goat or any triple creme style cheese. You might think about your last rites beforehand because these are matches made only on heaven!

“Can you eat the wax?” Asked a shopper at our local farmers market, “YES! You can and it is divine”, I answered with great enthusiasm. This age old question was referring to the bees wax of our Red Bee® honeycomb. If you’ve never had the pleasure to taste this rare delicacy, honeycomb is that clear box of nature’s purest honey still in its original wax. Charles Darwin described honeycomb, as a masterpiece of engineering that is "absolutely perfect in economizing labor and wax." We at Red Bee® think honeycomb is honest to goodness raw honey. Raw honey, meaning unheated, contains minerals and vitamins and is a quick source of energy. When you spread honeycomb on a slice of bread, the honey oozes out of the tiny wax cells exposing it for the first time to the air, making it unconditionally fresh, straight from our own beehives. Unknown to many; honeycomb also relieves sinus pressure and sore throats.
It takes about 556 worker bees to gather 1 pound of honey from about 2 million flowers. The process begins with the female worker bee; who begins foraging at the first 3 to 4 weeks of her life. Forager bees gather up nectar and pollen by visiting flowers within 2-3 miles of their hive. She sucks up the flowers nectar with her long, tube-like tongue and stores it in her special honey sac stomach. This stomach is separate from her digestive stomach. She carries the nectar back to the hive. The nectar is mixed with the worker bee’s own enzyme called invertase inside her honey stomach to make the honey ripen. Then it is stored in the hexagonal shaped honeycombs made from beeswax. Worker bees within the hive fan the liquid nectar with their wings, which helps to evaporate the extra water and bring the water content to 18% and thus thicken the nectar into honey. Honey is harvested each autumn and it takes a whole year, beginning in the spring for the honeybees to make an over surplus of honey again. Besides making honey, bees are responsible for pollinating 100 fruits, vegetables and nuts making up 1/3 of the human diet. Honeybees are vital to human survival.

In ancient times, honey was highly valued and often used as a form of currency or offering. The ancient Romans paid their taxes with honey, as did the Egyptians and Aztecs of Central America. Honey also has a rich culinary history as nature’s oldest sweetener and preservative for baked goods. Traditional Rosh Hashana rituals include dipping apples into honey. A natural accompaniment to all food groups, you will be delighted to find that honeycomb pairs exceptionally well with Murray’s cheeses, yogurts and crackers. Just take a small butter or cheese knife and dig in, spread this divine treat on toast or baguette. We suggest pairing it with goat or Brie cheeses. What a brilliant idea to serve a chunk of honeycomb as the centerpiece for your next cheese platter. Garnish it with some marcona almonds, fresh pears or figs and bread, your guest will be enchanted to experience honey in the classical European tradition. Did you know that honey never needs refrigeration and never spoils so give the gift of a honeycomb for the holidays. Get yourself some honeycomb today!

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