I am definitely a supporter of buying anything that is local, supporting local businesses and products that don’t come covered in non-recyclable plastic packaging. Honey from local bee keepers is a great eco gift for someone to enjoy on toast or to make a delicious honey cake (see recipe at the end of this post!). The season for honey is not normally until later in the summer June and July onwards but it has a long shelf life so can be purchased all year round from health food shops (and supermarkets of course). We use Fairhaven Wholefoods in our town which is a little gem!
Bees have been seen as a species in decline, but bees are very useful. They are needed to pollinate plants and to keep our rich natural environment diverse. Encouraging bees in the right places is really important for a happy environment and I am totally in support of that. Not all bees make honey and keeping bees for this purpose is a very different thing altogether. I am happy to encourage bees in my garden with sewing wild seed bombs but I think I’ll leave harvesting honey from a hive to those who know a bit more and don’t mind the odd bee sting or two.
Local honey is also been said to have heath benefits too. We have recently discovered the natural benefits of honey for relief of sore throats and works a whole lot better than other cough syrups and medicines. My husband suffers from hay fever in spring and summer months with constant itching eyes and in the past has ended up taking a daily antihistamine to relieve symptoms. Although there isn’t much scientific evidence to support it, the theory is that local honey is made from local pollen and can give the body an immune boost. As a bit of an experiment, my husband has started taking a spoon of local honey each morning with a glass of water and he thinks it has helped his hay fever. I can see the logic and in doing so its not going to harm anyone from giving it a go.
Honey Cake Recipe
- 250g Local Honey plus about 2 tbsp extra to glaze
- 225g unsalted butter
- 100g soft brown sugar
- 3 large free range eggs
- 300g self raising flour
- STEP 1 Preheat the oven to 160 C. Butter and line a 20cm round loose bottomed cake tin. Cut the butter into pieces and drop into a medium pan with the honey and sugar. Melt slowly over a low heat. When the mixture looks quite liquid, increase the heat under the pan and boil for about one minute. Leave to cool for 15-20 minutes, to prevent the eggs cooking when they are mixed in.
- STEP 2 Beat the eggs into the melted honey mixture using a wooden spoon. Sift the flour into a large bowl and pour in the egg and honey mixture, beating until you have a smooth, quite runny batter.
- STEP 3 Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 50 minutes-1 hour until the cake is well-risen, golden brown and springs back when pressed. A skewer pushed into the center of the cake should come out clean.
- STEP 4 Turn the cake out on a wire rack. Warm 2 tbsp honey in a small pan and brush over the top of the cake to give a sticky glaze, then leave to cool. Keeps for 4-5 days wrapped in foil, or a Beeswax wrap.
There are lots of other things you can make from honey or even the beeswax food wraps that have the antibacterial properties found in honey. Also remember that when the glass jar is finished it can be recycled or used for something else. For more ideas, check out my other posts about jam jars: A year in a Jar, lace jar medley or making jam.