September is National Honey Month, a time to promote and encourage beekeeping in the United States. Now, beekeeping is more important than ever as honeybees are dying at an alarming rate.
It is estimated that one-third of the U.S. diet comes from insect-pollinated plants. Honeybees help pollinate over 90 different kinds of crops, but are being threatened by parasites, habitat loss, pesticides and grazing practices. Honeybees are responsible for pollinating apples, blueberries, cherries, cranberries and sunflowers. According to the National Honey Board, almonds are completely dependent on honeybees, and without them, we would have no almonds.
Honey is nature’s sweetener, and it has been around probably longer than humans have. References to honey can even be found on ancient paintings on cave walls in Greece and Spain. Since honey has almost the same fructose and glucose as sugar, it is just as sweet without being refined. Honey can have different tastes based on the flower and insect, meaning there are possibilities for exotic honey flavors.
Honey can be a versatile ingredient used not only for sweetening but also to add flavor and help baked goods retain moisture. It can also be used as a binder and thickener for sauces and dressings. Beyond food uses, honey can also be used as a beauty product in simple homemade exfoliating mask or hair conditioner recipes. While people in the U.S. are most familiar with clover honey, other varieties include alfalfa honey, basswood honey, blueberry honey, orange blossom honey and firewood honey. There are also several different forms of honey including comb honey, liquid honey, naturally crystallized honey, whipped honey and cut comb honey.
To learn more about honey and to find delicious honey recipes, visit www.honey.com.