Honey: One of the world's healthiest foods

Raw Honey: One of the World’s Healthiest Foods

Raw honey benefits are described in the article linked below.

Just saw this link about why raw honey is one of the world's healthiest foods. Enjoy!

Benefits list: Contains beneficial bacteria & antioxidants, helps with blood sugar control, decreases stress hormones, suppresses coughs, increases athletic performance, used as topical antiseptic for wounds, and reduces cholesterol

Here is a sample paragraph or two pasted directly from the article:

A Spoonful a Day Keeps Free Radicals at Bay
Daily consumption of honey raises blood levels of protective antioxidant compounds in humans, according to research presented at the 227th meeting of the American Chemical Society in Anaheim, CA, March 28, 2004. Biochemist Heidrun Gross and colleagues from the University of California, Davis, gave 25 study participants each about four tablespoons buckwheat honey daily for 29 days in addition to their regular diets, and drew blood samples at given intervals following honey consumption. A direct link was found between the subjects' honey consumption and the level of polyphenolic antioxidants in their blood.

Tips for Cooking with Honey:
If your honey has crystallized, placing the container in hot water for 15 minutes will help return it to its liquid state. Do not heat honey in the microwave as this alters its taste by increasing its hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) content. To prevent honey from sticking to measuring cups and spoons, use honey that is in its liquid form.

Honey makes a good replacement for sugar in most recipes. Since honey is sweeter than sugar, you need to use less, one-half to three-quarters of a cup for each cup of sugar. For each cup of sugar replaced, you should also reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe by one-quarter of a cup. In addition, reduce the cooking temperature by 25°F since honey causes foods to brown more easily.


CNN Honey Article: More reasons to buy local raw honey from The Honey Company

Even more reason to buy raw, local honey from The Honey Company!

This article was copied and pasted directly from the CNN website. It was written November 9, 2011 by Emanuella Grinberg. It can be found at http://eatocracy.cnn.com/2011/11/09/most-honey-sold-in-u-s-grocery-stores-not-worthy-of-its-name/?iref=allsearch. Photos are our own. 

Most Honey Not Worthy of It’s Name
76% of honey on grocery store shelves does not contain pollen. 
Local, raw, unfiltered honey, contains microscopic pieces of pollen and beneficial bee enzymes. 

Most of the honey sold in chain stores across the country doesn't meet international quality standards for the sweet stuff, according to a Food Safety News analysis released this week.

One of the nation's leading melissopalynologists analyzed more than 60 jugs, jars and plastic bears of honey in 10 states and the District of Columbia for pollen content, Food Safety News said. He found that pollen was frequently filtered out of products labeled "honey."

"The removal of these microscopic particles from deep within a flower would make the nectar flunk the quality standards set by most of the world's food safety agencies," the report says. "Without pollen there is no way to determine whether the honey came from legitimate and safe sources."
Among the findings:
• No pollen was found in 76 percent of samples from grocery stores including TOP Food, Safeway, Giant Eagle, QFC, Kroger, Metro Market, Harris Teeter, A&P, Stop & Shop and King Soopers.
• No pollen was found in 100 percent of samples from drugstores including Walgreens, Rite-Aid and CVS Pharmacy.
• The anticipated amount of pollen was found in samples bought at farmers markets, co-ops and stores like PCC and Trader Joe's.

Why does it matter where your honey comes from? An earlier Food Safety News investigation found that at least a third of all the honey consumed in the United States was likely smuggled from China and could be tainted with illegal antibiotics and heavy metals.

Foreign honey also puts a squeeze on American beekeepers, who have been lobbying for years for an enforceable national standard to prevent foreign honey from flooding the market.

The Food and Drug Administration does not have a standard of identity for honey like it does for milk or other products, a spokesman said.

The lack of regulation is what enables potentially unsafe honey is able to make its way into the country, Andrew Schneider, author of the Food and Safety News report.

"Where there's no pollen, there's no way for authorities to confirm where the honey came from, so it's easy to smuggle illicit honey into the country," he said.

Photo of raw honeycomb.


Honey as energy gel

Go Honey is our natural version of energy gel. Use it while exercising for a carb boost. 

What is Energy Gel? 

Energy gels are thick carbohydrate syrups used to extend muscle energy (glycogen) during exercise. They provide simple and complex carbohydrates.  Energy gels are packaged in palm-sized packets for athletes to suck syrup into the mouth.  They provide about 100 Calories (17-25 g carbohydrate) per packet. 

Energy gels are designed to deliver a quick rise in blood sugar and maintain that glucose level for up to 45 minutes during exercise.  Sometimes electrolytes and other "non-essentials" such as herbs and caffeine are added to the gel.

Honey is a great energy gel because it causes less of an insulin response than other sugars.  Honey gives athletes a slower, more sustained energy spike than sugar.  This means it creates a smaller post-sugar “fall” than other sugars.  This is because of the complex mixture of sugars in honey.  Honey contains dextrose (glucose chains), fructose, and at least 22 other, more complex, sugar types.  These sugars are not found in nectar, but are formed during ripening and storage of honey by bee enzymes (Graham, 1997).  This means they are more readily available for absorption by our tissues.  

How To Use Go Honey as Energy Gel
Consume about 1/3 of packet with 250 mL water 15 minutes before starting a run and 45 min into the run.  Repeat every hour throughout the duration of the run.  

Athletes need to consume adequate water with energy gels to prevent dehydration.  A good rule of thumb is about 250 mL (1 cup) of water for every 100 Calories consumed. When water is not consumed with energy gel, water leaves the body tissues, and enters the digestive tract to help digest it.  This means less water for muscles and can lead to dehydration.  

This product is not intended to replace proper diet and nutrition.

Why Honey?
  1. All-natural energy source
  2. No preservatives
  3. Complex mixture of sugars
  4. Honey yielded lower insulin response than sugars in 12 studies.  Honey has GI of about 32 to 85, depending on the nectar source.
  5. Rich in anti-oxidants: Honey contains as many anti-oxidants as spinach, apples, oranges, and strawberries, according to a study by Gheldof and Engeseth (2003).  Researcher Gross and his team (2004) found that consuming honey increased the level of antioxidants in the blood.  Some antioxidants found in honey include chrysin, pinobanksin, vitamin C, catalase, and pinocembrin.
  6. Indefinite shelf-life

  7. Contains live bee enzymes
Why Our Honey?
  1. No processing (raw and unfiltered)
  2. No water added
  3. 100% domestic honey, local to Northern Utah
  4. Apiaries located in pesticide-free areas
  5. No flavoring added
  6. Conservation: The Honey Company beekeepers work to develop bee genetics to improve resistance to disease and Colony Collapse Disorder rather than medicating bees
  7. Go Honey Packages are free from BPA and phthalates
  8. Go Honey Packages are re-closable
  9. Go Honey Packages can withstand 150 pounds of pressure with the lid properly in place

What is the Glycemic Index?
The Glycemic Index (GI) is a ranking of carbohydrates based on their effect on blood glucose and insulin levels.  Choosing low GI carbs reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes and is key to sustainable weight loss.  Carbs in low GI foods enter the bloodstream more slowly and causes less dramatic fluctuations in blood glucose levels. This means better energy balance, longer physical endurance, and a better refueling after exercise.  

Glucose is assigned a GI of 100 and other carbohydrates are given a number compared to glucose.  Low GI values are less than 55, 56-69 is medium, and 70 or larger is high GI. Honey ranges from 35-87 GI (median 56), depending on the variety and the sugar ratios in the honey. Typical USA honeys have GI below 55. This means honey spikes blood sugar much less than other sugars. Also, honey is twice as sweet as sugar and consumers can use about half as much to sweeten foods.  


Honey Bees as Structural Pests

Here is text from “Honey Bees as Structural Pests” an article from The Utah Pest News, produced by the Utah Plant Pest Diagnostic Lab and Utah State University Extension. You can find the complete article at http://utahpests.usu.edu/files/uploads/UtahPests-Newsletter-fall11.pdf. Photo is also from their article.

Honey Bee Hive Built in Ceiling
The honey bees that established this hive in an apartment ceiling were killed previously, but the owner neglected to remove the hive.  The brown area in the center of the hive is where it is being consumed by an infestation of wax moths.  Additionally, honey had begun dripping from the comb and damaging the ceiling.

What if honey bees have actually established a nest on your property?  The pollination services that honey bees provide are vital to our food supply, but their defensive stinging behavior can be a real problem if they’ve built a hive in your yard or even worse, within your walls or attic. If at all possible, you want to avoid killing the bees.  Members of the Utah Beekeepers Association (www.utahbeekeepers.com) may remove these bees for you.  On their website click on the link for “Report a Swarm of Honey Bees!”

Unfortunately, it is a bigger challenge if the bees have established between the walls of your home or elsewhere within the structure.  If this occurs, first you should try to contact a beekeeper to remove them.  Some beekeepers will, but sometimes they are unwilling to, because removing the bees may require cutting away a portion of the wall, which can mean more work and liability than they are willing to accept.  If you are unable to find a beekeeper to remove the bees, you may be forced to kill them.  Many exterminators are able to do this for you, or you may attempt it yourself.  Completely killing all of the bees can be challenging for many reasons in addition to the obvious safety concern.  you don’t know how large the hive is within the wall.  you can kill the adults, but because the pupae will survive, you may need to treat two or three times.  you want to kill the queen so that she doesn’t continue to produce brood, but she could be anywhere within the hive.  And lastly, not all of the bees will be in the hive when you treat it, which is another reason you may need to treat multiple times.

Unfortunately, a bee hive in your wall presents more trouble than just the potential for stings. Once you have successfully killed the bees, you still need to remove the hive from the wall. If you do not, the wax could melt, and the wax and honey will do damage to the wall. Even if the wax doesn’t melt, do you want a lot of wax, honey, and dead bees rotting inside your wall, creating odors and attracting other insects and rodents?  I have actually had people tell me that they’ve dealt with a hive within their wall by simply plugging the entrance hole.  Assuming that the bees did not find another way out, this probably worked to eventually kill them, but it also left behind a lot of wax, honey, and bee corpses to decay within the wall. I would not recommend this as a solution.

-Cory Stanley, USU CAPS Coordinator


Honey as Cough Syrup

Parenting Magazine ran an article on honey as cough syrup. Thought I’d share! This post is a copy of the article text. The photos are our own.
Source: Parenting Magazine September 2011 by Alan Greene, M.D. 

In: Honey
Out: DM Cough Medicine

Parents spend billions on over-the-counter cough remedies, even though the American Academy of Pediatrics never recommends them for kids under age 2, and cautions against their use under age 6. Is is worth it?

Researchers have done a head-to-head comparison of dextromethorphan (the cough suppressant found in “DM” cold medications) with a less expensive natural remedy: honey. The honey outperformed DM in every category, from reducing the number and severity of coughs, to improving sleep--for kids and parents. 

The most effective honeys appear to be the darker varieties. The suggested dose for ages 1 to 6 is one-half teaspoon 30 minutes before bed, increasing to one teaspoon for children 6 to 11 years old.

Source: Parenting Magazine. Alan Greene, M.D. October 2011. Page 121.

Paul, I.M, J. Beiler, A. McMonagle, M.L. Shaffer, L. Duda, and C.M. Berlin Jr. Effect of honey, dextromethorphan, and no treatmene on nocternal cough and sleep quality for coughing children and their parents. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2007. 161(12):1140-1146.


It's Swarm Time

Here is what a honeybee swarm looks like. Swarms are most common in the spring, but can happen all summer. Bees are at their most docile mood while swarming. 

Here is text from “It’s Swarm Time!” an article from The Utah Pest News, produced by the Utah Plant Pest Diagnostic Lab and Utah State University Extension. You can find this article at http://utahpests.usu.edu/htm/utah-pests-news/summer2011/

     A honey bee swarm can be an impressive, and sometimes intimidating, sight, as a huge cloud of bees (sometimes as large as the size of a suburban backyard) flies from a crowded bee colony to a new location. There were many reports of honey bee swarms in northern Utah this spring from anxious homeowners. A better understanding of swarming behavior should alleviate concerns anyone may have when encountering a swarm. In the spring, a honey bee colony will rapidly build up its resources and produce a lot of brood. Often this leads to cramped conditions by late spring or early summer. In response, the colony will split into two, and the new colony relocates, a process also known as swarming. The process begins with the rearing of a new queen. Simultaneously, scouts begin looking for a suitable location for a new hive. Hollow trees are a favorite, but any large cavity is a potential new home. About 30 to 70% of the worker bee population will engorge themselves with honey before leaving so that they will have plenty to eat as they search for and establish a new home. Once the new queen has matured, she stays with the existing colony and the old queen and worker bees leave to start the new hive. Soon after departing, the old queen will land on an object as a temporary staging area. The worker bees will orient to the queen’s pheromones and surround her. The result is a huge ball of bees that can sometimes be located in a backyard tree. The scouts that had previously located potential new nesting sites try to “convince” the hive to move to their chosen site. After a few hours, a decision is reached and the swarm departs. Witnessing the bees’ arrival or finding a swarm may cause unnecessary panic. Swarming bees are actually much more docile than bees in a hive. Their main concern is keeping the queen safe and warm and relocating the hive. The worker honey bees are still engorged and will have a difficult time stinging. I have walked right up to a swarm and held my hand within an inch of the bees with no consequence. They have no brood or honey to protect in this situation, and thus, are calmer. Homeowners concerned about a swarm may contact the Utah Beekeepers Association, which maintains a list of beekeepers that are interested in collecting swarms. A local beekeeper may agree to come out to the residence and collect the swarm, to the mutual benefit of all.

-Cory Stanley, USU CAPS Coordinator  


Delaplane, K. S. 2007. First lessons in beekeeping. Dadant & Sons, Inc., Hamilton, IL. 166 pp.

Shimanuki, H., K. Flottum, and A. Harman. 2007. The ABC & XYZ of bee culture. A.I. Root Company, Medina, OH. 911 pp.d z


Tips for Cutting Felt

Tips for Cutting Felt

This week I made some cheerful felt pillows with felt circles and decided to share some tips for cutting felt.

Washable markers work well for tracing patterns onto felt. (First, dip a small corner of the felt in water to make sure it wouldn't bleed. Mine didn't.) They rinse off very easily with water. I used to use permanent markers, which caused me to spend much time cutting off the marked parts. And then I tried pinning the pattern to the felt, but the pattern inevitably moved around while I was cutting, causing very uneven shapes. Finally I discovered the washable marker. Unlike quilting pens, they are very inexpensive ($2.00 for 8 compared to $6.00 for 1), and versatile. And I don't have to worry about my little one coloring on stuff as much.

Here it is, traced onto the felt.

There are almost always jagged edges on felt cut-outs. It helps with the overall appearance to trim off jagged and uneven parts.

Much better.

Then I rinse off the washable marker in a bowl of water and squeeze dry with a paper towel.

Then I lay them all out to dry. This works for me because I usually only have time to do a bit before I am needed again by kiddos.

Here is the finished pillow. I love the cheerful colors. I am still waiting to see how long the hot glue holds the circles on the pillow. . .


Timberframe Project

Timber frame Project by Stan

This winter our yard was full of timber frame. Stan was commissioned to build it for a friend. Here is what it looks like completed. Very nice!
This is the structure of the center joint.

And here is how the side joints fit together.

Fitted together. Now make sure the joints are tight.

Dowels added to hold it in place.
Believe it or not, the hardest part was marking the curve on the arc. After many attempts, Stan used a long beam with a pencil that fit into a drilled hole as a compass. Then he cut the curve with a chainsaw. (I think safe chainsaw skills are really manly and handsome, by the way! How many men do YOU know who could do it?) Then he fine-tuned the curve with hand chisels. Maybe someday I will post the chainsaw video.

The joint hole in the center arched beam took patience because he had to keep cleaning out the drill bit.

He got so frustrated that he finally had to ask Clara for help. She showed him just how to hammer in the pegs, and then saw off the extra ends.

This was C's favorite jungle gym for a while. She loved to walk round and round on these elevated beams.

Here is the finished product (again).


Bee Box Plans

DIY Bee Box Measurements

Detailed measurements to build your own box, bottom board, frames, etc. 

A picture is worth 1,000 words in this case! Here is a detailed schematic of deep Langstroth bee box measurements. Hope this helps you handy men and women who want to build your own boxes. Zoom in for more details.

Wintering Honeybees

The Biology and Management of Colonies in Winter

Here are some great article on wintering bees from CAPA (A Beekeeping Association): 

“The biology and management of wintering honey bees” article has some great information about wintering bees! It talks about bee clusters, how much honey and pollen to leave for winter, ways to vent excess moisture, etc. I recommend keeping it in your bee files for reference. 

Note: In Utah, it is not necessary (and can be detrimental) to wrap beehives or store them indoors. This is essential for cold areas like Canada or Minnesota, where temperatures stay below freezing for months at a time. It is not necessary in the West, where we have some warm winter days. On these warm days, bees need to leave the hive for a cleansing flight. 

Here are some hives that wintered with minimum winter preparation. These survived well. 

We have also tried hives insulated from the top for hives destined for California almond pollination.


New Garden Bed

New Garden Bed

Today we planted our cool season vegetables in a different planting bed. First we had to protect it from the chickens, who like to take dust baths in this exact spot. Anyway, we will experiment with planting garlic, onions, and peas right next to the house in the former flower bed.

We started with limbs pruned from various trees, which were pruned earlier this week.

Then we stretched chicken wire across, tying it onto the limbs with baling twine. Homemade fence at its finest.

Ain't she sweet? Our garden helper.
Then we planted. We planted garlic bulbs from the kitchen: last year's crop of a friend, and some garlic shoots leftover from an old garlic patch. There's nothing like looking at someone else's soil, eh!

We planted the onion and garlic rows perpendicular to the house rather than parallel. This is a new idea this year (from Sterling Banks, USU Extension in Summit County). I think it will utilize the space better.

The peas were planted parallel to the house in longer rows.

Here is the bed after planting. Beautiful potential.

And Stan says he will move this pile soon. . . Here is the "Before" shot. He says it is all necessary stuff, and I believe him. I think one is a motorized bee colony dolly. There might be a motorcycle under there too. I am not sure.