Thursday, 19 November 2015
It’s important to stay healthy, avoid winter illnesses and not to get down in the dumps on dark days during winter. So it’s a good time to talk about honey and health. Luckily we’ve always got honey on hand for our ailments, but don’t sue us for claims about our products if your cold persists, it’s just what our granny always recommended.
Honey has been used as a healing substance since ancient times and modern analysis shows it contains naturally occurring hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is a colourless liquid just slightly more viscous than water. The fact that every honey jar contains this liquid is good news, as many claim it has several health benefits which add qualities to our honey beyond taste. Our body produces hydrogen peroxide in our white blood cells to fight disease and defend against pathogens. However, in honey it is produced from glucose with the aid of a specialist enzyme from the bees. The hydrogen peroxide in honey can help to fight infections or heal wounds and the medical world is cottoning on to this and developing treatments using honey*. Although it does not help with pain relief as hydrogen peroxide is not a pain-killer, it can however act as an anti-viral, antibacterial and anti-fungal agent, which could help to make it effective at treating the pathogen that is causing the infection. We are not saying rub honey on your teeth when you have toothache, but honey is special stuff so maybe think beyond putting it on your toast next time?
Steve’s favourite ritual when he lived in Shropshire to celebrate the end to a good year of beekeeping was to drink hot toddies with the local landowners, farmers and the gamekeeper on the land where he still keeps the bees. David King, the gamekeeper who lives near Steve’s beloved Butler’s Cottage where he used to live up in Shropshire, is responsible for getting Steve into this simple drink. He has been a helping friend of Steve’s for may years and still to this day checks on the bees whilst we are busy back in London.
So if you are struck down with a cold this season we’ve got a comforting hot toddy recipe for you as a cough syrup alternative! We find it works well even if you don’t have a cold!!! But this is not the answer for your 8 year old no matter how much they are complaining. And if it doesn’t cure you of your symptoms it will most probably help send you to sleep forgetting that they exist! Enjoy!
Kingy’s Hot Toddy:
Bushmill’s whiskey (a healthy dash)
Cloves and a cinnamon stick
Turn to page 267 in Steve’s book to see how this warming winter drink is made.
Another drink to help keep you in good health this winter, this creation belongs to Steve’s friend Lara, it was her grandfather’s recipe and we feel that it is a delicious restorative that everyone could do with every once in a while. Lara’s grandfather was a doctor in Chichester and swore by this recipe for a cure of all ills both for him and his patients. We hope it will help to restore your health, strength and well-being.
Dr Bernay’s Honey Gar recipe
A glassful to be drunk once a day to aid good health and longevity.
Mr Bernay’s doctors orders can be found on page 57 of Steve’s book ‘The Urban Beekeeper- a year of bees in the city.’
*Please consult your doctor for professional advice on using honey medicinally.
Thursday, 5 November 2015
Saturday, 17 October 2015
The vibrant purple ling heather found on the Long Mynd in Shropshire is very important to us and not only because it’s used to make our London Honey Company Mead. The heather doesn’t blossom until the late summer months when it marks the end of the season for the London Honey Company bees. This makes Shropshire a very important final stop before it’s all down to bottling and orders for Christmas back in Bermondsey! December is already creeping up on us far too fast.
A thick gelatinous honey with toffee flavours and bitter notes, it's special stuff. So rich it even defies the Newtonian laws of how liquids normally behave! According to the boffins it's thixotropic, which means it gets less viscous as it is stirred - drop that into conversation over the breakfast table, that'll impress!
What does this aromatic honey go down well with? Some enjoy it with a large slab of pecorino. Others with yoghurt and fruit, or a home made granola! But I think my personal favourite is just in its most simplistic form, straight off the spoon in a time of weakness!
But why not try this recipe to treat the other half on a Sunday afternoon, we should thank Theo Fraser from ‘The deli downstairs’ in the East End for it, he is an old friend of the company and kindly contributed the recipe to Steve’s book, ‘The Urban Beekeeper- A year of bees in the city’, p 205 for more detail and cooking instructions.
Baklava French Toast Recipe
5 tbsp honey
1 tbsp water
zest of half an orange
a handful of pistachios and walnuts, chopped
a pinch of ground cinnamon
2 slices of good bread
1 tbsp of milk
2 drops of good vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
butter, for frying
a small square of honey on the comb (preferably ours)
The heather harvest this year has brought in about 500kg of honey, which may seem a lot but is down on our previous crop from last year. The honey cropping up in Shropshire was a full team operation with Steve, Nick, Hannah, David the game keeper, and even Steve's nephew was called upon to lift honey boxes as back up. However, no hard work is finished in Shropshire without a trip to Steve’s sisters house where he and the team were rewarded with a big pot of homemade chilli and a damson crumble!
Thursday, 17 September 2015
Thursday, 13 August 2015
One of Steve’s most wonderful and picturesque bee sites is down on the South Coast about 2 hours from London, near Hastings. This beautiful place feels like another world with nothing for miles but beach huts. There’s something about the place that just gives you a calm and peaceful feeling, I think Steve enjoys escaping to this wild west like land away from the stresses of London life.
However, Steve’s not just there for the views, there’s a more important reason for the drive down to the South Coast, the harvesting of the honey from the wild wood sage - an unusual and complex honey with woody forest notes! The hives are located by a series of fishing ponds which are great for cooling off in after a hard days work of beekeeping in the sun. This year the wood sage crop hasn’t been as good due to strong winds, resulting in less honey being harvested.
Whatever the results of the day’s beekeeping Steve, Nic and Hannah are always cheered by the local snack bar, one of Steve’s all time favourites. The menu changes daily depending on what the fisherman have caught that day, so Steve always allows time for a fish sarnie before his drive back to London.