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September is National Honey Month

Kauai honey bees getting drunk on honey. Daniel Lane photo

Kauai honey bees getting drunk on honey. Daniel Lane photo


September is National Honey Month, so it’s the perfect time to celebrate one of nature’s simplest pleasures. It’s hard to imagine anything more pure and natural than one-ingredient honey. Produced by bees from the nectar of plants and flowers, honey essentially flows from hive to the table. With more than 300  honey varietals found in the United States, all with a unique color and flavor, you are sure to find a honey varietal you will love.
The journey of honey begins with humble honey bees. Whether buzzing in their hives or foraging for nectar in wide open fields, honey bees are a critical component of today’s agricultural market. They perform the vital function of pollination, or the transferring of pollen from plant to plant, thus fertilizing the plants and enabling them to bear fruit. In fact, about one-third of the U.S. diet is derived from insect-pollinated plants and honey bees are responsible for about 80 percent of that process.Some major crops that depend on honey bees for pollination are almonds, apples, avocados and blueberries, but the list goes on and on.
Honey’s Natural Benefits
For centuries, honey has been thought of as a kitchen staple, but honey is so much more than a culinary ingredient. Honey’s versatility is endless, spanning the bathroom vanity, the gym and even the medicine cabinet. Honey is a humectant, meaning it attracts and retains moisture, thus giving your skin a natural glow and the perfect ingredient to add to your beauty routine. Honey is also an effective and all-natural energy booster, containing approximately 17 grams of carbohydrates per tablespoon. Finally, honey has been used for centuries as a natural cough suppressant, helping to soothe and relieve the irritation of a cough. All the wonderful benefits of honey could not be made possible without the incredible honey bee.
The National Honey Board is committed to finding ways to help beekeepers maintain the health of their honey bees and was among the first to provide funding for Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) research in early 2007. Since 2004, the National Honey Board has funded multiple honey bee health research projects every year, which can be found on their website. The National Honey Board is an industry-funded agriculture promotion group that works to educate consumers about the benefits and uses for honey and honey products through research, marketing and promotional programs.

Kauai Honey Bee. Daniel Lane photo.

Kauai Honey Bee. Daniel Lane photo.

Four Great Reasons to Celebrate Honey

The Secret’s in the Sauce
Honey is a culinary staple-loved for its rich color, flavorful sweetness and countless uses in the kitchen. All-Purpose Honey Teriyaki Sauce strikes the perfect balance of sweet and savory flavor that’s great for chicken, fish, beef, pork and veggies, too. Use it as a dipping sauce for kids’ chicken tenders and healthy snacks like carrot sticks, celery and cucumbers.
Beauty and the Bees
Honey has always been touted by beauty experts as “liquid gold” in the industry. Now, research supports that it’s an effective moisturizer” As a natural humectant, honey attracts and retains moisture, helping keep skin soft and supple. Honey also helps fight bacteria: it is antimicrobial properties work to keep skin clear and breakout-free. Pamper yourself with this do-it-yourself Cucumber Honey Eye Nourisher.
Natural, Affordable Way to Soothe a Cough
Did you know that emerging research supports honey as a natural cough suppressant?’ Just a small dose of honey given before bedtime provided the greatest improvement of nighttime cough and sleep difficulty in children over one year of age compared to dextromethorphan and no treatment. Try this Honey Cough Syrup recipe. Honey is recommended for children over the age of one.
The Natural Energizer
Honey has long been used by athletes as a quick pick-me-up because of its carbohydrate count. With about 17 grams of carbohydrates and 64 calories per tablespoon, honey is an ideal natural energy booster for athletes, fitness lovers and busy moms alike. Sports Dietitian Mitzi Dulan, RD, CSSD, suggests adding one tablespoon of honey to water for a budget-friendly sports drink.

Fresh honeycomb from Ein Rogel Farm. Daniel Lane photo

Fresh honeycomb from Ein Rogel Farm. Daniel Lane photo


Honey on Kauai
Saturday, Aug. 16, is National Honey Bee Day and members of the Kauai Beekeepers Association will be selling their award-winning honey at the Kauai Community Market and Kauai Community College. There will also be a honey tasting on Aug. 21 at the Kauai County Farm Bureau Fair, where you can buy honey as well.
Joyce Takahashi of Miki Macs Honey is a Kauai Beekeepers Association member. She has won several awards from the Hawaiian Natural Honey Challenge sponsored by the Big Island Beekeepers Association. Her awards include:

  • 2013 Best Liquid Tropical Multifloral Medium Dark Amber – Kauai
  • 2013 Best Comb Honey – Kauai
  • 2013 People’s Choice Comb Honey
  • 2012 Best Mac Plus Honey
  • 2012 Best Appearance
  • 2012 Best Texture
  • 2012 High Point – Best Mac Nut Comb Honey
  • 2011 Best Aroma, Liquid Category
  • 2010 Best in Show: Liquid Honey

“The first year the Honey Challenge was held was 2010,” says Joyce. “We submitted our honey and won ‘Best in Show’ for liquid honey. We were stunned and overjoyed, to say the least. Subsequently, we have entered every year since and have consistently won awards each year.  As you may know, the Hawaii Island produces the most honey in Hawaii.”

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