Thursday, September 1, 2016

September is National Honey Month - Thank You Bees!

The Bee Local booth
at Feast Portland
Happy National Honey Month! In our area the best honey is sourced locally, even from hives on top of buildings in urban Portland. I became so much more aware of honey… good honey from the folks at Bee Local. Bee Local focuses on pure honey. They know where the honey is from and how it is produced. The company was founded in 2011 by Damian Magista after discovering honey from hives in various urban Portland neighborhoods have completely different flavor profiles, colors, and textures. Bee Local has since become a national brand.

So let’s celebrate National Honey Month! For centuries, mankind and the honeybee have forged a truly unique partnership. The sweetness that they bring has been harnessed in kitchens the world over as one of the most versatile ingredients. The labor of the bee has not gone unnoticed, which is why each September brings National Honey Month – a time to celebrate the boundless splendors of their work!

Beyond its place in our cupboard for tea or toast, honey is one of the more uniquely adaptable ingredients. As a humectant, it attracts and retains moisture, making it ideal for everything from fluffy pancakes to chewy breakfast bars and flavorful piecrust. The moisture-rich properties of this “one-ingredient-wonder” and its eternal shelf life can help extend freshness in baked goods while adding natural sweetness. Plus, as an emulsifier, honey can be used as a thickening agent for sauces, dressings and dips.
At the Feast Portland welcome event last year, Chef Mei Lin
created a milk and honey buttermilk sorbet using Bee Local honey.

Aside from its wide array of applications, honey itself has a diverse range of types with over 300 varietals in the U.S. alone. Just as a wine’s terroir reflects its origin, honey’s spectrum of flavor, smell and hue all stem from its floral source.

The flower of a California Avocado, for instance, produces bold, smoky nectar with a molasses-like viscosity that is well suited for use in dressings and sauces. Found along the coast of California or throughout the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Sage honey is noted for its pale coloring and delicately mild yet sweet profile that is the perfect complement to strong cheeses. 

Moving across the country, honey from the Sourwood tree—typically found in the Appalachian Mountains spanning from southern Pennsylvania to northern Georgia—has a sweet, spicy, anise aroma and lingering aftertaste. Its versatility makes it a highly valued ingredient for myriad uses from glazes to marinades. And along the East Coast, honey from a Cranberry yields a pungent, subtle tartness with lightly floral notes – all of which are excellent when paired with pork, bird or fish.

Well beyond the standard clover, wildflower, tupelo or even orange blossom honeys, the list of regionally reflective and plant specific varietals goes on and on!

This September, celebrate the gifts of the honeybee and all the buzz-worthy ways it makes the world a little bit sweeter! For recipes with honey, cooking tips, tricks and more, visit the National Honey Board’s website at