Bees are great. Not only do they produce some amazingly nutritious foods that we can enjoy, but it's safe to say that without the humble bee, life on Earth would not be the same.
Albert Einstein is often quoted as saying "If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live."
In truth, there's no record of him having actually said it, but putting that aside, bees are vital to the survival of many species ont he planet, including Humans. Simply because they are responsible for the pollination of so many flowers and from there so much of the food that we and other species eat.
We all know that bees collect pollen as they go round drinking nectar from flowers. But not many of us know what happens next and as is often the case with bees, they done something amazing. They turn it in to bread!bee pollen or bee bread. The resulting bee pollen is more nutritious than the untreated pollen and is the primary source of protein for the hive.
The exact nutritional breakdown for bee pollen varies greatly, from day to day even in the same hive, depending on which flowers are in season and being visited by the bees. However an average sample will contain something like '55% carbohydrates, 35% proteins, 3% minerals and vitamins, 2% fatty acids, and 5% of diverse other components'.
In the same way that some people are allergic to certain pollens, the same is also true for some when it comes to bee pollen.
Raw honey by contrast is never heated and only filtered multiple times to remove impurities. The result is a better quality honey with much more nutrition and health benefits.
We're lucky that we have a superb supply of wonderful local Wiltshire raw honey from Colham Organic Farm, near Castle Combe.
Used for centuries to treat wounds and infections, honey went out of favour in the 20th Century with the rise of manmade pharmaceuticals. More recent studies have shown that even small amounts of honey halted one type of streptococcus pyogenes from inhibiting the healing of wounds.
Honey is largely made up of a mix of glucose and fructose, a typical water content of 18% or less and around 2% vitamins, minerals, proteins and other nutrients. The low water content helps to make honey very resistant to spoiling. The vitamins are typically B6, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and certain amino acids. The minerals include calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc.
We love raw honey and pollen so much, that we have one or the other (or both) most days. Our day will usually start with a super smoothie containing raw cacao nibs and bee pollen. Take our Super Breakfast Smoothie recipe and add in a spoon or two of bee pollen.