March 11, 2016 0 Comments

honey bee anatomyBees 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.

Bee Pollen

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!

elements for life bee pollen
Back in the hive, the pollen is mixed with enzymes, fungi and other bacteria, before being stuffed by worker bees, using their heads, into empty cells in the hive. These act like mini ovens and the resulting product is known as 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

raw wiltshire honey from colham organic farm
Honey is best, as with most things, in it's raw minimally processed state. Commercial honeys, those typical of big brands and found in the supermarkets, as generally a blend of honey from a multitude of countries, heat treated and devoid of many of the nutrients that make up this liquid sunshine.

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.

Natural antibiotic, antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic

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 Nutrition

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.

Honey and Bee Pollen Recipes

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.

Raw honey also works really well when making your raw chocolates in place of Sweet Freedom. Our Raw Honey Chocolate recipe uses both raw honey and bee pollen and is really something different.

Do you have a favourite recipe that uses raw honey or bee pollen?

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