|The Wonder of Bees|
Bees are amazing creatures and mankind has a long and ongoing relationship with them. Since the earliest times humans have collected honey. A cave painting found in Valencia, Spain, from approximately 10 000 years ago shows two female honey-hunters collecting honey and honeycomb from a wild bee nest. The way that the hunters are depicted is very similar to the way honey hunters in India and Nepal still collect honey today. This 10 000 year relationship is something to be celebrated and we hope that the information on this page will highlight some of the wonder of bees. If you have anything wondrous that you think we should include please do let us know!
Things to do with honey
Honey is an amazing thing and can be used in a variety of ways. Of course, food and drink that utilises honey is known for being delicious but honey has a variety of medicinal uses as well. Recently the antibacterial and antiseptic qualities of honey have been explained although this type of use has been recognised in traditional Indian medicine for centuries. Below are a selection of recipes that use honey, with links for good places to source your honey from:
The Urban Honey Collective
The collective is the web site that allows the consumer to find a beekeeper in their local area. All you need to do is find your area on the honey map. You will find any listed beekeepers or beekeeping groups in your area with their contact details. It doesn't get more locally sourced than this!
The London Honey Company
The finest honey from hives located across London and the UK.
The Golden Company
The Golden Company is an award-winning social enterprise based in East London. They work with young people and nature, developing a business caring for bees and producing natural cosmetics and honey.
Nick's granddad's hot toddy
This is perhaps the most straightforward recipe but has also been used as a traditional remedy for colds and flu. We can't make any assurances that it will work but it is surely worth trying!
1 large tsp good quality honey, preferably from a local hive
1 large measure of whisky (rum or brandy will work but is not as traditional)
A couple of slices of lemon
1 stick of cinnamon
Mix the honey and the whisky (or other) in a mug. Add the cinnamon stick. Top up with water just off the boil and use the cinnamon stick to stir. Add the sliced lemon and add extra lemon juice if it is too sweet. Drink while still hot.
Honey Health Bar
recipe from world class baker Aidan Chapman of the Phoenix Bakery in Weymouth
This recipe makes quite a lot so adjust to suit your needs!
2lb jumbo oats
4oz chopped dates
4oz chopped apricots
2oz linseed, millet seed mix
8 whole ripe bananas
8oz runny honey
Juice of two oranges
1 pint of water
Mix bananas to a smooth batter
Add oats, seeds and fruit
Pour in water, juice and honey
Mix together to form a loose batter
Line a roasting tray with parchment paper. Pour in your mix.
Pat top down so it’s smooth on top.
Place into a pre heated oven gas mark 8, 220 deg c
Bake for 25 minutes turning once
Take out of oven and cool for 10mins
Cut into bar size pieces
Leave to cool for further 20mins
Ideal as a breakfast or lunchtime snack, or when out hiking or cycling.
Store in the fridge for up to one week.
Bees in literature
Given our ongoing relationship with bees it is hardly surprising that they crop up frequently in our literature. The following is a small selection of bee related quotes that we have found. We would love to expand this section so if you have any favourite quotes, saying, phrases or poems that you would like to see here please do contact us and we will include them.
“For so work the honey-bees, creatures that by a rule in nature teach the act of order to a peopled kingdom.” - William Shakespeare
“When the bee comes to your house, let her have beer; you may want to visit the bee's house some day.” - Congo Proverb
What do you suppose?
A bee sat on my nose.
Then what do you think?
He gave me a wink
And said, "I beg your pardon,
I thought you were the garden." - English Rhyme
“The only reason for making a buzzing-noise that I know of is because you're a bee...The only reason for being a bee that I know of is making honey....and the only reason for making honey is so I can eat it.” - Winnie the Pooh in A.A. Milne's 'The House at Pooh Corner'
The happiness of the bee and the dolphin is to exist. For man it is to know that and to wonder at it. - Jacques Yves Cousteau
"I have found out rather painfully that love moves mysteriously through the ways of the stomach, almost like bees, but the game has turned sour like the bees Issac Babel writes about in Red Cavalry."
"Those bees did not know what to do after their hives had been blown up by the soldiers. 'The Sacred Republic of the Bees' was reduced to nothing but anarchy and tatters. The bees circled and died in the air."
Both of the above are from 'A Confederate General from Big Sur' by Richard Brautigan. The quotes were kindly sent to us by Charlotte Davies.
Sadly we don't yet have a PAN UK beehive. Beekeeping is of vital importance in maintaining a healthy honey bee population and for ensuring that honey bees can carry out the vital pollination function that they do. And without beekeepers there would be a lot less honey available for all of us to enjoy.
Beekeepers were amongst the first to notice and to feel the effects of the declining bee populations. As such many amongst them have been at the forefront of the fight to help save our bees and other pollinators. The following are links to some of these amazing people where you can find out what they are doing, read about their concerns and find out how you can help them or start keeping bees yourself.
Natural Beekeeping Trust
The Natural Beekeeping Trust aims to promote awareness of sustainable beekeeping which is determined by our understanding of the essential needs of the bees.
Capital Bee is part of the Capital Growth campaign and is aimed at promoting community beekeeping across London.
The Barefoot Beekeeper
This site is about sustainable, low-impact, low-cost, chemical-free, small-scale, 'organic', natural beekeeping, using simple equipment that almost anyone can make at home.