Thursday, March 22, 2007

Previous Slow Food St Louis Events: Honey Tasting

Profound thanks to Lynn Krause for allowing us to hold the honey tasting at the Viking Store. We tasted 30 honeys from around the world. But prior to the tasting Joy Stinger presented a brief lecture on the life of a beekeeper and her bees. To the startled amusement of all she donned her beekeeper suit .

Lynn Krause prepared chicken breasts rolled in panko, sautéed and then finished in the oven. This was served with honey mustard and a honey balsamic vinegar reduction. To allow us a taste comparison, she prepared one batch of oatmeal cookies made with honey the other with sugar. This was accompanied by mead, the honey wine drink. While eating we viewed the slide show 90 year old Jim McCaskill had put together years ago. It has been converted to a DVD. In a league with the Disney nature pictures of yore, the slides were intensely beautiful. Pam C., Lana S. and Julie N. won the door prizes of bottles of honey.

  • The Mesozoic Era, approximately 100,000,000 years ago, brought flowers and bees first appeared among the insects.
  • The earliest known record of honey collecting is from a 7,000 BC cave painting in Spain.
  • Hives were placed on rafts in Egypt and floated down the Nile for pollination purposes as well as honey production.
  • Honey was used in the embalming process for pharaohs.
  • The Greek god of beekeeping was Aristaeus.
  • One tablespoon of honey contains 65 calories.
  • American Indians called honeybees “white man’s fly” as the European bees spread ahead of European man.
  • Bees and their kin do not see red; red flowers are pollinated by birds.
  • The fertile eggs the queen lays become workers. The infertile eggs she lays become the drones, whose only function is to fertilize the queen, so the drone has a grandfather but no father!
  • Future queens are created by feeding the eggs and larvae royal jelly.
  • Multiple queen cells are created but when the first queen appears from her cell, she kills the other queen larvae in their cells. (There can be circumstances when this does not happen.)
  • The only poisonous honey is produced from Mt Laurel blossoms and contains andromedotoxin. (Any mystery writers out there?)
  • Statistics: One bee would fly 3 earth orbits using 1 oz. of honey for fuel to collect enough nectar to produce one pound of honey.
  • Honey is/has been used in golf balls, shaving creams, shampoos, gear lubricants, chewing gum and tobacco.
  • Below 45 degrees bees become paralyzed if not within their hive.
  • Scent organs are located on the bee’s antennae; queens have 2,000 organs, workers 6,000 and drones 30,000.
  • A queen may lay up to 5,000 eggs at her peak, 1,500 to 2,000 is normal.
  • Bees were used in wars: Henry I hurled bees among the horses of the Duke of Lorraine during their dispute. In WWI the German troops in East Africa used bees to fight the British.
  • If this has tweaked the interest of any of you, a good book to read is The Golden Throng by Edwin Way Teale.