By: Ann Harman
September is National Honey Month! So it is a perfect time to have a party celebrating honey. And since September is the month when we say goodbye to summer the honey party could be held outside with interesting things fixed on the barbeque. The local bee club could certainly have a party. In an urban or suburban location a honey party could be a way to introduce the neighborhood to honey cookery.
To make this meal a real celebration of honey, every dish has to contain honey. Now before you say ‘aaaccckkk – too sweet!’ remember that many dishes made with honey are not sweet – the honey, in small quantities, enhances the flavor without a sweet taste. Besides the quantities of honey can be as small as a tablespoon and each dish will have different flavorings, even some quite spicy.
Beekeepers usually have honey cookbooks handy but non-beekeepers do not. Well, ask them what sort of dish they would like to make and give them a honey recipe for it. In that way you have introduced them to the delights of cooking with honey. You might make some new customers that way.
Here are some recipes for your honey BBQ banquet. All of them are from the National Honey Board. Visit the website frequently to find new recipes – http://www.honey.com
This is a handy recipe that can be used as appetizer or something to nibble on during the honey party.
Caramelized Nuts With Honey And Chile Pequin Pepper
¼ cup honey
3 cups mixed nuts, plain
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon chili pequin pepper or powdered cayenne pepper
Heat honey and butter in a pot (thick-based pot works best) over low heat, stirring with a spatula until blended. Add the pepper and salt. Add nuts, stirring every so often to make sure the honey covers them completely. Place the coated nuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, making sure to leave enough space between them so they do not stick together. Let stand until cool. Heat the oven to 250°F and bake the nuts for 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven. Let stand until cool and serve.
Sparkling Honey Fruit Spritzer
You can make two or three batches, one without wine, one with red wine and another with white wine.
1/3 cup honey
1 cup frozen berries (strawberries, raspberries, etc.)
1 lime, thinly sliced
1 orange, halved and thinly sliced
3 cups orange juice
(red or white wine can be added to taste)
3 cups sparkling water
Combine honey, berries, citrus slices and orange juice and wine (if used) in large pitcher. Using a wooden spoon, press down on the fruit to juice and to mix the fruit with the honey. Cover and refrigerate for two hours or longer. Add sparkling water and ice when ready to serve.
Honey BBQ-Marinated Chicken Drumsticks
(you could also use the wing drumettes)
1 pound chicken drumsticks
½ cup ketchup
½ cup honey
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon crushed peppercorns
¼ teaspoon hot chili sauce
salt, to taste
Place chicken in large shallow dish or large plastic bag. Combine the rest of the ingredients and pour over chicken. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Prepare to grill; then grill to desired doneness.
Bees In The Garden Coleslaw
Here is a variation on ordinary coleslaw that would be a good accompaniment to the barbequed chicken. This recipe will make 8 to 10 servings.
1 head green cabbage, shredded
1 medium green pepper, diced
½ cup diced sweet red pepper
½ cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon celery seeds
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Toss cabbage and peppers in large bowl. Combine rest of ingredients in medium bowl, then toss with cabbage mixture. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
For a dessert you could make some honey cookies or make this sauce to serve with ice cream, pound cake or sliced fruit.
Honey Strawberry Puree
2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor; process until smooth. Makes two cups.
Now you need some ice cream to put the sauce on. The nice thing about honey ice cream is that it should not be kept in freezer too long, several weeks, because it tends to get rubbery. So, make it and eat it!
Honey Ice Cream
2 cups milk
¾ cup honey
2 eggs beaten
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla
Heat milk in medium saucepan over medium heat but do not boil; stir in honey and salt. Pour small amount of hot liquid into eggs; stir and quickly return to milk mixture. Cook and stir over medium-low heat five minutes. Cool thoroughly at room temperature. Stir in cream and vanilla. Refrigerate until cold. Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. Makes about five cups.
If you decide not to do a honey banquet, how about having a honey tasting? This could be a fun meeting of your local bee club, as well as for an afternoon party. If you are familiar with the descriptions of wine then be aware that honey now also has those descriptions. If you plan on a honey tasting have a copy of The Honey Connoisseur by C. Marina Marchese and Kim Flottum available. See if you agree with the descriptions in the book. You can have some plastic coffee stirrers available for tasting or some of the tiny plastic spoons. You will need some small paper cups and water (do recycle the paper cups).
Where will you get the honey for the tasting? If you are doing this for friends who are not beekeepers perhaps you can borrow or buy some small jars from other beekeepers. No matter who the tasting partygoers are (beekeepers or not), go ahead and buy some honey, both from your local supermarket and from some specialty shops. If you can find a few jars from different countries the tasting party will be even more fun.
If you live in an area with abundant September plants, pick a few blossoms that are pollinator friendly and make a bouquet for the table. Packets of seeds for pollinator plants are plentiful and could be given to guests who wish to plant more pollinator friendly flowers next season. If the guests at the honey banquet are not beekeepers, be sure they go home with a souvenir two-ounce bear of your honey.
National Honey Month is not just for beekeepers – it is for everyone!
Ann Harman keeps her bees, cooks with honey and teaches others about bees and honey at her home in Flint Hill, Virginia.