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    Smiley Honey News

    Where Can I Get Some Good Nordic Grog?

    According to "biomolecular archeologists", grog was a common drink 3,000 years ago in Scandinavia. Researchers collected residue samples from pottery shards, drinking vessels and strainers found at four different dig sites in southern Sweden and Denmark. A variety of chemical analysis techniques were used to determine that this residue was from a complex, fermented drink containing honey, bog cranberry, lingonberry, bog myrtle, yarrow, juniper, birch tree resin, and grains (wheat, barley and/or rye). Apparently, back around 1,500 BC, a roaring fire and a cup of grog helped Northern Europeans to stay warm during the long winter nights. Grog production slowly died out during the Roman Empire as trade increased and wine from Southern Europe became widely available. Specialty brewer Dogfish Head recently crafted a brew with similar ingredients to the old-fashioned grog which they call Kvasir: http://www.dogfish.com/brews-spirits/the-brews/occasional-rarities/kvasir/index.htm

    Wedding Season

    Spring and summer mean many things -- including more weddings. If you know of anyone who is getting married, then please let them know about our honey wedding favors. Many couples choose "Tupelo Honey" by Van Morrison as their first song, and then give out tupelo honey favors to their guests. We can provide the jars labeled or unlabeled and then let the couple add a more personal touch. We can also bottle any of our other honey varieties - wildflower, holly or orange blossom. These favors are a good fit for all wedding themes, but are perfect for rustic and farmhouse weddings, which are currently very popular.

    Simply Delicious

    My nephew was visiting this past weekend, and I needed a quick and easy snack to keep him happy until dinner. I thought of this combination on the fly, and it was amazingly good: cut a fresh, crusty french baguette into small slices, spread some plain goat cheese on each piece, and then add a drizzle of tupelo honey. The combination of flavors is simply delicious. I made a plate of a dozen pieces, and they were gone in a couple minutes. (Tip: remove the goat cheese from the fridge and let soften for a few minutes before spreading.)

    Visions of Honeybees Dance in My Head

    In the November 28, 2013 edition of The Washington Post, journalist Adrian Higgins wrote a great piece about honeybees, which he titled "Visions of Honeybees Dance in My Head". I would post a link, but the Washington Post now requires a subscription for online viewing. So here are a few excerpts:

    Honeybees always seem urgent, but their industriousness comes with an extra edge at this time of year. They are driven to get themselves through the winter. [S]ome will make it, but many will not.

    Honeybees have been around for a while, even if they came to North America with the early European settlers, so you might think they have this overwintering thing down pat. Not so. We live in tough times for honeybees and their human stewards - this wonderful insect is afflicted as never before with a stew of pests and diseases that have brought on a malaise.

    Higgins goes on to discuss the challenges of nursing a colony of bees through the winter. He also notes that beekeepers are now coming to believe that breeding and using local queens, rather that using queens bred out of state, is a better option.  Higgins sums up his thoughts with:

    Thus, the dance between the bee and beekeeper is both fluid and fraught. The more I see other beekeepers, the more I sense that this art cannot be learned wholly as much as experienced.

    Thank you, Mr. Higgins.

    Photo Credit: www.washingtonpost.com


    Raw Honey, Allergies and Colds

    DeForest Clinton Jarvis graduated from the University of Vermont Medical College in 1904 and opened a private medical clinic in Barre, Vermont in 1909. The story is told that not many patients were coming into his office, and he wanted to know why. When he started asking around, the locals replied that they always used home remedies for their illnesses. Only when such remedies failed did they seek out a doctor. For Dr. Jarvis, that started a life-long study of home remedies, eventually leading to the publication of his best-selling book "Folk Medicine" in 1958. Two of the ingredients that receive a lot of attention in his book are honey and apple cider vinegar. In the chapter on honey, Dr. Jarvis wrote: "Honeycomb is excellent for treating certain disturbances of the breathing tract. The value of chewing honeycomb applies especially to the lining of the entire breathing tract. In addition to chewing the comb, eating honey each day is also part of the treatment."  Later in the chapter, Dr. Jarvis advises: "Vermont folk medicine divides hay fever into three classes: mild, moderately severe and severe. Its treatment is both preventative and symptomatic. If honeycomb cappings are chewed once a day for one month before the expected hay fever date, the hay fever will either not appear or will be mild in character."

    At Smiley Honey, we cannot give you medical advice, but we can pass along comments and anecdotes from our customers. Over the years, a number of customers have reported that eating raw honey has done wonders for their allergies. This comment from May 2013 is fairly typical: "I take tupelo honey every day for allergies and have not sneezed from hay fever or been unable to breathe for a couple of years! Plus it just tastes so good! I have turned my sisters into users and have told many friends about it."

    As for treating colds, we highly recommend a daily dose of some rooibos herbal tea with one or two teaspoons each of raw honey and unfiltered apple cider vinegar. You can adjust the ratio of honey and vinegar to suit your tastes. Allow the hot tea to cool down some before adding the honey as hot water can degrade the beneficial properties of raw honey. Dr. Jarvis (mentioned above) is a huge advocate of apple cider vinegar. This honey and vinegar combination gives a real boost to your immune system. You may find (as we have) that by drinking this tea/honey/vinegar blend every day, you can go cold-free for an entire winter season, or even an entire year! (Note: Celestial Seasonings makes a very good and reasonably priced rooibos tea. It can be found in most larger grocery stores.)

    If you have successfully treated your pollen allergies or colds with honey and/or honeycomb, we would love to hear from you. Post your comment on our Smiley Honey Facebook page, or send an e-mail to us at: info@smileyhoney.com