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Buzzing off...Back to the HIVE

As the end of summer approaches, so does my tenure at UC Davis as the Honey and Pollination Center director.

In the late fall of 2012, I became the founding director of the Center. Honestly, I had no idea what I was going to do! Things changed quickly, and soon, I was involved in way more programs than I ever thought possible. Everything was about improving the use and understanding of honey or helping folks learn more about bees and pollinators.

Varietal Honey Library

Honey Center Varietal Honey Library is a tool to help honey educators and lovers understand what each floral source looks like and where it might be found in the United States, North America, or the world. It is far from complete – and because so many plants have been carried throughout the world, it may not be geographically consistent. It is the start of a massive project. Please make use of the information and the pictures.

It's all about EXCELLENCE!

Mead: Excellence and Quality Assurance is lining up to be a most outstanding and educational program to be held this coming June 1-4, 2023.

Join the Honey and Pollination Center, the Mead Institute, faculty from UC Davis's Departments of Food Science and Technology and Viticulture and Enology, as well as experts in their chosen fields.

Honey Cardamom Pear Sangria

For a fabulous New Year’s treat try this wonderful Sangria brought to you by the National Honey Board.

Yield: Makes 8 servings

1 (700ml) bottle - Pinot Grigio
1/2 cup - elderflower liqueur
1/2 cup - pear liqueur
2 cups - pear juice
1/2 cup - water
1/2 cup - honey
1 tsp. - cardamom bitters
2 - pears, sliced
1 cup - fresh cranberries
Ginger ale for serving

Mead Courses, Now Open!

It’s that time of year again – you can now sign up for the 2023 Introduction to Making Mead and the Mead Making Boot Camp courses!

These courses make terrific holiday gifts for those who are interested in a deep dive into making the world’s oldest alcoholic beverage.
Boot Camp: Thursday, February 2
Introduction to Making Mead: Friday and Saturday, February 3 and 4

Honey Spice Cookies

Our sweet and spicy gift to you for being such wonderful supporters over the year is ‘Honey spice cookies’ directly from Amina’s kitchen.

Throughout the year, I search for recipes with honey. Adapted from a traditional molasses spice cookie, I assumed it would be almost identical to substituting honey. It’s better. I make these little delights small, so folks can have a few and genuinely enjoy all the exotic flavors of the recipe.

Honey Spice Cookies

Makes about 48 2” cookies

California Honey Festival Donation

The California Honey Festival has made a $10,000 donation to the Honey and Pollination Center to help the Center continue its work to research quality and healthy bees. In the photo are Festival Committee members: Al Eby, Jordan Waldron, Nick Waldron; Davis Development officer, Abigail McCullough; Director of the Center and coordinator of the UC Davis presence at the Festival, Amina Harris and Director of the Robert Mondavi Institute, Dr. Andrew Waterhouse.

Mocktails & Cocktails, with Honey!

There has been a serious proliferation of honey-based drinks featured in the newspaper, magazines and the web. In the realm of those based in alcohol, traditional recipes simply replace the sugar simple syrup used to sweeten the drink with one made from honey. In others, the crafter has gotten a bit more creative trying to figure out what spirit would blend well with honey – and sometimes which honey. It is amazing to see how many different restaurants have a specialty drink called ‘The Bees Knees’. And how different each and everyone is from the other.

Buzzing Back through COVID - Spring Events

It is a dry springtime out here in California and the almond blossoms are bursting on the branches. Honey bees are doing their jobs pollinating and re-energizing their hives. And, similarly, the Center is re-energizing for a very active season. We will be everywhere!

Milestones & Future Goals

Throughout the pandemic, many of us have been reassessing our work and programs. This has happened within the Honey and Pollination Center, too.  As we move into 2022, with close to ten years of work, the Center has begun to refine and rethink our vision and mission. Our emphasis will be shifting into educating and promoting pure, unadulterated honey while addressing the needs and challenges of the beekeeping and honey packing industries.

This Year's Food Story: Seasonings

This year’s food story is herbs and seasonings - all kinds of regional aromatic mixes from all over the globe. Think za-atar from the Middle East, ras al hanout from North Africa, furikake from Japan, and adobo from the Latin/Caribbean countries. The blends are wonderful! Especially if you are willing to make them fresh (think Ottolenghi) and many of them combine cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, allspice – exotic and wonderful. Intriguing too is that so many of these recipes use honey to boost the flavor.

September is National Honey Month

Each year, as this time of year comes around, it brings out an opportunity to reflect on cycles of our world. Last winter, bees of all types were hunkered down in their nests or hives. Come February, here in California at least, the early blooms start to break ground. By the middle of the month, almonds are in full bloom up and down the state. Bees feed on the nectar and pollen of the abundant and beautiful almond blossoms.

Celebrating Mead!

In celebration of Mead Day August 7th, the Center is excited to announce the re-entering of on-site mead education field this coming winter. It has been a long time coming!

Frozen Honey

Frozen honey has gone viral, becoming a new trendy snack that’s perfect for the summer.

For those of you who follow unique food trends (aka experiments) Frozen Honey, also referred to as Frozen Honey Jelly, has now taken center stage on TikTok.

For those in the industry, there is nothing new about frozen honey. Freezing honey is the best way to ensure it retains its natural flavor, color and purity.

That said, some forms of honey are always best stored in the freezer.

It's Iced Tea Season!

As summer approaches, the need for liquid intake increases. Many resort to a refreshingly simple iced tea.

You’ve made your brew. Perhaps you let a grouping of tea bags sit in the summer sun. Or maybe you boiled some water and immersed your tea ball. Black, green or herbal – no matter - the pitcher is in the fridge cooling down.

Soon you will be able to add some ice, a sprig of mint and a bit of sweetener.