The Honey Age
Here are some fun facts to give you a taste of the important role honey has played in civilization:
The ancient healers also recognized honey for its antioxidant properties in fighting disease, including cancer. It has been used for thousands of years as a treatment for sore throats and coughs (it’s a natural expectorant), and according to recent research, may in fact be more effective than some OTC medicines. Combine honey with lemon juice and heat until warm, then consume slowly to coat the throat and ease discomfort. Honey can also be used as an effective antimicrobial agent to treat minor burns, cuts, and other bacterial infections.
soften hard ulcers of the lips, heal carbuncles and running sores."
(Greek physician who lived to the ripe youthful age of 115, c. 460-375 BC)
Built in the 4th century BC, the ancient healing spa Asklepieion (Ἀσκληπιεῖον), named after the god of healing and medicine, Aesculapius, boasted a honey therapy that was renowned throughout all of the Mediterranean.
(Greek philosopher who lived to the age of 109, c. 460-370 BC)
Bee My Honey
You can find honey in three basic forms: comb honey (with the liquid still in the comb), chunk-style honey (honey with pieces of comb in the jar), and liquid honey (extracted from the comb and often pasteurized to prevent crystallization). Pasteurizing changes the delicate flavor of the honey but isn’t needed to preserve it…keep in mind that crystallization is not a bad thing (for info on re-liquefying honey, check next week's part 2 of our honey blog). Commercial honeys can be overly processed and may contain sugar, completely altering the taste of something that needs no alteration.
In Karpathos, it comes from family-owned bee farms and is extracted from their own honeycombs. Greek honey is especially high in vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, and minerals.
For more Karpathian/Greek recipes, check out our new cookbooks Kukla’s Kouzina: A Gourmet Journey~Greek Island Style, Meze (Appetizers & Petite Plates) and Spreads & Dips, available on Amazon. These are the first two books in a series that we have developed and we’re excited to see this dream become reality! For details about the books and us, go to our BOOKS page.
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Kali orexi! Good appetite!
ALERT: Special attention should be given to the fact that bee colonies are collapsing and certain bee species, like the patched bumblebee, are in danger of extinction. The recent rise in bee deaths has been linked to increased use of pesticides and insecticides in the United States. If the bees die, we eventually die. To learn more about this crisis and what you can do, visit NRDC. Together, we can save the bees!
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