I’ve always been interested in how our foods are grown or produced, but quite frankly, had never given honey much thought. But that was prior to my recent visit to the Ozarks. There I was privileged to learn about bees and honey production from John Moore, past president of Drury University, who began beekeeping three years ago.
Upon his retirement from the university, Moore moved a few miles out of the city to his scenic farm on the James River to pursue his newfound hobby of beekeeping and other agricultural interests. Although he had left academia for agriculture, he approached it in the same vein – research, learning and networking.
He possessed a wealth of knowledge about honey – one of nature’s pure foods. As I was chatting with this energetic beekeeper, I soon was bubbling over with questions.
In a very productive year, the bees will find lots of nectar. Beekeepers will place additional boxes in the hives; those are called honey supers – it refers to being superimposed in the hives. At the end of the season, usually midsummer, beekeepers harvest the supers, leaving the brood boxes as winter food for the bees.
Wholesale companies often import honey, then package it for mass distribution. There have been concerns that some imported honey has been mixed with corn syrup. Or it may have been contaminated with sprays or illegal antibiotics.
Moore gave me with a package of pure raw comb honey – what a delicious treat. Although I cannot share that with you, I will share a recipe for honey butter. It takes only a few ingredients, is wonderful on hot breads, pancakes or waffles. For something really special, put a dollop in a hot roasted sweet potato.