The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services asks, “What better time to celebrate one of nature’s simplest pleasures – honey – than during September, Virginia Honey Month?” Because honey is a pure, natural product and now more than ever, many people are looking for natural ingredients, Governor Terence R. McAuliffe has declared the entire month of September as Honey Month.
Honey is a back-to-basic food that people can feel good about using in both culinary applications, as well as finding new and innovative ways to use it. It is an energy booster. A teaspoon of honey with lemon water on an empty stomach kicks up the metabolic rate. Honey possesses antibacterial and antioxidant properties that can improve digestive processes and boost immunity, and a glass of warm milk with honey at night helps fight insomnia.
Keith Tignor, State Apiarist at VDACS, says, “In recognition of honey’s delicious flavor, its medicinal properties and its versatility, I hope every Virginia will do something this month to recognize the importance of honey and to take actions that will ensure a continued supply of this super food and its maker, the honey bee.”
Tignor suggests the following actions that can give Honey Month celebrations a lasting impact:
- Do something to help sustain Virginia’s honey bee population.
o Plant a pollinator garden with a diversity of nectar and pollen sources (fws.gov/pollinators/pollinatorpages/yourhelp.html#garden)
o Become a beekeeper. Beginner classes are sponsored by a number of local beekeeper groups around the state. Contact a group near you from the Virginia State Beekeepers Association website (virginiabeekeepers.org/map/node).
o Build a nesting site for native bees (fws.gov/pollinators/pollinatorpages/yourhelp.html#bee).
- Invite friends and neighbors for a honey-themed dinner or picnic. You could start with Greek Apples and Honey, a recipe that serves four with no cooking required. Ingredients include 6 – 8 Macintosh apples, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 2-3 tablespoons of honey (or to taste), 2-3 tablespoons coarsely chopped walnuts. Wash apples. Dry well. Peel, if desired, and core. Slice 1/4 inch thick. Toss with lemon juice. Arrange apples on serving platter. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with walnuts.* You’ll find other recipes for main and side dishes, appetizers and desserts at vdacs.virginia.gov/vagrown/recipes.shtml#honey.
(*Recipe courtesy of Karla Jones Seidita, Home Economist. Used by permission. For more, visit www.CheesecakeFarms.com)