3 Simple Steps to Decrystallize Honey
Have you ever reached into your cupboard, ready to enjoy some natural golden sweetness, and discovered your honey has crystallized? Don’t panic. And don’t throw it out. Understand exactly what crystallization – also called granulation – is and follow these three simple steps to decrystallize your beloved sweet and make it liquid again.
How to Decrystallize Honey
Place your bottle of honey with its lid off inside a pot. Pour warm water (to preserve honey’s health properties, water should not exceed 110º F) into the pan and allow to sit until the honey melts.
In five-minute intervals remove your bottle from the pan, stir the honey and return it to the warm water. Continue this process until the honey has returned to its liquid consistency state.
After your honey has returned to its normal consistency, remove the bottle from the pan and allow your honey to cool. Tightly seal the bottle and store at cool to room temperature.
*To prevent loss of honey’s health properties, water should not reach above 110F.
What is crystallized honey?
Crystallization does not mean your honey has gone bad. In fact, it’s honey’s natural process of preserving itself, often occurring after three to six months of storage. Do not throw it out! We repeat, do not throw it out! Crystallized honey is still edible. Some even enjoy its grainy consistency as a spread on toast or as a cooking ingredient.
Many factors contribute to honey crystallization. The main reason is its ingredient composition. Honey is a highly concentrated solution of two sugars: glucose and fructose. Typically, honey contains 70 percent carbohydrates and less than 20 percent water. Since this is unbalanced, the glucose separates from the water forming the crystallized appearance.
Besides its ingredient composition, what are other factors that contribute to crystallization?
The percentage of glucose vs. fructose in the honey. If there’s a higher percentage of glucose in the honey composition, the rate of crystallization may speed up.
The temperature where the honey is stored. If honey is stored in too cold an environment the speed of crystallization can increase, including when it’s in the honeycomb. So if your honey is hiding out in your fridge, you may want to place it in your pantry.
The amount of pollen in the honey. Whether your honey is raw, semi-processed or processed will determine how fast it crystallizes, and how much pollen it contains. Pollen in honey is normal, and verifies what plants the bees were feeding on. Raw honey contains more pollen grains than processed honey and therefore it can crystallize faster.
There is nothing quite as easy as this technique.
It call comes down to pushing your tongue against the roof of your mouth and placing the thumb in between your eyebrows.
You need to pressure the area you are holding with your thumb for 20 seconds. The first results come almost immediately, followed by sinus drainage.
The nasal cavity holds a bone, also known as the Vomer bone, which is placed vertically in the cavity. Lisa De Stefano, D.O., an assistant professor at the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, assures us that this method is very successful because it allows the Vomer bone to move back and forth.
This ultimately treats congestion and empties the sinuses by draining.
The ingredient that can also help you to kill sinus infection is apple cider vinegar and 100% Raw local Honey
The marvels that apple cider vinegar brings just can’t stop rising.
Its benefits are widely appreciated by the world’s population, and in this article we present how this magical liquid can cure your sinus infection in no time!
Viruses are usually responsible for causing sinus infection, and those viruses tend to stick inside the organism even after the lungs are cleared.
Basically, the sinuses lining becomes inflamed, and this occurrence leads to chronic headaches, discomfort and pain. In some cases, a fever could happen as well.
There are numerous medications available, promising to cure sinus infection rapidly, but nothing works quite as effective as the good old apple cider vinegar.
As common as it may be, apple cider vinegar is not to be underappreciated. It can easily reduce sinus pain and brings the sinus tissue to a healthy state.
Rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber, the ACV will cease any sickness symptoms and if consumed raw and unfiltered, will provide the greatest health benefits for your body.
Aside from this, your immune system will hugely benefit from consuming apple cider vinegar- and here is how to do it:
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1/4 cup unfiltered apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon raw honey
- 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 lemon, juiced
First boil water and then combine it with apple cider vinegar in a glass. Throw in honey, cayenne pepper and stir well. Finally, add lemon juice. Consume remedy until you feel sinus pain relief.
Swarming is a natural process by which bees grow their hives. As a hive gets too crowded, the queen bee will leave the hive with approximately 40% of her staff, leaving the remaining bees behind to raise a new queen and continue on. Swarming in Ireland typically occurs in May and June, though swarms can also be seen later into the summer.
Are swarms dangerous? No! Before leaving the hive, the bees gorge on honey sustain them while scout bees look for a new home. Because they’re so full of honey, they’re very docile and often rest on a limb in a teardrop.
If you see a swarm, please don’t spray them with pesticide!
this years agenda !!!
How to Make a Gallon of Mead
March 1, 2015 by Grow Forage Cook Ferment —88 Comments
Maybe you’ve heard of mead before or maybe you haven’t, but one image that always seems to come to mind when mead is mentioned is Vikings drinking their grog. I don’t know a whole lot about Vikings, but I do know a bit about mead! Mead is a fermented honey and water mixture, some call it honey wine, and it is quite possibly the first fermented drink that humans purposefully made. Luckily for us, it’s quite easy to make! I’m going to show you how to make a gallon of mead, blueberry orange mead to be exact. Here’s what you will need to get started.
how to make mead
•2-3 pounds of honey, depending on how sweet you want to end product to be.
•Berries or fruit of any kind, fresh or frozen, about a cup
•About 10 raisins
•1 gallon jar or jug (you can reuse one that you bought for making hard cider) with it’s lid
•Airlock with rubber stopper that fits into your jar
•Big metal spoon
•A large pot (not pictured)
•Brewing sanitizer (I like One Step
I should mention right now that whenever you add fruit to a mead it’s technically called a melomel. You could also use apple cider instead of water and then you’d have what’s called a cyser. Also, this is a recipe for one gallon of mead, but I’m always of the mind that if you’re making one you might as well make two, especially if you already have two glass jugs from my hard cider recipe, as it’s really not any harder.
Alright, let’s get started! The first thing you need to do is sanitize everything! Your jug, airlock, big pot, spoon and funnel. Just follow the directions for your sanitizer and don’t throw it out until you’re totally done (just in case your dog licks the funnel or you drop your spoon).
Once that’s done put about 1/2 gallon of water (non chlorinated if possible) in your pot on medium heat. Once it’s warm, but not boiling, add the honey and stir it so it all dissolves.
how to make meadTurn the heat off. It may be a little foamy, that’s ok, just don’t boil it.
how to make meadIn the meantime, put your berries (or any fruit of your liking), orange slices (skin and all) and raisins into your jug.
how to make meadThen use your funnel and carefully pour the honey water mixture (technically called “must”) into your jar.
how to make meadTop off your jar with cold water, leaving at least 2 inches of head space on top.
homemade meadThen put the lid on your jar and gently mix everything around a bit. The next step is to add the yeast, but you need to make sure that it isn’t too hot so that you don’t kill the yeast. It should feel lukewarm, use a thermometer if you’re unsure, at least less than 90°F. Then you can add the yeast. One yeast package will make up to 5 gallons of mead, so if you’re doing 2 gallons you can just split one between the 2 jars.
how to make meadNow put the lid back on tightly and this time you’re really going to shake it up for several minutes. It’s a good workout for your arm muscles so you can skip the gym on days when you make mead!
homemade meadPut a little water in the airlock to the line, then put the rubber stopper into your jug. In a few hours, or at least by the next morning, you should see bubbles in your jar and in your airlock.
how to make meadThe whole top might get a little foamy at first, but things will settle down. I love watching all the little bubbles! Science rocks! (Can you see my hands in the reflection?)
Keep it in a cool (not cold) dark place. Mead takes longer to ferment than cider or beer, depending on the temperature it will take anywhere from 4-6 weeks. I usually give it 6 weeks to be on the safe side for bottling as you don’t want any explosions! I’ve definitely had some very champagne like mead before. You want to wait until you don’t see any bubbles and your airlock is still.
Bottling one or two gallons of mead is pretty much the same process as bottling cider. You may want to wait awhile to drink your mead as it definitely gets better with age, but I often drink it “green” (young) as I enjoy it either way. It is fun to save a couple of bottles for several months, or even a year, just to see how the taste changes with age.
If you make one gallon of mead, chances are you will soon want to make more! Lucky for you, I have also written a posts on How to Make 5 Gallons of Mead and How to Bottle 5 Gallons of Mead. I also have recipes for Wildflower Mead and Elderberry Mead that turned out delicious!
Cheers and happy mead making!
Apparently, those pesky yellow weeds in the garden can provide numerous benefits you have never been aware of. Dandelion has been used throughout the history in the treatments of numerous health issues, such as kidney disease, liver issues, appendicitis, and heartburn.
Every single part of the dandelion, from the roots to the blossoms is edible, and it is high in minerals, like zinc, iron and potassium, and vitamins D, C, A, and B. Moreover, its consumption provides numerous benefits, such as:
- according to research, dandelion extract strengthens the immune function and fights off microbes.
- its leaves contain even more beta carotene than carrots, so they boost eye health.
- high in antioxidants, which prevents cancer, premature aging, and other illnesses due to oxidative stress.
- Animal studies provided evidence that the root and leaves regulate cholesterol.
- It also promotes digestion, as found at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Its root can act as a mild laxative, and fresh or dried dandelion boost the appetite and settle the stomach.
- It acts as a diuretic and thus helps the function of the kidneys to eliminate excess water, salt, and waste by increasing the production of urine. This may be the explanation of the popular claims among children that in case you pick this flower, you will wet the bed!
- prevent cognitive decline and strengthens the bones- The dandelion greens provide 535% of the recommended daily value of vitamin K
- according to a study conducted in 2011, the tea of its root may induce leukemia cells to die, but it does not affect the healthy cells.
These are 24 amazing uses of this plant:
Health and Beauty
This plant is effective in the treatment of minor skin issues, and it soothes inflammation and pain. Pain Relieving Oil
Dandelion efficiently alleviates joint pain and aching muscles. You should infuse dandelion flowers in an oil and rub onto the painful joints and muscles or painful areas. You should put fresh dandelion leaves in a mason jar and pour some base oil, such as olive or sweet almond oil to the top of the jar. Leave it for 14 days to infuse and then strain it. Decant the oil into a sterilized jar and keep it in the fridge.
Pain Relieving Salve
You can pour the infused oil into a soothing balm. You can also mix the infused oil with some beeswax, pout their combination into a jar or a tin and leave it to cool.
This plant can effectively remove warts as its stems, roots and leaves contain a white sticky resin. This sap should be applied on the warts several times a day and they will soon be eliminated.
This lotion will help you in the case of dry and cracked skin as it will moisturize it and soothe inflammation. You should mix some infused dandelion oil with beeswax, lavender essential oil, and shea butter and create a silky bar.
In the Kitchen
Dandelion is completely edible so you can use it in various ways in the kitchen.
This herbal vinegar can be added to your stews, soups, salads, and dressings, or sauces. You can simply drink it as a revitalizing tonic. You should infuse its flowers in apple cider vinegar for a month, then strain it. Keep it in a dark place for up to a year.
Dandelion Pumpkin Seed Pesto
This recipe can be used as a veggie dip, simple pasta, or sandwich spread. As its greens have a slight bite, you should balance it with some lemon juice, toasted pumpkin seeds, and parmesan.
Remove the green parts, dip the flowers in seasoned butter and fry them to create a delicious snack or side dish.
Sautéed Greens and Garlic
As dandelion is rich in minerals and vitamins, you can sauté it with garlic (or ginger or capers) in order to add flavor to its bitter taste. You should blanch them by immersing them in boiling water for 20 to 30 seconds in order to alleviate its acrid taste.
Cook the flowers, and add wine, stock, parmesan and creamy yogurt in order to prepare a jewel-like vegetarian risotto.
Pancake and Waffle Syrup
You should mix lemon, honey or sugar and dandelions in order to create a delicious waffle or pancake syrup.
Replace cabbage with dandelion in order to prepare the traditional spicy and sour Korean kimchi. Ferment the greens with spices, soy sauce, green onions, and herbs in order to prepare a tasty kimchi that will promote gut health.
The dandelion jelly can be added on top of toast, or crumpets. The prepared jelly can be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
You can prepare a tasty iced treat by mixing dandelion blossoms, sugar, lemon juice, honey and freshly picked dandelion.
Make soaked savory muffins with dandelion petals, honey, flour, whole wheat flour, and oatmeal, and serve them with asparagus or green pea.
You can prepare cookies from dandelion, lemon, honey, and oats.
Iced Lime and Dandelion Tea
A pretty iced lime and dandelion tea is extremely delicious, and it will eliminate all skin issues. You should blend fresh lime juice, stevia leaves, dried red raspberry leaf and a quart of dandelion flowers.
Dandelion Blossom Cake
Mix cinnamon, dandelion syrup, crushed pineapple, coconut, blossom petals, walnuts and coconut, in order to prepare a delicious dandelion blossom cake.
Danish Schnapps – Two Ways
You can prepare a Danish schnapps with the flower heads, which will be remarkable when combined with cakes, sweet desserts, and chocolate, You can also brew dandelion roots in order to prepare a dry and aromatic beverage. You can serve it with some robust flavors, like roast meat.
Dandelion Root Coffee
Brew the dandelion roots to get a caffeine-free alternative to coffee. In order to obtain a deep flavor, roast them before grinding.
These pesky weeds can make a fine country wine and rich. Ferment complete flowers with lemon zest, water, and raisins for a couple of months.
Home and Garden
Dandelion can be widely used in the garden and in the house.
Natural Yellow Dye
You should cook the heads of dandelion in order to make a chemical-based dye – which can contribute to water pollution. It can be used on any garment in order to brighten fabrics, but it is especially useful for the ones who weave their own wool.
Floating Table Centerpiece
Use reclaimed wood and small nails, assemble a box of wood, hammer small finishing nails through the underside, and you should slide the dandelions on the top.
Dandelions are the first food of the season for the bees, so make sure you leave some for them to enjoy them during the spring.
Goats need a diverse, vegetarian diet, so dandelion weeds can serve as a balanced portion.
You will provide numerous nutrients to the garden if you prepare a liquid fertilizer, or ‘weed tea’. You should simply deep rooted dandelions, but since the seeds are still viable, you should brew up an organic fertilizer and spray or pour it onto your flower beds and vegetable gardens.
The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan encourages sanctuaries for threatened species, says Mary O’Riordan.
Allowing weeds to grow and flower in our lawns is one of the recommended ways to save bees from extinction and to help prevent starvation.
With one third of our 98 species of native bees facing wipe-out, an All-Ireland Pollinator Plan has been devised to encourage gardeners, farmers, schools and councils to create havens and resources for the island’s threatened species.
Evidence from the United States has shown that dandelions and white clover on lawns can support 37 different species of bees.
In the study, white clover was important for honeybees and bumblebees whereas solitary bees, honeybees and hoverflies predominated on dandelion.
However, if you cannot stomach having your whole lawn covered in dandelion, (which is an excellent accompaniment in salads), the Pollinator Plan encourages us to leave small areas of the lawn uncut to allow flowering weeds to blossom and provide food for bees.
We can also grow more flowers, shrubs and trees that provide nectar and pollen for pollinators.
The advice is to make sure that your garden has at least one flowering food source from spring right through to winter like willow (early spring and currently blossoming), dandelion shortly after, clovers (early summer), lavender (late summer), ivy (autumn) and mahonia (winter).
Dr Una FitzPatrick, from the National Biodiversity Data Centre in Waterford IT, said the problem is serious and requires immediate attention to ensure the sustainability of our food production and to protect the health of our environment.
The rescue plan, which has over 25 recommendations, will be a success if bee populations enjoy a revival within the next five years.
“We spent 40 years creating the problem so we are not going to solve it overnight,” she said.
Pollination itself is the transfer of pollen grains, the male sex cells of a flower, from the anther where they are produced to the receptive surface of the female organ of a flower. either on the same flower or another one. Bees are good pollinators for many reasons.
Their hairy bodies trap pollen and they spit on their front legs and then brush the pollen into a sticky ball that they store on their back legs in pollen baskets which they carry between flowers and eventually back to the hive to help feed the young.
The bees require large quantities of nectar and pollen to rear their young, and they visit flowers regularly in large numbers to obtain these foods.
In doing so, they concentrate on one species of plant at a time and serve as good pollinators for this reason.
Their body size enables them to pollinate flowers of many different shapes and sizes.
Honey bees are most active at temperatures between 14 degrees C and 35 degrees C.
Winds reduce their activity and stop it completely at about 25 miles per hour.
When conditions for flight are not ideal, honey bees work close to their colonies or don’t work at all.
Although they may fly as far as 7km in search of food, they usually go no farther than 1.5 to 2km in good weather.
In unfavourable weather, bees may visit only those plants nearest the hive. They also tend to work closer to the hive in areas where there are large numbers of attractive plants in bloom. A honeybee will make about 12 pollen collecting flights a day in peak season.
One third of our bee species, including the honeybee, 20 bumblebees and 77 solitary bees are threatened with extinction and the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan is trying to reverse this trend.
Besides preserving threatened species, the economic value of bee pollination is also a huge incentive.
Pollinating bees help to keep homegrown food prices relatively low and could be worth more than €7 million a year to the apple crop in Northern Ireland, and €3.9m for oilseed rape in the Republic.
Méabh Boylan, An Taisce’s green-schools biodiversity officer, said: “The importance of pollinators to humans cannot be overstated as pollinators are responsible for making approximately one in every three spoonfuls of food that we eat.”
In the pollinator plan, national transport chiefs have also agreed to reduce roadside mowing on main roads and to open south-facing railway embankments for bee nests in further attempts to create bee highways along road networks and railway lines.
This bee highway scheme makes the Republic and Northern Ireland one of the first regions in Europe to adopt such a wide-ranging plan and it mimics similar ideas being tested in Norway and in parts of Britain.
Farmers are also encouraged to maintain flowering hedgerows that contain hazel, willow, blackthorn and hawthorn. Bramble is an excellent source of food in the summer so cutting of hedgerows should be every three years or cut only a third every year.
The base of hedgerows shouldn’t be sprayed. By cutting field margins and buffer strips only once or twice in a season and preferably before April and then in early September gives wildflowers a chance to set seed and retains late forage sources for the pollinators.
Dr Jane Stout, associate professor in botany at Trinity College Dublin, has said: “If we want pollinators to be available to pollinate our crops and wild plants for future generations, we need to manage the landscape in a more sustainable way and create a joined-up network of diverse and flower-rich habitats as well as reduce our use of chemical insecticides.
“And this doesn’t just mean in the countryside, but in our towns and villages as well.”
The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan can be downloaded from the Biodiversity Ireland website and a very interesting children’s version is also downloadable.
For those interested in beekeeping or the plight of Irish bees, log onto the website of the Irish Honey Bee Society to find out about meetings and membership.
30 Beautiful Plants to Attract Butterflies to Your Garden
For many people, watching butterflies flit around the garden can be an exciting or very relaxing part of spring and summer. Here are a handful of plants that are easy to grow which will draw these majestic insects to your garden.
1. The Butterfly Bush
There are somewhere around 100 species of Buddleja, commonly referred to as the butterfly bush. The colorful flowers ranging from white to pink, orange and purple attract an assortment of butterflies including commas, mourning cloaks, sulphurs, monarchs, and several species of swallowtail.
For those wanting to attract monarch butterflies to their garden, nothing does the trick like planting milkweed, the host food plant for monarch caterpillars. Milkweed also attracts the viceroy, Baltimore checkerspot, mourning cloak, queen, great spangled fritillary, zabulon skipper, and question mark butterflies.
A favorite amongst culinary herbs, parsley is a primary host food for the black swallowtail butterfly larva.
Alfalfa is a host food for clouded yellow, orange sulphur, and Karner blue butterflies.
Also known as sweet anise, fennel is another favorite host food for many swallowtail caterpillars.
Common white or red clover will attract a whole host of butterflies to your garden including common checkered skippers, painted ladies, buckeyes, sulphurs, gray hairstreaks, sleepy orange, eastern tailed-blue, silver-spotted skipper, and variegated fritillery
Sulphurs and zebra longwings will be drawn to the nectar of most species of verbena.
8. Queen Anne’s Lace
Another beautiful and easy to grow flowering herb, Queen Anne’s lace is a host food for the anise swallowtail.
Most varieties of daisy are favorite nectaring flowers for mourning cloak and queen butterflies. Daisies are also a host food for painted lady caterpillars.
Alcea, commonly known as hollyhock are a host food for the larva of painted lady, checkered skipper, and gray hairstreak larva.
Flowers in the genus Solidago, known collectively as goldenrods are a favorite nectar source for a variety of butterflies including sulphurs, American snouts, red admirals, gorgone checkerspots and viceroys
Flowers of the dogwood tree attract spring azure and American snout butterflies. The leaves are also a host food for spring azure larva.
Most often planted as a fast-growing shade tree, poplars are also a host food for white admiral, tiger swallowtail, mourning cloak, viceroy, and red-spotted purple butterfly larva.
Plants of the genus Antirrhinum, collectively known as snapdragons are host food for the larva of the common buckeye.
15. Purple Coneflower
Echinacea purpurea, the purple coneflower is a well-known herb for it’s immune-boosting and anti-depressant properties. It is also an attractant for the common wood-nymph butterfly.
These succulents of the genus Salicornia are host food plants for eastern pygmy blue butterfly larva.
Not only great for harvesting its seeds and greens for culinary use, the mustard plant is also a favorite nectaring and host food for falcate orangetip butterflies and larva.
18. Passion Vine
Passiflora, also known as the passion vine sports large, exotic purple flowers that will spice up any garden. The foliage is also a host food for gulf fritillary and zebra longwing caterpillars.
Plants of the genus Apocynum – referred to as dogbane for its toxicity when ingested – are a nectaring source for little glassywings, mourning cloaks, sulphurs, monarchs, silver-spotted skippers, some species of swallowtail, painted ladies, American snout, and pearl crescent butterflies.
Deciduous trees of the genus Celtis, known as Hackberries are host food for hackberry emperor and tawny emperor butterfly larva.
In addition to providing sunflower seeds for human consumption, these summertime favorites provide nectar and host food for most species of checkerspot butterflies and larva.
22. Joe Pye Weed
These lovely flowering plants in the Asteraceae genus are a great nectaring source swallowtails and fritillaries.
A popular landscaping shrub due to its pleasant fragrance, viburnum will also attract Baltimore checkerspots and spring azure butterflies to your garden.
Traditionally cultivated for the medicinal properties of its root, Burdock is a favorite host food for painted lady caterpillars.
A flowering plant of the legume family, any of the over 100 species of vetch will attract American painted ladies, sulphurs, and zabulon skippers as both a nectaring and larva host food source.
Well-known for soda made from its bark, sassafras is also a food source for many species of wildlife including the spicebush swallowtail caterpillar.
These popular fruit-bearing bushes will bring both swallowtails and spring azure butterflies to your garden.
28. Black Walnut
Juglans nigera, the black walnut tree is host food for over 200 species of butterfly and moth larva including swallowtails, red-spotted purples, royal walnut moths and the elusive and exotic luna moth!
The name given to a variety of low-growing succulents, stonecrop is a favorite nectaring plant for the red admiral butterfly.
Finally, to create privacy in your butterfly garden, try surrounding the space with privet. The flowers of this hedge-forming shrub are a favorite for many butterflies including skippers, painted ladies, swallowtails, and red-spotted purples.