The other day I met Ken from Yellow Bee Honey LLC. He is the “Bee Guy” — and has a hobby with sweet rewards. He’s a hobbyist turned professional beekeeper who runs beautiful Bee-yards, and has his own Apiaries.
I was done with store bought bottles of honey. Tried the best on the shelves from all local stores around me, but wasn’t happy with the taste. The “X factor” was missing in all of them. I found the top brands of commercially sold honey, lacking the unadulterated intense taste, the rich color, the viscosity, the dense smell of real pure honey. The honey from these supermarkets are more syrupy, processed, artificial and dilute. They taste too much like sweetened corn syrup! And I really really needed to beg, buy, borrow or steal the purest and most natural “liquid gold” I could get my hands on.
So I looked up online to see if there were apiaries around my place. Google churned out two best and closest match to my query (and there were no other points of interest near me that had anything to do with bees or natural honey!). Out of the two, one depot sold just the bee-hive equipment. The second one was Ken’s. We drove for a little more than half hour to reach his place to meet him. Ken is very kind, welcoming and a great person….has a treasure of knowledge on Honey Bees and their products……and yet is equally modest. In his back yard, I saw two Bee nesting blocks near a couple vegetable beds that were fenced to protect them from the ever hungry wandering deers from the neighboring woods. These blocks were at a stone’s throw distance from a larger Bee condo that was built and was leveled a little higher above the ground, to prevent any harm from skunks and other larger rodents. Ken loves his bees and honey! He’s one of the most humble people I’ve met and known. First he agreed to meet us on a Saturday. Second, he came out to greet us with a cherry-honey stick for my little J and a Honey Bear-bottle for me.
I let a big drop of fresh honey from his farm dribble down in my mouth — and that was all that I needed to do to taste purity. I had my answer and I knew the difference. And Ken was quick to point out how the best raw honey’s always contain some pollens collected the bees — a key ingredient which remarkably improves it’s shelf life. He explained how companies heat-treat honey before they’re bottled for commercial use and why it is a strict no no — heat spoils the nutrition that the lovely liquid gold has and denatures the protein contents. He described how hard earned each drop of honey is and how the population of bees have been on a steady decline due to diseases and mites. It therefore makes it difficult and an expensive affair to harvest as much honey. Sometime back, I had read it somewhere, that most store-sold honey in the United Stated was imported from China and that many have traces of antibiotics and heavy metals in them. Almost all of them would be diluted with inexpensive corn/sweet syrups to make upto the volume and are treated, ultra-filtered, processed and tainted with chemicals to remove the pollens to hide the source/origin of honey — the imported bottles are then relabeled in The States.
Well the thing is, that if there aren’t any pollens, it isn’t real Honey! Good heavens!! Out of all in this world, being cheated for Honey is the last thing in your mind…
When you think of honey, you think of sweetness, purity, rich intense flavor, lovely deep gold color, a thick liquid drop that flows down slowly with elegance, enhancing the taste of any food you drizzle it on…and of course, you think of Winnie-the-Pooh.
But what you can never think about is spurious and inferior honey! This wonderful liquid that we grew up eating…..how could that be contaminated? Moms fed us generous tablespoons full with a dash of lime juice and grated ginger as a home remedy, to relieve us from cough and cold. How secretly we’d open the honey bottles and dribble some on our tongues and run away quietly and contended. The precious sacred honey sweet childhood memoirs…how could they be ruined with a pseudo-and-counterfeit liquid labeled as honey? The 21st century has brought in the best of the worlds for us in technology, healthcare, scientific progress and all…yet still, we’ve also seen it bring in some unfortunate trends…but since when did we start cheating the world on honey??
Whatever be the case. Most times, it is those little short-lived happiness and treasures that overpowers you and blinds the rest of the larger issues in the world. And I held mine in my hands — my honey bear that I got from Ken. Ken said he liked anything glazed with honey. Just honey. Simple and straight out of the bottle and he loves it. He coats his veggies and his chicken meat with honey and sears them, and loves them that way. I make several things out of honey…but out of all, I specially like the grilled sandwich I’ve always loved. I preferred it often as a child – because they were both healthy and tasty. I made it with the pure honey I had and J loved it — she said it was the best sandwich she had. I can’t argue — she has such a sweet tooth after all! Did she take this affinity after me? Probably! My nickname “Mou” in Bangla, my native language means “Honey”. And I’m like Pooh…very fond of Hunny and can’t resist eating it!
Nothing beats the purity of raw honey! So the second time we were there to see Ken, I pre-ordered my next dozen hex-jars of honey and some fragrant and aromatic beeswax soap bars. What can be more delightful? I feel blessed and thankful for life’s tiny little sweet moments. And the joy!
So, here’s how I do this sandwich. It is a great accompaniment at tea-time and makes some powerful energy-boosting breakfast, especially to kick-start those low-key, super lazy mornings. In the meantime, you all have a sweet and healthy rest of the day!
FOR SANDWICH YOU NEED⇒
- 4 slices of Bread (use multi grain or whole wheat, or honey-wheat, or cinnamon flavored, or milk bread)
- Any low sodium or mildly salted Butter spread of your choice (sweet cream butter, or peanut butter or veg oil spread)
- 1 banana peeled and sliced
- Some Honey
- Black Pepper shaker
- Light oil to grease the grill
HOW I MADE THE SANDWICH⇒
- Place the bread slices on a kitchen board and spread butter on them.
- Top 2 bread slices evenly with banana pieces.
- Drizzle some honey on the banana…drip as much honey as you’d like.
- Sprinkle and season the banana pieces with some ground black pepper
- Place the remaining 2 breads on top to cover the two sandwiches
- Grease the sandwich maker and grill your sandwiches till done
- If making these sandwiches for tea-time, divide each grilled sandwich into 4 using a bread-knife. If for breakfast, it is ideal to cut the sandwich diagonally and divide into 2. Share and enjoy your sweet time…
~ If you don’t prefer sandwiching mushy banana slices, try without them. Use bread spread/butter on one slice of bread and sprinkle some ground black pepper. Spread honey on the other slice of bread and sandwich them together. Grill. These taste superb too!!
~ Spread a jam, jelly or a fruit preserve in place of butter. Keep off the honey in this case to balance sweet.
~ If you prefer traditional flavors, use ground cinnamon or clove in place of fresh ground pepper…or replace honey with some raw sugar or ground jagggery (gur)!
~ If you do not like your sandwich grilled, feel free to gobble down the fresh sandwich as is! When I run out of time most days, I serve or eat them without grilling too!