Embrace Calgary’s Seasonal Change with Local Honey!

October 25, 2020 by University District

Sweet Ways to Pretty your Pantry, Boost Health or Get Crafty!

 

Sugar, sugar? No. Honey, honey! Yes, it’s a sticky subject, but for all the right reasons.

 

Honey is a homey pantry staple that can bring comfort, healthy benefits and a little natural sweetness to your days and nights especially as winter approaches.

 

As Albertans, it’s especially good that we know about the makings of this fascinating bee byproduct. Why? Because Alberta is Canada’s largest honey producer. Our province contributes almost 40% of Canada’s total honey production. Prairie wildflowers, vast fertile fields and crops mean bees are bountiful here and produce distinct, quality honey. So as winter beckons, let’s find out more about why honey and its byproducts are the bee’s knees for all the right culinary, medicinal and even beauty and decor reasons!

 

First, let’s learn a little more about local honey and ways to work it into our lives.  Let’s talk about what local honey to buy, some of the health benefits, try our hand at a honey-related craft — rolling beeswax candles.  And we are MOST excited to share tips from our local retailers on how to craft cocktails, bake goodies and pamper yourself with sweet, natural, and delicious honey!

 

Learn more about our community gardens that benefit local bees, including a community garden kept by the University of Calgary! You will also want to know about UofC Grad student and artist Dylan McLernon who solves bee homelessness one ceramic sculpture at a time! Click here to learn more!


ALBERTA HONEY FACTS & FUN

 

  • Our province’s professional honey producers manage 25-billion bees which adds up to 5,800 bees per Alberta resident.
  • Planting an assortment of flowers that bloom throughout the season provides a constant food source for bumblebees that are active all season long.
  • Avoid urban beekeeping because non-native honey bees can compete for food with their wild counterparts.
  • Become a citizen scientist and report bumble bee sightings to BumbleBeeWatch.org.

 

Health and Honey

One of the most vital things to know about honey is that it’s simply good for you. In fact, it’s known as a superfood for its antibacterial and antioxidant properties. Applied topically, honey can effectively treat burns, skin sores, and inflammation. Honey can ease nighttime coughs and help you sleep too! Stir a spoonful into warm milk or herbal tea to coat your throat with this natural tonic.

 

Product Suggestion: London Drugs Brentwood Mall stocks Nin Jiom Herbal Cough and Throat Syrup, with a luxurious honey base sure to soothe your throat. The formula dates back to the Ch’ing Dynasty in 1680!

 


SUPPORT SWEET LOCAL HONEY BRANDS

As you know, Save On Foods has opened its doors at U/D and rolled out the welcome mat for the community. So stop on by and wander the aisles as you restock your kitchen shelves with some delicious surprises. In the honey aisle, there are oh-so-many varieties of honey sure to lure you in like a hungry little bear!

 

Here are our top three favourites:


Number 3.

McKenzie’s Country Farm Honey has been produced in the town of Three Hills, an hour northeast of Calgary, for more than 30 years. Albertan wildflower-fed bees produce it and the honey is kept as natural as possible.

 

Number 2.

Our number two pick for its non-GMO and organic status is Peace River Honey. Harvested and processed right here in Alberta. The byproduct of its family-run apiary is a delicious jar of pure No. 1 joy, creamed or liquid you can’t lose.

 

 

Number 1.

Our top pick is Drizzle Honey. This creamed, raw honey is produced in Alberta from sweet floral nectar. Their creaming process breaks down any crystallization for the ultimate luxurious, smooth texture.

 

Did you know Save On Foods offers handy online shopping, so you can choose your groceries from home and pop out for pick up at a convenient time. Visit them online here: https://shop.saveonfoods.com/chain/8E4E398#/locator

 

FOR YOUR HONEY: MAKE A BUBBLY BEE COCKTAIL or MOCKTAIL

This weekend, kick back and relax and raise a glass to your significant other with a Bubbly Bee Cocktail. The recipe is courtesy of one of our latest retailers, Market Wines!

 

INGREDIENTS:

For each cocktail:
1 1/2 T. honey
1/2 T. hot water
2 tsp. to 1 T. fresh lemon juice {1/4 to 1/2 of a lemon ~ I like mine with the 2 tsp. lemon juice}
4 oz. Val D’Oca Prosecco

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Place honey and hot water in a glass; stir until honey is dissolved. Add lemon juice and Moscato; stir. Fill glass with crushed ice. Garnish with a lemon slice and mint sprig. Drizzle on top with additional honey, if desired. To make it a mocktail, replace the Moscato with sparkling white grape juice!

 

You can pick up a bottle of Val D’Oca Moscato from Market Wines for only $19.95. Drop by 4109 University Ave NW, call 403-284-4516 or take advantage of their home delivery!

 

COLD WEATHER BAKING

Nothing like homemade apple cinnamon pull-apart bread to make it a really good weekend. The icing on top…you guessed it! The honey-glaze is what really makes this delicious bread all the more satisfying. Check out this fantastic recipe from U/D’s grocery partner, Save-On-Foods

 

 

INGREDIENTS

Sweet Dough:

2 – 1/4 tsp (12 mL) active dry yeast

3/4 cup (175 mL) whole milk, warmed to 110 F

2 – 1/2 tbsp (37 mL) sugar, divided

1 large egg

1/4 cup (60 mL) unsalted butter, melted

1/2 tsp (3 mL) fine sea salt

3 cups (750 mL) all-purpose flour, divided

Apple Cinnamon Filling:

1/4 cup (60 mL) unsalted butter, melted, cooled

1 large, BC Tree Fruits Gala, Granny Smith or McIntosh apple, cored, peel and sliced

1/2 cup + 2 tbsp (155 mL) dark brown sugar, packed

1 – 1/2 tsp (8 mL) ground cinnamon

 

Honey Glaze:

2 tbsp (30 mL) unsalted butter, softened

3 tbsp (45 mL) honey

1 cup (250 mL) icing sugar

2 tsp (10 mL) milk

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

 

    1. Place yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Dissolve yeast in warm milk. Add 1/2 tablespoon of sugar. Stir to combine. Let stand for 5-7 minutes until the yeast has activated and the mixture is foamy.
    2. Add remaining sugar, egg, melted butter, and salt to yeast mixture. Whisk together. Using the dough hook on the stand mixer, add half of the flour and mix on low speed. Scrape bowl as needed to ensure thorough mixing. Add in remaining flour and continue to mix on low speed until the dough comes together. Increase speed to medium and knead until dough forms into a ball. If the dough is too wet, add 1-2 tablespoons of flour.
    3. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and cover with a kitchen towel. Allow rising at room temperature until doubled in size, about 50-60 minutes.
    4. Lightly grease bread pan. Place dough on a floured working surface. Roll dough to a rectangle 20 x 12-inches. Spread half the melted butter over the dough. Toss together apples, brown sugar and cinnamon. Evenly distribute apple mixture over dough. Cut the rectangle in half lengthwise and then cut into deck-of-cards sized pieces. Stack the pieces of dough on top of each other in threes.
    5. Place the stacks on their sides in the prepared bread pan. Stagger stacks, or simply file them in rows. This does not have to be perfect. Top with remaining butter. Pour any apple cinnamon sugar mixture that may have escaped into the bread pan.
    6. Cover bread pan with plastic wrap. Allow bread to rise until it reaches the top of the bread pan, about 30 minutes.
    7. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Bake for 40-50 minutes until the top of the bread is golden brown and internal temperature is at least 200°F. Allow cooling in the pan for 5 minutes. Gently unmold from pan and allow to cool slightly on the wire rack.
    8. To make honey glaze, beat together butter and honey until smooth. Add icing sugar and mix until smooth. Add milk 1 teaspoon at a time, until the desired thickness is achieved.  Immediately drizzle over apple cinnamon pull-apart bread.

 

 

 

HONEY BEE DECOR AND MORE

We have always had a sweet spot for natural decor! On that note, to set the mood for winter, how about making a beeswax candle or dozen to light up your winter nights, naturally and smelling naturally wonderful? We spoke with NW YYC resident Lisa Graham from YYC Beeswax who sells her candles and creations online at www.yycwax.com and invites you to schedule pick-ups from her backyard. From tealights and tapers to lip balm and DIY candle making kits, her tasteful NW YYC business is truly “lit!” Here are two of our faves from her online boutique:

 

  • Tealights of 100% Alberta hand-poured beeswax that release a subtle scent upon burning. Did you know? Beeswax is a great option for people who have sensitivities to scents or adverse reactions to other types of waxes?
  • Honey sticks in single-serving packs that make great additions to your tea serving tray or as a holiday stocking stuffer filled with honey from NW YYC and Bearspaw hives.

 

When you buy local, “this means the bees are visiting a variety of local wildflowers and gardens. As a result, the honey has a delightful, lightly floral flavour. When it’s harvest time, we extract using FlowHive technology. It comes out so clean, it’s basically ready to jar. Plus, the extraction process is fun to experience!”

 

Learning Tip: Online classes by YYC Beeswax are also available to learn how to make your own beeswax candles!

 

U/D’s FINAL SWEET TAKEAWAYS

 

So, even though Calgary’s cold weather is knocking at our door — and the weather change from summer to fall and fall to winter can affect our health — we all have honey by our side! 

 

Beauty Tip: Claire Rodgers, Manager at Curious Salon suggests trying a honey-rich Bumble and Bumble Glow line on your hair. She says, “The Bb Glow range is especially effective during Calgary winters because of its honey protective complex that does wonders to save the hair from our dry air and cold temperatures.  Bb Glow and the bond-building technology repairs, protects, and adds shine to finished styles for healthy, irresistible smelling hair. Less static and fly-aways strands equal zero Calgary blues!”

 

 


Day Trip Tip:
  Fancy a trip? Calgary is buzzing with meaderies and beekeeping operations, including some not too far from University District in NW Calgary! Venture one hour outside of Calgary to Fallentimber Meadery where weekend tours and tastings have officially resumed.  Market Wines also carries its mead drinks made from Ryan’s Honey. Seek it on their shelves and serve it with special dinners — like turkey — or to offset chocolatey desserts.


Local products from local bees can go a long way in helping us cope with some of the common colds or flu, dark nights, and hungry tums.  Spruce up your space and tame your tresses with honey-related natural goods. 

 

Do you have a honey-related lifestyle tip to share? We want to learn and share your recipes or remedies. Post them on social media and tag us, so we can highlight them and share with others! Share your suggestions with us and the community on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.


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