Posts Tagged: honey
How are the bees doing? When the American Beekeeping Federation (ABF) meets Jan. 9-13 at the Grand Sierra Resort, Reno, Nev. for its 75th annual American Beekeeping Federation Conference & Tradeshow, the key concern is bee health. Sadly, colony...
A varroa mite (see reddish-brown spot under the wing) clings to a bee foraging on lavender. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
You may have missed it, but today (Thursday, Oct. 12) is National Farmers' Day. The day originated back in the 1800s as a way to recognize and thank farmers for all the work they do to feed our nation--and the world. It's also time to thank a...
Two honey bees want the same pomegranate blossom. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A honey bee pollinating an apple blossom. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A new beekeeper examines a frame during a UC Davis honey bee course at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility. Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño and her staff teach classes for the public. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
You've probably tasted wine in California's acclaimed Wine Country, but have you ever tasted honey in the nation's rapidly growing “Honey Country”—the University of California, Davis?
Now you can.
The UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center is hosting a Honey Sensory Experience next month so you can learn all about honey, taste honey varietals from all over the world, and hear what researchers are doing.
The Honey Sensory Experience is scheduled for Nov. 10-11 in the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science's Sensory Building on Old Davis Road. The course is for beekeepers, bakers, mead makers, honey lovers, packers, importers, professional buyers, honey producers, and "anyone who wants to gain expertise in the aroma of honey analysis," said Amina Harris, director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, which is closely affiliated with the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science and the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, part of the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR). "Over two days, expert teachers will guide participants through a unique tasting and educational odyssey."
The event revolves around a first-of-its-kind study in the United States. or the past nine months, the center has been working with a team of sensory experts and trained tasters in the sensory lab in the UC Davis Department of Food Science and Technology. The panel analyzed the flavor, aroma, color, pollen and nutrition of three varietal honeys with samples produced across the nation.
The center's goal is to create a description of each varietal honey's unique characteristics.
“We have about 300 varietal honeys here in the United States,” Harris pointed out. “Many aren't produced each year. And some years actually have a better crop than others. Our center's goal is to help consumers understand what each varietal honey should really taste like.”
Well-known varietals include orange blossom and clover honeys, although these are rarely pure varietals, Harris said.
“According to current honey labeling laws, the varietal listed on the label need only be the predominant floral source. Simply, a blended honey of 23 percent alfalfa, 25 percent wildflower and 25 percent cotton with 27 percent orange blossom can be labeled ‘Orange Blossom Honey.' Swap out the orange blossom for clover and you have a new varietal.”
Harris said the center is "ready to share our experiences. Together we will spend two full days tasting varietal honeys from the world over and investigating the bees' handiwork. It all starts with nectar.”
The Honey and Pollination Center, at the forefront of honey sensory research, developed the first-ever Honey Flavor and Aroma Wheel. The wheel has been featured on National Public Radio, at the Smithsonian, and at tastings and specialty food conferences across the country.
With interest in honey is on the rise, consumers are actively looking for intriguing varietals, said Harris, who has tallied 35 years of experience in the world of varietal honeys. “The Honey Sensory Experience is the perfect opportunity for consumers looking to better-understand how honey is developed—from the moment the honey bee collects the nectar, until the honey is on the supermarket shelf."
"The two-day program “will bring together a group of exceptional presenters to explain all the nuances from nutrition to flavor to cooking."
In addition to Harris, the presenters will include Orietta Gianjorio, member of the Italian Register of Experts in the Sensory Analysis of Honey; Hanne Sivertsen, sensory researcher, UC Davis Department of Food Science and Technology; Amy Myrdal Miller, certified nutritionist and owner of Farmer's Daughter Consulting, Sacramento; Joyce Schlacter, certified quality control specialist and director of food safety and quality, Smitty Honey, Iowa; chef Mani Niall, owner of Sweet Bar Bakery, Oakland, Calif. and Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño, based in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
Niall, known as “Baker to the Stars,” served as a chef to Michael Jackson and a chef for the National Honey Board in the 1990s. He is the author of the book, Covered in Honey: The Amazing Flavors of Varietal Honey.
Miller, a UC Davis graduate, is an “amazing nutritionist,” Harris said. She is a farmer's daughter, a highly regarded public speaker, published author, and founder and president of Farmer's Daughter Consulting, a privately-held agriculture, food, and culinary communications firm.
The Honey and Pollination Center is sponsored by the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science and the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, part of the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR).
The course, which includes breakfast and lunch each day, is $625. To access the agenda and to register, see http://honey.ucdavis.edu/events/honey-sensory-experience-an-introduction.
Sarah the Bee Girl stands in front of a cluster of first graders sitting by a six-foot worker bee sculpture in the UC Davis Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven. Her name is Sarah Red-Laird, and she is here to present an interactive educational program...
First graders, school officials and parents from Peregrine School cluster around a bee sculpture at UC Davis Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee for a "Kids and Bees" program. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Sarah the Bee Girl reads a book about bees. In back are WAS members Cyndi and Jim Smith of Donney Lake, Wash. Cyndi serves as the secretary. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Sarah the Bee Girl outfits a first grader with a forager costume for correctly answering a question about foragers. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
After Sarah the Bee Girl (back) read a book about bees, she quizzed them, and those with the correct answers were given props depicting those bees. These youngsters represent (from left) a forager, a scout bee, a house bee, a nurse bee, the queen bee and a drone. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Robbin Thorp (left), distinguished professor of entomology at UC Davis, catches a bee with his device. A magnifying class enables the youngsters to see the bee up close. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Staff research associate Charley Nye, manager of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, staffed the bee habitat table. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Staff research associate Bernardo Niño of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr., Honey Bee Research Facility/UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, staffed the beewax table. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Zoe Anderson, a UC Davis undergraduate student majoring in animal biology, holds up a jar of honey bottled by Sarah the Bee Girl. Her bees foraged on vetch to produce this honey, which was the favorite of all the honeys tasted. Anderson staffed the honey-tasting table with WAS member Kari Hallopeter of Spokane, Wash. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Imagine watching your honey bees gathering nectar from star thistle--which some beekeepers claim makes the best honey. (Yes, Centaurea solstitialis is an invasive weed. The love-hate relationship runs deep; farmers and environmentalists hate it;...
A honey bee foraging on star thistle, Centaurea solstitialis. It's an invasive weed but makes great honey, beekeepers and honey connoisseurs say. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Honey comb being processed. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The colors of honey sparkle in the sunlight. This photo, taken in 2009, shows former UC Davis bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey (now of Washington State University) and her then assistant, Elizabeth Frost (now of New South Wales) at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)