Source: The Village Voice - by KATHERINE KNOWLES
The last days of winter drag until the edge of spring, when New York’s farmers’ markets come alive again. With winter gasping its last chilly breaths, it’s time to appreciate the truest of nature’s preserves that got us through cold days: honey.
“Honey changes according to the season,” says Amilea Tremblay, of Tremblay Apiaries. Her father, Alan Tremblay, has been a Union Square Greenmarket regular with his honey and wax products for over twenty years.
“Springtime honey is a little lighter, fruitier,” she explains. “The flavor gets heavier and the color gets deeper as you get toward the fall. Honey doesn’t have a shelf life. It doesn’t perish. So you can eat different ones from different times and taste the seasons even in March.”
For Tremblay, honey practically runs through her veins. “My dad has been keeping bees my whole life,” she says. “I grew up with bees. Not around the house, but in the fields. I love to watch them, because they’re always so busy – it always seems like there’s something going on.”
Honey is more than just sweet — it also has medicinal properties. The sticky stuff has antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory powers. Though raw honey shouldn’t be given to infants (there’s a botulism risk) — for the rest of us, the golden nectar can serve as an antidote for a variety of small ailments.
“A lot of people are buying the Linden honey right now,” says Tremblay. “It really is a wonderful honey, because it’s great for throats, colds, and coughs.”
Tremblay dips a toothpick in a honey jar and pulls out an amber bead of honey. “It’s basically a cough drop on a stick!” she says. “I love to stir it into tea because it’s not too overpowering.”
Here are a few more suggestions for making your diet a little sweeter with market-fresh honey:
- If tea isn’t your speed, try slow roasting apple chunks with a drizzle of honey until you can stir the pulp into a soft and sweet applesauce.
- Yogurt and honey are a classic combination for a reason — the floral bouquet of honey softens the tart tang of the dairy. Add some crunch to the creamy combo with toasted pecans or Italian pine nuts.
- Use honey and a pinch of dried oregano to baste a roasting chicken (add a drop of boiling water to make the honey easier to brush on).
- Pour honey over a chunk of feta in a Greek cucumber, tomato, and black olive salad, lightly dressed with red wine vinegar and olive oil.
- Finally, don’t underestimate the simple comfort of honey on toast. It’s a treat fit for an afternoon tea Pooh would be proud of.