Posts Tagged ‘Honey’

Of Asphalt and Chestnut Honey

I’ve had a honey epiphany.  As a consumer of our local liquid amber, I’ve seen variations of flavor and color over the seasons and years, but always sweet and delicious.  Except, of course, for that memorable year when the town paved the roads and the honey had, let’s call it, um, distinctive asphalt notes.

Here’s the amazing discovery.  I made a recipe from a friend that required Italian chestnut honey.  I was assured that it was integral to the recipe and to forget about local, get on the Internet, and order me some.  Fine.  It arrived.  I opened it.  Took a sniff.  Bleck.  Had it gone bad in transit?  I then read the label, which described it as (and I quote) “ideal for who don’t like very sweet flavour honey.” I took a lick.  Double bleck!  Had I just been poisoned by the infamous Internet Tuscan honey mafia? More reading… The site Serious Eats describes chestnut honey as “not for the timid palate” and “Dark and spicy, with touches of smoke and leather, chestnut honey is complex, mysterious, and nuanced.”  Yup, that about sums it up.  Leather and smoke.  But in defense, it did impart a distinct and magnificent flavour to the recipe.



Bottom line… I had no idea that honey could be so variable, which makes me want to embark on my dream beekeeping project even more.  But, after the great rooster disaster of 2012, I’m not eager to once again mix toddlers and talons until the kids are much older.

Ps.  Welcome back! It’s been ages since my last post because our family welcomed a new addition to our ranks.  Priorities, now.  So as baby sits by me and assists with “yayayayayayaYAyaya” we can now find the time to get back to hobby blogging about our minifarm.

Spring Greens Salad with Roasted Rhubarb, Goat Cheese, and Pecans

I’m always on the hunt for innovative rhubarb recipes, especially ones without a ton of sugar. I found this gorgeous salad on after the (farmer’s) market and had to try it with my own spin. I’m very glad I did because roasted rhubarb is brilliant. The roasting mellowed the tartness of the rhubarb, which was complemented by the creamy goat cheese and the honey added a light sweetness. I would definitely make this again and again with my generous rhubarb harvest and other local farmers’ market finds, such as greens, honey, and goat cheese.

  • 3 stalks rhubarb, cut into 2″ pieces
  • 1 heaping teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 cup pecans
  • 4 cups spring salad greens
  • Ginger vinaigrette (Whisk together 1 Tbsp ginger infused vinegar, 1 tsp salt, 2 Tbsp Olive Oil)
  • 2 oz. goat cheese, crumbled

Preheat the oven to 350F. Mix the rhubarb and honey on a baking sheet and roast for about 10 minutes until softened. On a separate baking sheet, roast the pecans for about 10 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Toss the salad greens with the ginger vinaigrette. Top with the rhubarb, goat cheese, and pecans.


“Keeping Bees with Ashley English” Book Review

Ashley English’s series, Homemade Living, are elegantly photographed, informative primers with a “look – you can do it!” attitude.  Having enjoyed others in the series, this was the first bee keeping book I chose to read.  True to form, the photos were lovely, stories personable and entertaining, and text informational.  I only wish there was a bit more photographic detail to enhance the text.  For example, when talking about capped cells or propolis or whatever, I really wanted to see a close up picture.  Perhaps this is because I am a true novice at this point and have not developed that trained eye to distinguish these things?  I think those details would have given me a confidence boost in the pursuit of keeping bees.

Homemade Living:  Keeping Bees with Ashley English:  All You Need to Know to Tend Hives, Harvest Honey & More
by Ashley English
Lark Crafts
Cover Image from Barnes and Noble

Rhubarb Compote with Honey, Maple Syrup, and Tarragon

Wandering the garden shortly after dawn with the chickens is perhaps an unusual way to start the weekend in suburbia and one that might receive some grumblings at that, but for me it’s heaven. It’s also a way to peruse the breakfast buffet. Hmm, I think I’ll choose some rhubarb. The chickens choose the leaf hoppers escaping off the rhubarb. We’re all happy.


On the way inside, I eye the tarragon that overwintered in a pot by the door. Wouldn’t that be a nice combination? The tart from the rhubarb and delicate anise-like flavor of the tarragon in a naturally sweetened compote. Rhubarb is our only local “fruit” this time of year and will be perfect over our homemade breakfasts of yogurt, pancakes, or waffles.


Rhubarb Compote with Honey, Maple Syrup, and Tarragon
  • Rhubarb stems, cut into 1/2-1″ slices, enough to fill a medium saucepan approximately 3/4 full
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup honey (or more to taste)
  • tarragon sprig (Optional)

Add the rhubarb and maple syrup to a medium saucepan.


Bring rhubarb and maple syrup to a gentle simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the honey and tarragon.


Allow to the compote to stand until just warm and serve over pancakes, waffles, or ice-cream or cool completely and serve over yogurt or spread on toast like jam. Store unused compote in the refrigerator. It will thicken when cooled. Remove tarragon sprig before serving.


Rhubarb Crisp with Honey and Maple Syrup

Our rhubarb is ready for harvest! What an easy going plant. It asks for nothing and gives so much. The tart of the rhubarb balances beautifully with the local sweeteners.

Honey-Maple Syrup Rhubarb Crisp

  • 4 cups Rhubarb, cut into 1/2″ slices (Rhubarb is part of the nightshade family of plants and as thus the leaves are toxic and should be discarded.  Only use the stems!)
  • 1/4 cup Maple Syrup (or honey)
  • 1 Tbsp Corn Starch
  • 1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/2 cup Rolled Outs
  • 1/4 cup butter (you can use olive oil instead)
  • 1/2 cup honey (you can use brown sugar if you prefer the crystalline structure the cane sugar provides)

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix the rhubarb, maple syrup, and corn starch in a 8×8 square pan. In a separate dish, cut the butter into the flour and oats. Gently mix in the honey. Place mixture on top of the rhubarb. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown on top. Serve warm and even à la mode!


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