Wednesday, 20 May 2009


Honey has to be one of the finest natural ingredients in the world. The work that goes into making it is immense. Bees have to tap over two million flowers to make just one kilo of honey, travelling a distance of more than three times round the world! 

Honey is not only a great sweetener, but also an amazing nutritional source. Take a spoonful in your morning tea or coffee instead of sugar to give you a refreshing burst of energy. It is also very high in anti-oxidants, is fat-free, cholesterol-free and sodium-free, so a daily dose is highly recommended for hard-working yachties. 

Honey and beeswax products are used as beauty treatments and
proven health remedies the world over, while gladiators were said to have poured it onto their gaping wounds to aid healing. This method can still be used, as many bacteria cannot survive in honey so wounds can heal, swelling eases and tissue can grow back. 

My favourite thing about honey, though, is that it truly is the food of love – probably the oldest aphrodisiac! Legend has it that Cupid dipped his love arrows in it before firing them. The endearment ‘honey’ is often given to a loved one as a term of affection, while the term ‘honeymoon’ comes from the tradition of what was once called the ‘honey month’ in the times of a lunar calendar. For one month after wedlock the newlyweds would be given lots of mead to drink, which is a honey wine, the oldest known fermented drink. This was said to aid fertility and happiness in the first few weeks of marriage. 

There are so many different varieties of honeys, from so many floras,giving us lots of flavouring options. I buy homemade jars of the stuff whenever I go to local markets. I remember buying a particularly good lavender honey in Croatia. I have found some very good ones all over the Mediterranean and in Turkey: all very different depending on climate and vegetation. Most honey is polyfloral, which means it is made from many different flowers. Sometimes, though, a plant or herb will produce enough pollen in one season for the bees to use as their sole source. This is called ‘monofloral’ honey and is much sought after due to its distinct, individual flavour. Imagine a piece of roast lamb coated in a layer of pure rosemary honey. Delicious!

I have put together a small guide on some different types of honey and some suggestions
on how to use them. I hope you stock your galley with nature’s food of love and make life sweet! Here are some great monofloral honeys: Orange blossom Coat roasted duck breast in this at the end of cooking and add a little more just before serving. Sage Pour generously over freshly barbecued Cumberland sausages. Eucalyptus If you have a cold in the winter, make
yourself a hot lemon and eucalyptus honey tea to soothe your throat and decongest. Rosemary Ideal with any piece of grilled or roast lamb. Honeycomb In this form, the best thing to do is spread it onto fresh, warm toast! Acacia This lovely, clear, mild-tasting honey is great poured on your cereal in the morning or mixed with Greek yoghurt. Lavender If you have trouble sleeping, put a spoon of this into a camomile tea before bedtime.

Honey and Mustard Salad Dressing

4 tablespoons clear, polyfloral honey
2–3 tablespoons wholegrain mustard
½ cup apple-cider vinegar
½ cup walnut oil
3 tablespoons mild olive oil

• Put all ingredients into a plastic bottle
• Pop in two glass marbles
• Put the top on and shake vigorously!
To be demonstrated on

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