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« Laboring on Labor Day | Main | Labor Day Checklist: Get Gift; Make Food »

Here’s to Worker Bees

From Katie Barreira

As our nation breaks on Monday to celebrate the achievements of working people, let’s take a moment to honor the eponymous laborer of the natural world: the worker bee.

The National Honey Board reports that, “honey is made in one of the world’s most efficient facilities. The 60,000 or so bees in a beehive may collectively travel as much as 55,000 miles and visit more than two million flowers to gather enough nectar to make just a pound of  honey.”

Because the colors and flavors of honey vary depending on nectar source, each kind can make a dish unique. There are lifetimes of varieties to sample, but as a general rule, pale honeys are mild in flavor, while dark, amber honeys are more pungent. All are delicious.

So at this year’s Labor Day picnic, think twice before swatting your insect associates!

Late Summer Fruit Salad with Vanilla-Honey Dressing

For the dressing, whisk ¼ cup honey and the scraped pod of a vanilla bean into 2 cups of vanilla yogurt. Pour about half of the dressing over a mixture of halved, pitted cherries, chopped peaches, and banana slices.

For Variety - Orange Blossom Honey

Shopping for Honey: Most supermarket honey is either a blossom blend or a single common varietal, like Clover.

Honey Butter

This rich compound is addictive on everything from cornbread to breakfast waffles.

In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a food processor, mix 2 sticks of salted, room temperature butter with 1/3 cup honey until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a piece of plastic wrap and roll into a log, as you would cookie dough, twisting ends. Refrigerate until firm and sliceable.

For Variety - Lavender Honey

Quick Fix: If your honey crystallizes, place the jar in a double boiler and warm until honey has re-melted. To avoid the problem altogether try Tupelo honey, which always remains pourable.

New Potatoes with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

In a large bowl, whisk together 1 part apple cider vinegar, 1 part Dijon mustard and 2 parts honey; slowly whisk in about 3 parts oil. Place whole, small red and/or gold potatoes in a pot, cover with salted water and bring to a boil, uncovered. Cook until fork-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain potatoes and cool slightly. Halve the warm potatoes, add to the dressing bowl and toss to coat.

For Variety – Sage Honey

Fun Fact: Stored properly at room temperature, pure honey will never spoil!

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