Raw & unfiltered local honey can work its way into countless recipes, but our favorites are always the easy ones. These three fun, simple recipes make great replacements for sugar-loaded store-bought treats, getting their sugar from all-natural local honey. You can give each one that special home-cooked flavor by using your favorite local varietal honey from across the U.S.

 

Honey & Peanut Butter Cheerio Bars

Ingredients

1/2 cup Local Hive Colorado Honey

3/4 cup peanut butter

3 cups Cheerios

Directions

  1. Line a small baking pan with foil and set aside.
  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, warm honey and peanut butter and stir until completely blended.
  3. Remove the pan from heat and stir in cereal until evenly coated.
  4. Place the mixture in foil-lined pan and flatten.
  5. Refrigerate for 1 hour before cutting into 8–12 bars.

 

Strawberry Fruit Roll-Ups

Ingredients

3 cups fresh strawberries

3 tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 tbsp Local Hive Florida Honey

Directions:

  1. Remove leaves from the strawberries, then add the berries and lemon juice in a blender, then pour the mixture into a small saucepan.
  2. Cook the strawberry mixture over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Preheat oven to 175°F.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the honey.
  4. Pour onto a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat and spread into an even, thin layer.
  5. Bake at 175°F for approximately three hours, or until the surface of the leather is no longer wet, but not yet dry and brittle.
  6. Slice into strips with a pizza cutter. Roll the strips in wax paper to store and serve. Store in an airtight container.

 

Apple Cinnamon Cookie Honey Bites

Ingredients

2 cups rolled oats

¼ cup ground flaxseed

¾ tsp cinnamon

½ cup almond butter

3/8 cup Local Hive Clover Honey

1 tsp vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

1 grated apple (about 1 cup)

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, stir together the oats, flaxseed, and cinnamon. In another bowl or measuring cup, stir together the almond butter, honey, vanilla and salt.
  2. Pour the almond butter mixture onto the oat mixture and stir until everything is evenly coated. Stir in the grated apple.
  3. Create small round bites with an ice cream scoop or cookie scoop, compacting them with your fingers.
  4. Refrigerate the honey bites in an airtight container. They will keep up to four days.

It seems like we, as a society, might be getting tired of plain old coffee. Pumpkin spice, buttered coffee, salted coffee, fraps, mochas and countless others have been all the rage for years now. But there’s a simpler, sweeter way to mix up your brew that many people overlook: raw & unfiltered honey.

Sure, the typical move is to sweeten tea with honey and coffee with sugar, but if you think about it, there’s no particular reason why. Honey dissolves just as well in any hot beverage, and if you already like your coffee sweet, honey isn’t too different — it just adds a bit of local character.

But there’s one benefit honey has that sugar doesn’t.

Sweetening your coffee with sugar will always lead to some kind of sugar crash, even if it’s masked by the effects of caffeine. But raw & unfiltered local honey has a lower glycemic index (GI), causing less of a blood sugar spike and sugar crash. This is because honey contains fructose and glucose (as opposed to the sucrose in table sugar) that your body takes longer to absorb.

The glycemic index of honey varies in a wide range: from at least 32 to 85. If you buy mass-produced pasteurized and filtered honey, you’ll likely end up with one that has a glycemic index above 60, which isn’t that far off from table sugar. Raw & unfiltered honeys, with their variety of local pollens and higher fructose content, tend to have a lower GI and a sweeter, more pronounced flavor. Meaning a smaller spoonful of honey will give you all the flavor you want without the crash.

For more on honey and health, as well as how raw honey can play a role in your diet, check out the books by the Honey Doctor, Dr. Ron Fessenden, available from our store. You can also contact Dr. Fessenden directly with questions and comments at honeydoctor@localhivehoney.com.

📸: forage.and.gather.boards on Instagram

Charcuterie may sound complicated, but simply put, it’s the perfect way to pair and compare a variety of appetizers and hors d’oeuvres. If you’ve only had mustard on sandwiches or parmesan on pasta or honey in tea, these foods can take on a new life as part of a spread.

What do you need for a perfect charcuterie board? Variety. Nuts, cheese, fruit, cured meats, honey, crackers, veggies, crudité, spreads, dips, sauces, and olives can all play a part. Giving guests a wide array of choices to play with is an easy way to stir up conversation at any luncheon, picnic or get-together. And with 23 varietals of Local Hive Honey to pick from, there’ll no shortage of ways to sweeten what’s on their plate. Here’s how to get started putting it all together.

Start With Cheese

While we’re pretty sweet on honey, we have to admit that cheese is the main attraction for any charcuterie board. Start with a neutral, popular cheese like hard cheddar, then add in a variety of colors and textures, like soft goat cheese and even softer brie — always a favorite.

Ricotta, bleu, manchego, provolone (especially smoked) and parmigiano (AKA parmesan) each unlock even more flavor when paired with local honey. There are really no wrong answers here, but the best honey and cheese pairings combine notes of the five flavors: sweet, salty, bitter, tangy and umami.

Add Plenty of Texture

Crackers, of course, don’t just have to be crackers. Pretzel crisps, crostini, sliced baguettes and more can all make a perfect base for stacking and combining meats, cheese, honey and more.

The “charcuterie” in charcuterie board means the meats, and no board would be complete without a great selection of cured and sweet meats. If you’re not sure where to start, try soppressata, salami, and prosciutto. To give guests a full experience, make sure to include something pre-sliced as well as something they can slice themselves, whether a hard meat like salami or a soft cheese like brie.

Finally, make sure there are several options of the salty and savory variety. This could include pickles, pickled pepperoncini, giardiniera, pâté, terrine, mustard, even hummus and veggies. These provide a much-needed acidity and texture to balance out the sweets, rich cheeses and savory meats.

Sweeten the Whole Deal

 Including a few different local honeys not only allows guests to appreciate the range of flavors in honey, it brings out different flavors in the meats, cheeses and breads you pair with them. Try our Midwest varietal honey on an herby cracker, then a drizzle of our Florida varietal on a slice of baguette, and you’ll instantly notice the possibilities of honey.

As a final note, here are some tips to make sure your board includes everything you need to make an impression and keep people sampling.

Charcuterie Checklist:

– Use a wooden or marble cutting board or serving board.

– Play with the arrangement on the board. Instead of grouping all the cheeses and meats together, encourage guests to experiment by mixing up cheeses, meats and accents.

– Add fresh herbs like basil and rosemary to fill extra space.

– Serve cheese at room temperature. Take it out of the fridge 20–30 minutes before serving.

– Include labeled ramekins for sauces and dips like local honey, hummus and paté.

– Provide a cheese knife, tongs, and any other utensils needed.

Local honey makes for clean plates, but it can help with clean hands, too. There’s no end to the surprising ways honey can help out around the house, and while we’re all paying extra attention to our hygiene.

If you’ve spent any time online in the past few months, you’ve seen it: handwashing content. It’s everywhere. There’s this instructional video from the WHO. And this article from the New York Times; it’s almost as thorough as a proper handwashing. Or, if those aren’t exciting enough for you, there are catalogues of songs to help you keep washing longer.

Well, we’re here to make your hand hygiene a little sweeter – and maybe even save you some money – with a homemade honey hand soap. This post was inspired by one of our followers on Facebook, Doll Champ, who makes her own hand soap.

It turns out, it’s remarkably easy to pull off. Her recipe calls for just four ingredients:

– Castile soap:

The potassium hydroxide inside will do most of the heavy (germ) lifting in your hand soap. For a popular, organic option, try Dr. Bronner’s.

– Vitamin E (optional):

This preservative and antioxidant helps keep your hands soft and moisturized. You can add more in, but you don’t have to. It’s also in Dr. Bronner’s in the form of tocopherol.

Local Hive Honey: we’ve blogged before about raw & unfiltered local honey’s antibacterial properties, and its texture makes it a perfect addition to a DIY cleanser for your hands, face or anything else.

– Essential oil

This is primarily for scent, so the exact combination is up to you. Lavender, tea tree, peppermint, eucalyptus – all are great choices. You can even mix them to create your own unique scent.

Instructions:

  1. Grab a foaming hand soap dispenser. Sure, you could buy one, but why not just reuse one you’ve already got at the house?
  2. Fill it about 1/6 full with undiluted Castile soap.
  3. Add the same amount of honey. Your bottle should be about 1/3 full.
  4. Add a few (5-10) drops each of Vitamin E and essential oils.
  5. Using a funnel, fill the rest of the bottle with hot water. Shake or swirl gently until it’s all mixed together.
  6. Scrub away, and don’t delay. The CDC recommends washing your hands as least 10 times a day.

For years, we’ve been warned that we’re spending too much time sitting and staring at screens, and the recent wave of school closures, social distancing policies and lockdowns is making both practically unavoidable. We’re here to help, with seven activities to get you and the kids off the couch and making the most of your time at home.

#1: Treasure Map

Have your children take turns hiding a treasure around the house and then creating a map to help find it. Or, make the map yourself and challenge your child(ren) to find it. The treasure can be anything that gets the kids excited: a toy, a snack, etc. Help them make the map colorful and full of fun pictures, with directions that take them all over the house and backyard.

#2: Baking and Cooking

Nowhere to go means no rush to grab dinner on the way to practice or rehearsal. Now’s a great chance to cook and bake as a team. First, try our New-Orleans-Style Beignets recipe. The kids can pitch in kneading and rolling the dough, then get a taste of the Big Easy’s best. Or, bring out your kids’ inner Wonka with our Easy Honey Suckers recipe.

#3: Create a Book

With school out, your kids will need some inspiration to get writing. Give them a topic – maybe a ghost story or funny anecdote – and give them time to work on their creations. If writing isn’t their thing, have them make a comic book: they draw, you add the words. Then, make storytime extra fun afterwards by gathering the whole family around. Once they’re proud of their creation, get it “published” through SnapFish or Shutterfly.

#4: Laser Maze

Now that they’ve written a book, it’s time for the kiddos to star in a heist movie. With yarn and tape, create a “laser” maze in a hallway and time your kids to see how fast they can twist and limbo their way through. It’s easy to set up and clean up.

#5: Bean Ball Pit

There’s one pantry staple you’re probably overloaded with right now: beans. For some relaxing, tactile fun, fill your kids’ play table, kiddie pool or other enclosed area with a bag of uncooked pinto beans. They’ll love the chance to play with their food; just make sure to put a sheet down for easier cleanup.

#6: Rain in a Jar

We love this rain in a jar science experiment from A Dab of Glue Will Do. With just a few simple ingredients, it shows kids how water in clouds turns into rain with a colorful, memorable demonstration.

#7: Plant a Pollinator Garden

Follow up precipitation with a lesson in pollination. It’s easier than ever to plant a backyard pollinator garden, which provides food for many species of wild bees. Check out our backyard gardening blog for some helpful tips and the Xerces Society for pollinator friendly plants specific to your region. Plus, you can order the seeds online. This is a great opportunity to teach your kids about the importance of protecting pollinators and how pollination works. See our friends at PACE for more info on how to help conserve pollinators.

This sweet Sore Throat Salve comes to us from Cindy S. Lowry, one of our fans on the Local Hive Facebook Page. Every few weeks, we hold a recipe contest in the comments and reward the winner with a bottle of their favorite raw and unfiltered Local Hive Honey. Join in next time for a chance to share your sweet recipe with the world.

We’ve blogged about honey’s cough-conquering properties before, but Cindy’s recipe struck us as especially potent and worth sharing. Plus, it just tastes so much better than store-bought cough syrup, without any of the alcohol or artificial ingredients.

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Warm the water over medium-low heat. Mix well until saturated. Take about a tablespoon at a time, as needed, for sore throat, cough and cold symptoms.

Recipe provided by Cindy S. Lowry via the Local Hive Facebook page.

Ah, honey: a thing of beauty. The same stuff that works wonders on your taste buds can also be wonderful for your face and skin. Honey’s so versatile, it’s practically got your whole beauty routine covered on its own. To prove it, here’s a step-by-step guide for working raw and unfiltered local honey into your regular beauty regime.

Step 1: Face Mask

How it works: Apply a thin layer of honey all over your face and leave it on for up to 20 minutes, then rinse thoroughly and rub the remainder off. (Or check out our Honey Face Mask recipe.)

Why it works: Honey is a natural humectant, which means it absorbs water from the air, as well as an emollient. When you give honey time to do its thing, it‘ll gradually add moisture to your skin, leaving it soft and with just the right amount of shine. Even a little bit goes a long way. Just ask Kourtney Kardashian.

Step 2: Exfoliant

How it works: Rub a small amount of honey between your fingers to warm it up, then rub it onto your face in small, circular motions. Leave it on for five minutes or so before massaging it off with a wet towel.

Why it works: Raw and unfiltered honey crystallizes, while your standard store-bought stuff won’t. Crystallization is normal and a sign that your honey is pure – not a sign that it’s gone bad. These tiny granules are just a teeny bit                                     abrasive, making them perfect for scrubbing your face and removing dead skin cells without using any harsh chemicals.

Step 3: Acne Spot Treatment

How it works:  Cover the breakout with a thick dab of raw honey, then rinse it off after 10 to 15 minutes.

Why it works: Honey has a small amount of naturally occurring hydrogen peroxide, which is a potent antibacterial agent for treating wounds large and small. Acne is about as small as wounds get, and honey is up to the challenge. And remember that moisturizing magic we mentioned above? Honey also maintains your skin’s pH balance so that it doesn’t overproduce oil.

Step 4: Bath Soak

How it works: Start at the sink, dissolving two tablespoons of raw honey into one cup of very hot water. Pour the mixture into a tub of warm water and soak. You may want to add more, up to a total of one cup of honey.

Why it works: You’ll have to take Cleopatra’s––or perhaps Roman Empress Poppea’s––word for it. A warm bath with honey will moisten your skin better than water alone thanks to honey’s naturally hydrating properties, leaving your skin soft and smooth.

Step 5: Cuticle Moisturizer

How it works:  Rub raw honey into each cuticle, leave it on for 10 minutes, then rinse it off.

Why it works: It’s common for cuticles to be drier than most other areas of your skin, leading to hangnails and uncomfortable peeling. Honey’s ability to pull in water from the surrounding air can help hydrate your fingernails for the long haul.

Step 6: Eye Cream

How it works: Wash your face. Rub honey gently around your eyes. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes before rinsing off with water.

Why it works: By transferring moisture from the air, honey can plump up thin layers of skin like the eyelids, helping to hide dark circles and fine wrinkles.

Whether first thing in the morning or just before bed, your skin can be so much sweeter with just a little taste of raw and unfiltered local honey. Maybe there’s some truth to that old saying after all: beauty is in the eye of the bee-holder.

Honey has a long, storied history around the house. Beyond its most common and delicious use, it’s also a powerful cut-healing agent, cough preventer, sleep aid and more. But honey’s not the only useful thing to come out of the hive.

Enter beeswax: the sturdy, gummy stuff that worker bees use to form the hive’s walls and honeycomb. We recently blogged about how it makes an effective candle wax, but there’s even more it can do. Beeswax also makes a great furniture polish, making wood shine while and protecting it from moisture and humidity.

Several companies are vying to be the greatest in the beeswax polish game, at least one of which has been at it for nearly half a century. The “Original” is evidently good for way more than just wood furniture. Its site claims it can clean mirrors, glass, metals like copper and silver, granite, leather furniture and clothing, computer screens, artificial flowers, granite and even musical instruments. That’s about as all-purpose as it gets. But curiously, the beeswax aerosol spray can’t help with tile, linoleum, wood floors or bathtubs.

Another, presumably less original beeswax furniture polish is a bit more restrained in its claims. It can “protect, soften and restore leather” and protect wooden furniture. Not bad, especially for a product made with only beeswax, mineral spirits – AKA “paint thinner” – and turpentine. A chunky paste, this polish is better suited to making thick, protective layers that soak deep into your wooden or leather goods.

If you’re looking to protect your furniture with all-natural ingredients, beeswax might just be your best bet. There are also plenty of DIY recipes to make your own beeswax furniture polish, if you’re up to the task of replacing your supermarket-brand spray.

The typical ratio is one part beeswax to three parts your choice of oil: mineral oil (which has the distinct advantage of not going rancid), jojoba oil, coconut oil, olive oil, etc. This makes a thick paste that you can apply in gobs as needed. Some aromaholics also add lemon essential oil to give their homemade furniture polish a scent reminiscent of the furniture polish juggernaut.

Once you’ve got the ingredients mixed, simply heat the mixture in a double boiler. This kind of indirect heating will cause your ingredients to melt together more evenly. Once everything’s melted, stir thoroughly, pour into an airtight glass container and allow it to cool. Once it’s cool and solid, using the stuff is a cinch. Just rub the polish onto any wooden surface and let it soak in for up to two hours, then wipe off any excess.

Bees depend on beeswax to make their home. Give it a shot; it might just make yours a little more special.

If you’re a regular to the Local Hive Blog, you already know that raw and unfiltered honey can treat wounds, soothe bee stings and freshen up your face, but there are so, so many more uses for honey as a natural remedy or ingredient. Just off the top of our head, here’s one: protecting your hair.

Raw and unfiltered honey is an all-natural way to keep your hair smooth and silky, taking advantage of honey’s natural properties to give all hair types the moisture and care they need. Raw honey is an emollient, meaning it has just enough texture to smooth and soften each strand of hair for a shinier surface.

Honey is also a humectant, which means it absorbs moisture from the surrounding air and traps it in place. In this case, the place is your hair and scalp, which become more hygroscopic–or, as we beekeepers call it, “wet”–when honey is applied. Just make sure your hair gets at least 20 minutes to absorb the moisture.

To try it for yourself, thoroughly mix 1 tbsp of Local Hive Honey with 1 tbsp of warm, melted coconut oil in a small dish. After the honey has soaked in, wash with shampoo and conditioner as usual. Never put honey directly in your hair for reasons both obvious and sticky.

Honey has another natural secret: it can lighten hair, albeit slightly. The trace amounts of hydrogen peroxide in every drop of honey act as a gentle, natural lightener, that’s much more mellow than the products you might find on beauty store shelves. Far from damaging dyes, honey will actually heal your hair while it creates highlights, keeping follicles soft. If you want to lighten your hair with honey, you’ll need to do several honey washes. Just keep in mind that results will be subtle.

But raw honey doesn’t stop there: honey has been used to treat itchy scalps, dandruff and dermatitis for centuries. Armed with antibacterial hydrogen peroxide and hydrating enzymes, honey helps keep your scalp moisturized and primed to grow strong healthy hair.

There you have it: raw and unfiltered local honey is the perfect treat to start your day–even before you get out of the shower.

When a child has a cough something has to be done or no one’s getting any sleep. Fortunately, raw local honey can soothe an irritated throat and suppress the cough reflex, helping kids and adults alike get some shut-eye.

There’s plenty of evidence that honey can make an effective antidote for stubborn coughs. In fact, in the UK, the National Health Service recommends honey as the first treatment for a cough. However, remember that children under a year old can’t have honey. Prior to that age, their immune systems haven’t developed enough to handle it properly.

Multiple studies have shown that honey is as effective as cough syrup – specifically cough syrup with either guaifenesin or DXM (dextromethorphan) – for relieving cough symptoms in children. When you consider its potential for toxicity and the fact that, in many cases, cough syrup just plain doesn’t work for childrens’ coughs, honey is a no-brainer home remedy.

If you or your child are caught with a cough, try this recipe for homemade cough syrup made with raw and unfiltered Local Hive Honey. It features your immune system’s treatment trifecta: lemon, ginger and honey. Plus, this recipe is enough for multiple doses, so if it does the trick after just a few spoonfuls, you can store it in the fridge for up to two months.

Ingredients:

Zest of 2 lemons

1/4 cup ginger, sliced or 1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 cup water

1 cup honey

1/2 cup lemon juice 

Directions:

  1. Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add in lemon zest and ginger, then simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Strain mixture into a measuring cup and discard the remaining zest and ginger.
  3. Warm the honey on low.
  4. Add the strained lemon-ginger water and lemon juice. Stir the mixture until it combines to form a thick syrup.
  5. Pour into a clean jar with a lid and store in the fridge.

For ages 1 to 5, take 1 tsp every 2 hours. For ages 5 to 12, use 2 tsp every 2 hours. For ages 12+, take 1 to 2 tbsp every 4 hours.

If that isn’t quite enough to relieve your cough, try adding roughly ½ tsp of some of these other effective, if somewhat less delicious, all-natural ingredients to help soothe your throat: