How Sweet it is to Bee Thankful; Dinner Ideas

Have you ever planned a holiday dinner around a unifying idea or ingredient? We’ve seen it done before, in articles, on TV, and at friends houses, with mixed results. Anyhow, somehow, we, here at More Bees, got to thinking about what a table full of holiday food might look like if honey was the unifying ingredient.

 

And then it struck us how appropriate it is to pay homage to the humble honey bees this way, when you realize that much of the bounty on the holiday table is due to the tireless work of these little creatures, as well as other natural pollinators.  And when we thought about it like that, we just had to do it.

 

At our house holiday dinners are usually big. These are the types of things that usually find their way onto the table. Included are some tasty ways to incorporate honey into these foods:

Turkey- Figure out how long your turkey should be baked (consult information provided by turkey grower). Bake as instructed until last two hours of baking time remains. While your turkey is in the oven, make a glaze by combining ½ C Honey, ⅓ C dijon mustard or brown mustard, 3-4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary or thyme, 2 tablespoons softened butter, ½ teaspoon each garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and smoked paprika, and ¼ teaspoon finely ground pepper. When 2 hours cooking time remains, remove your turkey from the oven and glaze generously. Place the glazed turkey back in the oven and continue to baking, basting with pan drippings every 20-30 minutes. Bake until your turkey is done (consult information provided by turkey grower). Remove the turkey from the oven, and let rest 15 minutes before cutting.  

 

Gravy – Use your pan dripping from your honey glazed turkey to make gravy, as you usually would.

Veggie – Cook 1 pound pared, cut up veggies until they are just tender. Remove from heat, and drain any liquids. Mix 1 tablespoon butter/oil, 2 tablespoon honey, and the juice of ½ lemon or ½ orange in a saute pan. Mix on medium heat until bubbly. Add warm veggies back in, stir to coat. Remove from heat. Add salt and pepper if desired, and serve. This works really well with snow peas, sugar snap peas, carrots, beets, baby corn, pearl onions, broccoli, brussel sprouts, parsnips, turnips, rutabaga, or a combination.

Rolls – Serve warm rolls with whipped honey and butter. To make honey butter, allow one cup (2 sticks) of butter to soften to room temperature. Whip with ¼ C of your favorite honey until light and fluffy. A whisk attachment works best.  Add ½ teaspoon cinnamon and/or ½ teaspoon vanilla if desired. Refrigerate any leftover honey butter.

Fruit Salad – Whisk together 4-6 ounces of flavored yogurt, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 2 tablespoon honey in a 2 quart bowl or container. Add 6 cups of assorted chopped, bite-sized pieces of fruit. We like 1 banana (peeled and chopped up), 1 apple (cored and chopped up), 1  cups strawberries (hulled and halved), 1 C grapes (halved), 1 small can well drained mandarin oranges, ½ can well drained pineapple chunks. If desired, add 1-2 C mini marshmallows. Mix well with the yogurt dressing. Make at least 4 hours in advance if you want the marshmallows to soften. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve, stirring once or twice until serving time. Stir before serving. And if you desire, fold in 1 C walnut or pecans just before serving if desired.

Spinach salad –  Make a honey mustard dressing by combining ½ C plain yogurt or sour cream with ¼ C oil and 1 clove crushed garlic. Add 2 tablespoons each honey, spicy brown mustard, Dijon Mustard, Lemon juice, cider vinegar, and oil. Add salt and pepper to taste then set aside. Place ½  lb clean, dry, raw spinach (torn up into bite size pieces) onto a dinner plate or small platter. Top with 2 tablespoons each nuts (walnuts, pine puts, and sliced almonds work well. Toast and cool the nuts completely before adding to the salad if desired), dried cranberries, thinly sliced sweet onion, bacon bits, and crumbled cheese (feta, gorgonzola, or blue). Thinly drizzle with the dressing, and/or serve with the dressing on the side. Don’t care for spinach? That’s OK. Just use your favorite salad greens instead. Refrigerate any unused portions.

Candied Yams –  replace part or all of the brown sugar in your yam recipe with honey, for a yummy change.

 

We don’t really know any good recipes for mashed potatoes, stuffing, relish tray (pickles and olives), or deviled eggs that use honey. If you have any, please share with us. We would love to see what you all have added honey to. You know we love hearing back and seeing what you all have done for an even more delicious meal time. Happy Thanksgiving and be safe if you are going to do some Black Friday shopping.

bee and elephant over words bees vs elephants

Saving the African and Asian Elephants, Who Could it Bee?

We were lied to!  Who remembers being told that elephants are scared of mice when they were little? Turns out, it was a lie!

Turns out that elephants are afraid of something much smaller than mice- Honey bees! I bet you’re wondering how that can be when the skin of an adult elephant is up to 2 ½ centimeters thick. That’s an inch thick to you and me.

But Why the Bees?

Africanized honey bees are very aggressive. If africanized bees even remotely sense a threat, they are prone to attacking en masse. African elephants are terrified of these bees. Even with their thick skin, elephants can be hurt by bees. Think eyes, mouth, and nose. These tissues are very vulnerable on elephants. And getting stung hurts. I can’t even begin to imagine being stung in the eye or inside the nose.

 

Add to that the fact that some specialists speculate that a very young calf, whose skin is much more easily penetrated, could be killed if it were to be attacked by a hive. Even an adult could be hurt if swarmed by enough bees. Knowing this, and coupled with the fact that elephants are very protective of each other, you know that’s not something elephants will let happen if they can help it. Even Asian elephants have a fear of bees. Their fear of bees is real, though not as profound as for African elephants. This difference is like due to the fact that Asian honey bees are relatively docile, and much less likely to attack than Africanized honey bees.

It turns out that elephants are so averse to bees, that they will go to great lengths to avoid them. They can hear a single buzzing bee almost 600 meters away, and African elephants have a specialized call to let other elephants know about the bee danger.

The Opportunity for Change

This fear of bees was noticed in 2002. People are beginning to use the elephant’s fear of bees to good use in an ingenious solution that benefits people, bees, and the elephants themselves. The first bee fence was put in place in 2012.

 

14 countries in Africa and Asia now encourage farmers to use bee fences to protect crops and property from elephants. Bee fencing entails placing beehives approximately 65 feet apart, around the perimeter of the property. The hives are interconnected, so that crossing the perimeter triggers the hives to sway, and the bees to buzz and fly. The initial cost of fencing a 1 acre farm is approximately $1,000. That’s only about one fifth the cost for electric fencing, and no onsite electricity is required.

The benefits of bee fencing for elephants, bees, and people are numerous, while the negative effects are few. They include, but are not limited to those listed below.

 

For the elephants:

  • Reduced confrontations with people
  • Decrease in elephant deaths and injury
  • Reduction in animosity of people towards elephants
  • A slowing of sprawl and deforestation (since additional bee fencing costs money to put in) which means a slowing in loss of habitat

 

For the honey bees, which are seeing declines in many areas of the world:

  • An increase in the number of hives
  • A vested interest of humans to establish, tend, and protect beehives.

 

For the people:

  • Decrease in death or injury from confronting an elephant
  • Reduction in the loss of crops/increase in crop yields
  • Reduced property damage
  • An additional resource in the forms of crop pollination, and harvestable honey.

 

The biggest negative that we could find mentioned:

  • An additional cost to farmers in the maintenance of the beehives and fencing

 

The solution is not foolproof (about an 80% success rate if hives and fencing are maintained). And it isn’t free with the initial cost of fencing for an acre of farm being approximately $1,000, and maintaining the established hives costs some money. This has led some to look for other bee inspired solutions.

Where Else Could the Bee Fence Help?

In India, where elephants are killed or injured every year when they wonder onto train tracks, the most troublesome areas of some tracks have been fitted with speakers that transmit a buzzing sound. Called ‘Plan Bee’ by the Indian government, this program has been effective at reducing the number of train elephant collisions in India.

And in South Africa, research is being done to develop a bee pheromone based elephant repellent. Initial work has already been done, showing that pheromones that are released by bees when they become distressed are effective at keeping elephants away from watering holes that they normally frequent.

 

If you would like to help in the construction of more bee fences, click on this link for the Elephants & Bees Project. There are also links below for some pertinent articles on the use of bees to repel elephants.

 

New York Times article

National Geographic article

Smithsonian.com article detailing bee pheromone use as opposed to live hives

 

Reason to Bee Spooked this Halloween

I kept going around and around in my head. How are they related? And what can I write about this week? I was looking at bee themed costumes. Yes, I know we already did that once. But I was hoping to get an idea. That’s when I saw a cute pin that made me think.

That’s when I realized that bees have a lot to do with how we celebrated modern day Halloween. Think about it! The plight of the bees is a very real issue. They are dying at increasing rates in many areas of the world.

What Can Be so Scary About No Bees for Halloween?

What if there were no honeybees and what would be the impact on Halloween? Would we even notice? I would, because no bees means no pumpkins. Which means no more carved pumpkins. Carved pumpkins and Jack-o-lanterns are iconic American symbols of Halloween (It also means no more pumpkin honey- Oh my goodness- it’s the best!). That’s because honeybees pollinate most pumpkin crops in the US. So without bees, we’d have a noticeable absence of pumpkins, not to mention pumpkin pie, pumpkin honey, and many other fall favorite pumpkin essentials.

So, no bees, means no iconic pumpkins. Imagine no bins of pumpkins in front of the supermarkets. No sitting around the table carving pumpkins with your siblings. There would be no roasted pumpkin seeds, no jack-o-lanterns lighting the way on Halloween night. Halloween just wouldn’t be the same.

 

OH NO! What About Pumpkin Spice Lattes?!

For those of you who are worried about your sweets, those will likely survive dwindling honeybee populations.  Sugar cane does not require pollination at all, and sugar beets are effectively wind pollinated. So, we’ll likely always have sugar. Chocolate plants are pollinated by the chocolate midge, and only the chocolate midge. So, as long as the chocolate midge stays healthy we’re good there. Vanilla is a little iffy. It is naturally pollinated by the melipona bee, or vanilla bee.This bee is found in tropical areas of the Americas. Over the last quarter century, there has been a loss of over 90% of melipona hives. That, combined with the fact that many vanilla plantations are not located in the tropical Americas accounts for the fact that commercially grown vanilla is hand pollinated, making the vanilla bean the 2nd most expensive spice, after saffron. Even so, the bulk of vanilla flavored products are flavored with synthetically produced vanilla flavoring, so if the vanilla orchid were to ever go extinct, sadly, most people probably wouldn’t even notice.

Bee Troubles

If you weren’t aware, the bees are in decline. Pesticides, large agricultural monocultures, improper food sources (sugar/corn syrup as bee feed inplace of nutrient rich pollen and honey), and parasitic infestations (varroa and tracheal mites and nosema), and viral infections (like deformed wing viruses) and bacterial infections (Like American Foulbrood).

 

Link discussing illnesses and infections affecting honeybees.

Pollination of Chocolate plant.

Pollination of the Vanilla plant.

More on growing vanilla orchids.

The Best Protein Bar Recipe You’ll Ever Find

Lately, we’ve been on a protein bar kick. They’re an easy, nutritious, filling snacks. If you’re going to be on the run, with no time for a proper meal, bring along a double portion as a replacement for a meal. They’re so good, we wanted to share them with you. Honey, oats, fruit, nuts, and chocolate -how can you go wrong!

The recipe we’ve been using is adapted from a recipe originally obtained from the family that owns and runs Montes Salsa, out of Vancouver WA. We discovered these wonderful bars at Salmon Creek Farmers Market, that we did with the Montes. These bars looked so tasty, that we asked for the recipe, and they were gracious enough to share.

 

The Recipe

We’ve change the original recipe to suit our family. Here it is:

Dry ingredients:

1 C Rolled oats (quick, or old fashioned)

2 T Flax seeds

2 T Raw pumpkin seeds

2 T Sunflower seeds

¼ C Protein powder (we use 2 T   + 2 T , to make ¼ C )

¼ C Chocolate chips (or any other flavored baking chips)

¼ C nuts, chopped

¼ C Dried fruit, chopped

Wet ingredients:

½ C Nut butter

2 T Honey

¼ C Coconut milk

Instructions:

  1. Prepare pan by oiling a standard sized bread pan. Set aside.
  2. Mix dry ingredients. Set aside.
  3. Mix wet ingredients.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix well. Will be very stiff, and only very slightly crumbly. If the dough is very crumbly, add a little coconut milk.
  5. Press the dough mixture into your pan.
  6. Cover and refrigerate until firmed up a bit.
  7. Cut into 8 bars.
  8. Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

The recipe can be doubled and pressed into an 8×8 pan if desired.

But That’s Not All!

This recipe is very satisfying, and very versatile. You also have a lot of creative latitude by changing up the types of nuts, baking chips, dried fruit, nut butter, and honey, you can dramatically change the flavor of these bars.

The bars in picture above were made with dried apricots, Bliss sunflower butter, pumpkin honey, cashews, and chocolate chips. We’ve tried lots of combinations, and they’ve always been good.

Here are the top three favorite variations we have tried.

  1. Dried cranberries, Bliss almond butter, pumpkin honey, almonds, and mini chocolate chips. This was the least sweet of the combinations we tried. This one was the most savory, and hardy tasting.
  2. Dried mixed fruit (cranberries, cherries, raisins, and golden raisins), white chocolate chips, meadowfoam honey, and Bliss hazelnut butter. This one is my favorite.
  3. Dried apricots, Bliss cashew butter, mixed nuts, mini chocolate chips, clover honey. This one was the mildest tasting.

All three were very good, hands down better than the protein bars we have purchased in the past. The bonus is that they are way cheaper per to make than they are to buy. Our favorite nut butters to use are Bliss Nut Butters, made in Oregon City, Oregon.

If you happen to be vegan or just don’t eat honey, this recipe can easily be made vegan by using agave syrup in place of the honey.

 

Nutrition Facts and Afterthought

Nutritional information will vary with your choices for the ingredients, but are going to be roughly:

Protein 12g, carbohydrates 24g, sugars 10g, fats, 12, fiber 5g, and calories 350.

So, we hope you find this all helpful and enjoy this awesome healthy snack that we all enjoy. Also, if you wanna try out Bliss Nut Butter check out their facebook. We love their nut butters and high recommend them for all of you for this recipe. Share your favorite combination if you do give this a shot so we can try it too. Plus, we would love to see what you all come up with; bon appétit!

Inside the Life of the Bombus: the Bumblebee

Name: Bombus

Alias: The Bumblebee

Super Power: Buzz Pollination

Activity: Early spring through late fall

Favorite plants to pollinate: All of them!

 

What Is The Bombus?

Bombus is the bee genus known by the common name of bumblebee. Bumblebees are in the Apidae family, which contains the western honey bee. Bombus contains over 250 known species of bumblebees. Bees in the Bombus genus are indigenous to the northern hemisphere, as well as South America.

This map indicates the regions of the world that species of the bombus can be found.

 

Just like the leafcutter bee, the mason bee, and the honey bee, bumblebees are long-tongued bees. And similar to these other types of bees, bumble bees feed off of nectar and pollen; making them valuable pollinators. Also like honey bees, they have pollen baskets, where they can carry pollen that they collect. They cover large areas, much as honey bees do, and are not picky about the types of flowers they visit, as some types of bees are.

 

The Buzz Behind The Bombus

But Bumblebees do something that none of the other long-tongued bees can do. They ‘buzz’ pollinate. Buzz pollinating consists of the bee grabbing onto a bloom antlers, disengaging their wings, and then vibrating the muscles that usually control their wings. This has the effect of violently shaking the flower to release pollen, which then coats the bumble bee’s hairy body.That’s why the bumblebee is believed to be so very hairy (See the link showing buzz pollination taking place at the end of this article.).

 

Many plants are most effectively pollinated when buzz pollinated. Buzz pollination of such plants greatly increases size, quality, and quantity of the fruits and vegetables from these plants. Nightshade (including tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, potatoes, tomatillos, and ground cherries) and many species of the genus vaccinium (blueberry,  cranberries, bilberries, and huckleberries) are a few examples of plants that benefit from buzz pollination.

 

Seasons of the Bombus

Bumblebees are active in their environments from early spring when the queen emerges from the nest, through late fall, when temperature become too cold for them to fly. Bumblebees usually live in small colonies (most often between 50 and 200 bees), and subsist on nectar and pollen. Like honey bees, bumblebees have a queen who will populate the colony and the bees secrete wax, which they use for a variety of reasons. They fashion the wax to cover their eggs and make cocoons where larvae are incubated. They even use this wax to make a place for worker bees to store nectar and pollen to be consumed by developing larva and mature bees, and even use wax to enclose their nest when needed. Nests are often found in the ground, in hollow spaces in wood, and even in grass and other vegetation. A cluster of crudely fashioned cells, bumblebee nests are crude when compared to the regular hexagonal cells constructed by the honeybee. Also, unlike honey bees, bumblebees only store only enough food to last a few days at a time, whereas honey bees need enough food stores to get the queen and a significant amount of the hive through winter and into the spring.

Bumblebee nest
Honey bee nest

 

The Cold and the Bombus

The bumblebees also differ from other bees in that they have the lowest chill-coma temperature. This is the temperature at which a bee can no longer fly. That means that when all the other bees are done for the season, bumblebees keep on flying late into the fall, when a newly formed queen mates with drones and then consume large quantities of food, giving her the resources to hibernate through the winter. Unless the bumble bees are in a very temperate climate, only the new queen will survive until the spring, where she emerges, to start the process all over again.

 

Living With Bombus

If you encounter a bumblebee nest or have one your yard, be aware that bumblebees can sting. But they won’t do so if you leave their nest alone, and don’t swat at them. If you do get stung, breath easy, since the stinger is barbless, and won’t stay in your skin. On the other hand, it also means that the bumble bee does not die when it stings, and it can sting more than once, so move away from them.

 

And finally did you know that their coloring and markings can be used to distinguish different species of bumble bees, and the species seen vary from area to area. Below, we have included links for identification of different bumblebee species, as well as general information about bumble bees. How many have you seen?

 

Classification and identification of bumblebees

Bumblebees of the Western United States

Bumblebees of the Eastern United States

More about bumblebees

video showing buzz pollination

Making the Ordinary Extraordinary with Honey

Making the Ordinary Extraordinary with Honey

Here in our little corner of the world, summer has suddenly been replaced by fall. There is a chill in the air and the blessed rain is falling again. Gone are dreams of grilled hot dogs and watermelon, and in their place are dreams of something a little different. But different doesn’t have to be difficult. The simple addition of a drizzle of honey can make the ordinary become extraordinary.

 

Wildflower, orange, or clover honey is nice and full flavored, but if you want to mix things up, try meadowfoam honey for a marshmallow-like flavor. Or go crazy with the distinctive taste of buckwheat, maple, or lavender honey. If you wanna see an extensive list of honey and how their flavors compare, check out the link at the end of the post.

 

Here are our four favorite foods to top with honey:

 

Oatmeal with Honey

Steel-cut, old fashioned, or quick oats, whichever you prefer. Cook with milk or water, as per the instructions, to the desired consistency, then top with milk and honey. Add fresh or dried fruit, nuts, or cinnamon if you like, for a truly gourmet experience. Our favorite is bananas and walnuts and honey.

Don’t like oatmeal? Honey tastes great on the other cooked cereal as well.

 

Warm bread with butter and honey

Who doesn’t like warm bread? It is soooo good and satisfying! But have you ever tried freshly baked bread (from your kitchen, or the stores) with butter and honey. If you haven’t, give it a try for breakfast, an accompaniment to dinner, or even as a snack or treat.

Vanilla Ice Cream with Honey

The creamy, cold, goodness that is vanilla ice cream is especially good when topped with honey. If you haven’t indulged yet, you should give it a try.

Tea with Honey

Herbal, or leaf tea. Black, green, or white. It doesn’t matter. Try a spoon of honey in place of your usual sugar, and you’re in for a treat. The bonus is that honey in tea is soothing for your throat, making this not only great tasting, but useful during cold and flu season.

Remember, each honey brings a different taste to the party. That means that you can change the experience by changing the honey. Look here extensive list of honey Flavors.

 

Do you have a favorite food that is made even better by drizzling honey on it? We’d love to hear what it is.

A Slice of Bee Life: Bees in the Fall

September is here, and with it, what most see as the start of fall. With the changing of the seasons, comes a changing of activities in a bee yard. Whether you have one hive, or hundreds, the jobs and duties of bee and keeper alike are changing.

 

The Drones

Drones became obsolete after mating with the queens of the various hives and passing on their genetic material. In good times, drones are tolerated and continue to be produced in the hive but once times get trying they are purged from hives. This keeps them from continuing to consume precious resources that are needed for the hive to survive the winter. When the drones are purged, the workers will force all stages of drones from the hives. The immature brood die quickly, and the mature drones soon follow since they do not collect pollen or nectar and quickly starve.

Do not be shocked to see dead drone bees near the entrance to your hives. This is a natural occurrence this time of year.

 

Because drones take resources away from a hive, look for drones and drone brood when evaluating hive health other times of the year. Lots of drones and drone brood is an indication of a hive that has lots of pollen and nectar available.

 

For more information on drones, see our previous post.

 

The Workers

Besides removal of drones from the hive, there are other changes in worker activity. They will begin to scrounge the area around for the last bit of food matter to stock the hive with before the cold hits and most plants begin to die back. Once the plants begin dying back and nectar and pollen dwindle, the focus starts to shift to propolis production. Propolis is like bee glue, and bees use it to seal their hive. It is made out of beeswax, bee saliva, and resinous materials they have collected from plants.

For more information about propolis, see this informative link.

 

Another things workers will do is rob from other hives. Because of this, you may want to close down the hive entrance, making it harder for other bees to try to steal honey and pollen from your hives.

 

The Queen

The queen begins to slow in her egg laying as the temperature cools and she begins to release a new set of pheromones to help encourage her workers to prepare for the cold. From creating the essential stockpiles of resources in places that will be easily attainable during the hive’s time in their winter cluster to their new routines. This will all be carried out and continued through the winter and into spring. Once the warm weather returns the queen bee will trigger the hive back into their more productive routine and typical hive behavior will carry on through the warm seasons until the weather drops the following year.

 More?

Incredible, right? We take for granted the amazing ways animals in the wild adapt to season changes and evolved to handle difficult times. However, this is not the last of the awesome ways bees handle the end of summer and in our next segment we will touch on their behavior and methods of handling the cold of winter and inability to gather food. Stay tuned either through our facebook, instagram, or here on the website for the next Slice of Bee Life. See you then and take care friends!

 

More Bees, You Asked and We Answered

More Bees, You Asked and We Answered

We have been asked a ton of questions from customers and thought we’d share the answers to a few of them here. If you have questions too or have had some worrisome experiences stay tuned and see if your question could be answered here. If not, we are always happy to receive emails, comments, or other means in which to help you all understand our products and how it can help you best.

 

My dog just ate my lip balm. Do I need worry about that?

orange beeswax lip balm

Luckily, there is no harm in eating More Bees Lip Balm. The lip balm is all natural, and made from non-toxic, lip safe, food grade ingredients. The entire tube holds 0.15 oz of lip balm, which is just shy of a tablespoon. It’s no more hazardous than eating a tablespoon of butter, oil, or shortening.

 

The biggest problem here is a choking hazard. The tube and lid can both be a potential choking hazard for infants, small children, and pets alike. For this reason, please keep your lip balms out of the reach of pets and small children, and only let small children use the lip balm with adult supervision.

 

What is the white stuff on the top of some of my bars of soap? And is it safe?

The white film that is sometimes found on the top of our bars is called soda ash. But what is that? In chemical terms, it is sodium carbonate,  and has a formula of Na₂CO₃. But how did it get there!?!

 

To make true soap, a strong base has to be used. Lye (sodium hydroxide) is the base usually picked (and less often, caustic potash, or potassium hydroxide). The base reacts with fats and oils, turning them into soap. The process is called saponification. In a properly crafted soap, like More Bees soaps, all the base is totally used up, and there is none of it left in the finished soap. The saponification process is usually completed within 1-2 days.

 

Sometimes, during the saponification process, the lye reacts at the exposed surface of the newly poured soap with the carbon dioxide that is naturally in the air. When that happens, soda ash forms on the exposed surfaces of the freshly poured soap. If the saponification process is not complete before the soap is unmolded and/or cut, the ash can form on other newly exposed surfaces. Soda ash is harmless, and will wash off your bar quickly, leaving behind your beautiful handcrafted cold process bar of soap.

 

Why do you add beeswax to your soaps?

We add beeswax to our soaps for a couple of very important reasons. One is that it’s good for your skin. Beeswax brings a lot to the soap party in this respect . As with other bee products, (honey, and propolis), Beeswax has antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties. This makes it a ideal additive in fighting chapped skin and other skin conditions, as well as fighting surface bacteria. Beeswax can also form a protective barrier that seals in moisture without clogging the pores. As a matter of fact, beeswax is completely non-comedogenic, with a comedogenic rating of 0.

 

Another reason to add beeswax to soap is that it makes our soap more durable and long lasting.  The beeswax greatly extends the life of the soap. As we learned in our earliest days, too much of a good thing isn’t always better. In our first year of operation, we actually had customers asking us to step back the amount of wax in our soaps a little bit. It turns out that our customers were getting impatient to try all the lovely bars that they had purchased, but the soap just wouldn’t go away! We still get the occasional customer suggest that our soap last too long, but they are the exception now. Over all, we are very happy with the feedback we’re getting, and don’t have any plans to change our soap formula.

Click here to check out our Lip Balms, Lotions, Soap and Sugar scrubs!

 

Got more questions?

We hope this little bit helped all of you who may have had a similar issue. If not; then feel free to get a hold of us on either Facebook, Instagram, or here in the comments. We would love you help you all be more familiar with our products so they can best serve all your needs. So please, let us know if there is more you would like to know and we will answer them in another Asked and Answered post!

Weeds That Can Heal: Yellow Dock

Medicinal Weeds?

Have you ever gotten busy, and let your yard go just a little long too without working on it? Or walked through an unmaintained, empty lot of field? If you looked at the plants growing under your feet, really looked, you probably saw several weeds that heal. Broadleaf plantain, yellow dock, burdock, feverfew, selfheal…. These weeds, and many more grow readily across large areas of the United States.

 

In this blog post we will be looking at yellow dock. Yellow dock grows wild in many areas of the country, and gets its name from its yellow roots. It is made up collectively of two separate species, curly dock and bitter dock. Curly dock (Rumex crispus) has narrow leaves with curly edges, while bitter dock (Rumex obtusifolius) has wider leaves, with more smoother edges. Yellow dock is a perennial plant that is in the buckwheat family. This weed grows readily across large areas of the United States, especially on disturbed land in USDA zones 4-7.

Yellow Dock Uses

Today, most people in this country consider yellow dock to be a weed, but it has been used for its nutritional value and medicinal value for hundreds of years. Yellow dock looks very distinctive at all stages of maturity. By the time it is fully mature, it is hard to confuse with anything else. Its distinctive look, makes it easy to harvest in the wild.

Parts of the plant can be used as a food such as the leaves and stems can be eaten, raw or cooked. Once matured and dried, the seeds are sometimes ground and used as a coffee substitute; and in Romania, it is used as a spice. Like other plants high in oxalic acid (beets and chard are examples) dock leaves and stems should be consumed moderately, especially if you have a problem with oxalic acid. This plant can also have a mild laxative effect due to the presence of anthraquinones in the plant. So again, consumption in moderation is best.

 

The fruits and roots have been used as a medicine for hundreds of years.

Medicinally, people have used yellow dock for many purposes; as already indicated, yellow dock can be used as a laxative. There is also evidence indicating that may be useful against parasites. Inflammation, and microbes (bacteria, and fungi).

 

Historically, Yellow dock has been used for pain and swelling of nasal passages and the respiratory tract. It has also been used to treat various infections (bacterial and fungal). It is used as as a toothpaste by some people, and has been be used for bleeding and hemorrhoids when applied to the skin. And finally, its has been used to treat arthritis.

 

Historically, yellow dock has been used for skin diseases, skin inflammation (dermatitis), rashes, a vitamin deficiency called scurvy, obstructive jaundice, and psoriasis with constipation. Because of its usefulness with skin conditions, we incorporate finely ground yellow dock root, in our Yellow Dock and Oats Soap.

More Bees +Yellow Dock = Love

As stated before; we are no doctors, but we do our best to be informed to help others find what works for them and their individual issues. So; if the external application of yellow dock sounds helpful to you or is what you have been looking for in your journey of skin care- stop on by. We are sure our Yellow Dock and Oat Soap will not only clean but help with any pain, swelling, and discomfort you may feel in your hands our other parts of your body.

 

Perhaps this article might have also made you consider that some of those “pesky” weeds in your garden aren’t so bad in the event they could be useful. Maybe you’ll let them stick around or even plant some of your own to help with the little hiccups of life when they arise. So, we hope you enjoyed learning of the awesome medicinal properties of yellow dock and that you will like this new series we are doing. Take care and stick around!

 

Cucumber: Your Skin’s Best Friend

Cucumbers: Food for Your Skin

 

Little white ones, round yellow ones, and of course don’t forget the green ones, long and short. At every farm market stall we look, cucumbers are starting to pop up. And that’s a good thing, in so many ways.

They’re great tasting, low calorie, and packed full of compounds that make them a highly anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer food. Combine that with the fact that cucumbers are packed full of water (96%), vitamins, and minerals, and it’s easy to understand that cucumbers are hydrating and nourishing. We’ve already looked at how staying hydrated and eating a balanced diet are good for you, and good for your skin.

Tips for Healthier Skin and a Healthier You: Staying Hydrated

Tips For Healthier Skin and a Healthier You #2: You Are What You Eat

 

But did you know that cucumbers can be used directly on your skin? It’s true.

 

Have you ever seen those commercials where the woman has cucumber slices covering her eyes?

Do you know why she’s doing that? It isn’t just because it makes a good visual. It’s because cucumbers has several properties that are beneficial for your skin. Use of them in your beauty products help revitalize, rejuvenate, and firm the skin. The effects of cucumber when used on the skin include:

 

  1. Lightening of the skin – the effect is subtle, but there.  Allowing fresh cucumber (slices, pure, mask, etc) to sit on your skin, gently lightens the skin, and can reduce the appearance of dark eye circles, redness from acne, dark scar tissue, and blotchy skin from sun exposure, and unwanted tans. Because cucumber is all natural, and very gentle, it is suitable for daily use, without causing irritation, to achieve an accumulative effect.
  2. Anti-inflammatory effects – Cucumber can help soothe sunburn, rashes, insect bites, acne, and irritation. Allowing cucumber slices, pure, or juice to sit against the skin where these ailments occur can help to soothe them, and reduce their duration. In some cases, it may even alleviate them entirely.
  3. Mild astringent properties –  Cucumbers contain ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and caffeic acid. These two acids allow cucumbers to reduce water retention and swelling. That means cucumbers can help alleviate puffiness or swelling due to exhaustion, crying, insect bites, water retention, etc.
  4. Maintaining the youthful appearance of your skin –  Cucumbers contain enzymes that slow down the destruction of  elastin (a protein that gives your skin elasticity), and hyaluronic acid (a substance that helps your skin use it’s your own body’s moisture to stay hydrated from within). These are both substances that work together to make your skin youthful and healthy.
  5. Works as a skin toner – Used directly after cleaning skin, but before applying a moisturizer, toners provide extra hydration, help further clean pores, restores the slightly acidic pH balance of the skin, and helps your skin absorb your other skin care products. Toners are water based, and rubbed on the skin in small amounts. Some people use a few drops spread by their hands, while others prefer to apply a small amount to a cotton pad and gently rub it over the skin. The most common places to use a toner are the areas where people tend to get acne – so the face, and possibly the neck, the chest, and/or the back. Because cucumber is mild and gentle, and will not strip all your natural oils from your skin, a cucumber based toner will help give your face a bright, clean look.

 

Adding cucumber to your skincare regime has many wonderful benefits for your skin, and making use of those benefits can be as simple as placing a few slices on your skin for several minutes.  You can also puree a cucumber and freeze the puree into small cubes. The cubes can be used one at a time, as they are thawed, by spreading the puree on the skin in the desired location. You can also juice a cucumber, and either freeze the juice in cubes, or keep the bottle in the fridge (use within 5-7 days). To use the juice, simply place a small amount onto a cotton ball.

 

If you don’t have the time or desire to deal with cucumbers in all their natural glory, be assured that more and more body products are incorporating cucumber: Lotions and creams, masks, toners, and even soap.

Handcrafted Beeswax Honey Lip Balms, Lotions, Soap and Sugar scrubs!