It's National Honey Month right here in the good old US of A, but considering how significant honey is to world history, cuisine, and economics, I thought it'd be fun to take a trip around the world today with this series of honey facts: one from each of the seven continents!
Let's get Antarctica out of the way: it is the only continent which is not called home by a single honey bee. If you've ever seen what honey does in your refrigerator, this one won't surprise you. Bees can't survive in subzero temperature, and their honey would crystallize even if they could. The few flowers that do grow in Antarctica self pollinate, so no bees are necessary on the South Pole.
Beekeeping originated in Africa, in ancient Egypt 5,000 years ago to be exact. Ancient Egyptians were heavy users of honey and beeswax. From food and medicine to sacrifices and burial practices, the official Sealer of the Honey was a busy man!
A delicious (albeit strong) traditional remedy for sore throats and coughs is made in Thailand with honey, lime, and salt. The tea, known as Cha Nam Pung Manao, is made from 2 tablespoons of honey, 4-6 tablespoons of lime juice, a pinch of salt, and 6 tablespoons of water. It works, y'all!
The most powerful antibacterial honey is produced from Australian native myrtle trees. All pure honey has some antibacterial properties, but Australian native myrtle honey has the highest level of the antibacterial compound Methylglyoxal, even higher than the better known medicinal Manuka honey from New Zealand.
The word "honeymoon" derives from the practice of giving a "moon's" (or "month's") worth of honey-wine (mead) to couples at their wedding. Mead is thought to have been humanity's earliest fermented beverage, probably first discovered by a hunter gatherer coming across a hive filled with rainwater. It became more associated with Northern Europe over time as the prevalence of grapes in Southern Europe made grape-wine the usual drink of choice there.
6. South America
In Brazil, it's common to keep bees as household pets where they can produce honey in apartments up to 12 stories high. A majority of bees in Brazil are stingless and not known for aggressive behavior, so why not?
7. North America
A popular bakery in Memphis, Tennessee, makes some flippin' awesome desserts with honey. Lindye's Honey Rosemary Cookies, Strawberry Honey Pie, and Peachy Keen Pie all feature honey as a central ingredient! And you can get some of the best honey harvested in the region right on our shelves: Deaton's Bee Farm 100% Pure Honey is just what your tea (or coffee) ordered, y'all!
I hope you enjoyed your trip around the world in seven honey facts. Now you know you can get your honey fix just around the corner at either of our two locations right here in Memphis, we hope to see you soon and often through this National Honey Month, and heck, through the rest of the year. Tune in next week for more fun honey reading!