BY DEBRA J. MORRIS
Spring is humming with the sound of bees buzzing around the hills of Martinez and Concord. MarElla Honey Bees out of Concord bring the best pure local honey to your farmers’ market in a variety of flavors that you won’t be able to resist.
We don’t think much about bees, except when we get bothered by them buzzing around us, but bees are a very important link between fresh fruits and you. They provide the pollination for orchard trees and some vegetables which results in fertilization so fruit can develop. You wouldn’t have a handful of almonds or a bowl of sweet cherries without them.
But how do these miracle insects make honey and where did it come from ?
Honey starts as flower nectar collected by thousands of bees. This nectar is taken back to the hive where it is passed to other bees. This liquid nectar is broken down into simple sugars as it is regurgitated by the bees several times and finally place in the honeycomb. Then many bees set to work fanning the honeycomb with their wings to speed up the process of evaporation to make the thick liquid honey we put in our tea. The honeycomb itself is made as bees consume the nectar/honey. As they digest it, the honey is converted into wax through a series of glands on the bee’s abdomen.
Honey’s color and flavor varies based on the nectar collected by the bees. For example, honey made from orange blossom nectar might be light in color, whereas honey from avocado or wildflowers might have a dark amber color. You can be assured that beekeepers at your farmers’ market bring you only pure local honey with no added ingredients.
Stop by your Martinez Farmers’ Market this week and pick up some delicious pure honey from MarElla Honey Bees, along with everything you need for a bountiful spring !
Browned Buttered Almonds
1 16 oz. bag of raw almonds, blanched*
4 tbsp. of pastured butter
Quality local honey to taste (we used around 4 tbsp.)
Kosher salt to taste
Optional; garnished with lavender flower
Place four tablespoon of butter in a sauté pan until it melts and started to bubble. Place the blanched almonds and cook until the butter and the almonds slightly browned. Add honey and salt to taste. Remove the almonds from the pan and allow the almonds to cool. Serve inside a bowl and garnish with lavender flowers.
*Blanching almonds: place the almonds in a bowl. Then pour boiling water into the bowl to barely cover the almonds. Let the almonds sit for 1 minute and no longer. Make sure not to let the almonds sit in hot water too long or else they’ll lose their crispness.
Drain the water from the bowl and rinse the almonds under cold water; drain again. Pat the almonds dry with a soft cloth or paper towel. To slip the skins off the almonds, take one nut at a time and pinch one end allowing the skin to loosen. The nut will basically pop out of its skin. Recipe: Cooking the Market, PCFMA. Visit pcfma.org/eat/recipes for more great recipes.