Honey is one of those foods that has been around for so long we don't think about it too much. But any food that is made exclusively by honey bees and has remained in the human diet for over 8000 years deserves our attention. After doing some research for National Honey Month I can say there are many fun facts about honey worth celebrating!
But first, let me interrupt this blog for an important public service announcement.
At What Age Can You Give a Child Honey?
The most urgent question I am ever asked about honey is, "When can I safely give honey to my child?"
It seems many parents hear loud and clear the warning from their pediatrician not to give honey to an infant, but miss the part about when they can offer it. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, honey can be introduced into a child's diet after their first birthday.
That's valuable information since the Food and Drug Administration recommended in 2008 that over-the-counter cough and cold medicines not be used in children under age 4 years. Honey is a good cough suppressant and has been shown to be more effective in reducing nighttime coughing than drug store cough syrups. It can also relieve a sore throat, and because of its sweet taste, can help other medicines go down.
Now Some Fun Facts About Honey from the National Honey Board
How many types of honey are there?
There are more than 300 varietals of honey in the U.S. alone, each with distinct flavor profile and color based on the floral source where the bees collect the nectar. Popular varieties include alfalfa, orange blossom and clover honey. Less familiar ones are avocado, eucalyptus and sage honey.
How many bee keepers are there in the US?
The U.S. has an estimated 139,600-212,000 beekeepers. The majority are hobbyists with no more than 25 hives, while commercial beekeepers have 300 or more.
How many flowers does a honey bee visit during one collection trip?
Honey bees tap between 50-100 flowers in a single trip.
How many flowers must honey bees tap to make one pound of honey?
At least two million flowers are needed to yield a pound of honey.
How much honey does the average worker bee make in her lifetime?
One worker bee makes about 1 ½ teaspoons of honey in her lifetime.
Where is honey produced?
Honey is produced in all 50 states. The top five producers are North Dakota, California, South Dakota, Montana, and Florida.
How much honey is made in the U.S.?
Honey production in the U.S. in 2011 was 148 million pounds, down 16% from 2010.
How much honey do Americans consume?
Americans consume approximately 1.3 pounds of honey per person annually. About 61% of the honey eaten by Americans is imported to meet demands.
What other value do we get from honey bees?
One third of the total human diet is derived directly or indirectly from insect-pollinated plants, including the cattle and dairy cows that feed on insect-pollinated legumes (alfalfa, clover, etc.). The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that 80% of insect crop pollination is accomplished by honey bees.
Are any crops totally dependent on honey bees for pollination?
The almond crop is entirely dependent on honey bee pollination. It takes more than one million colonies of honey pees to pollinate the California almond crop each year. Apples, avocados, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, and sunflowers are 90% dependent on honey bee pollination.
What is the shelf life of honey?
The low moisture content and high acidity of honey makes it an unsuitable environment for bacteria and other micro-organisms, so it can be stored indefinitely. The appearance can change during storage and crystallization may occur over time, but this does not affect wholesomeness.
Tap into some great recipes using honey here.