Bee Myth

It was one of the worst bits of bee nonsense that I’ve ever heard: that honey isn’t a good thing to buy/eat because commercial bee farmers clip their bees’ wings.
A commercial hive contains around 70,000 bees. All have wings but only about half of them are flying during the last three weeks of their six week lives. That suggests, if the myth is true, that a bee farmer would need to clip at least 10,000 pairs of wings per week per hive. First catch your bee … less easy than you’d think! Multiply that by perhaps 100 or more to reflect the number of hives a commercial beekeeper has on his/her farm and you are into such high numbers that the whole prospect becomes hideously expensive and utterly mad.
In reality, only some beekeepers may trim the wings of their Queen Bees (one per hive) to limit them swarming and being lost. This is certainly not universal practice.
Anyone who suggests that commercial or any beekeepers cut off the wings of their bees is incorrect – and probably living in a parallel universe!
Here’s another Back-to-Basics cooking demo covering ways of preparing fruit. One of the highlights was the class of students from Farnborough College cheerfully making sure we knew they were there.
The outcome was this baked fruit salad: perfect for transforming pieces of fruit that are getting a bit weary and creating a superb winter dessert:

2 each eating apples, pears, cored and chopped.
2 bananas, peeled and chopped.
1 fresh pineapple, skin and core removed, chopped.
2 oranges, zest and juice only.
1 mango, peeled, stone removed, chopped (optional).
1 Galia melon, seeds and skin removed, chopped (optional).
1 kiwi fruit, peeled and chopped (optional).
2 handfuls sultanas or raisins.
2 handfuls each dried dates and figs, chopped.
3-star anise.
2 sticks cinnamon.
about 250ml apple or other fruit juice.

Place all the prepared fruit, dried fruit, zest, juice and spices in an oven [proof dish and cover with foil.
Cook in a pre-heated oven at 160C, Gas 4 for one hour.
Reduce heat to 140C/Gas 1 for a further hour.
Serve hot and reheat leftovers in the microwave on another day.
My Tips:
Use a tin of pineapple in juice if the prospect of using a fresh one is too terrifying.
Vary the fruit according to what you have available. I’ve added a jar of bottled cherries, an extra apple or pear, a handful of frozen raspberries.
If you have a spare vanilla pod, throw it in.
I don’t add sugar but perhaps some honey?
You could reduce the amount of juice and top with a crumble mix. The proportions for my basic mix are: 2 oats:1 butter: 1 soft brown sugar/honey: 1 crushed hazelnuts. Rub together and keep a bag in the freezer for ready use.

Next time, we are doing eggs so make a note for your diary: 1030 on Monday 14 February. Its all free and you can sign up here:


© 2024 - Penny Melville-Brown
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