Celebrating The Sweet Essence of Nature: National Honey Day
National Honey Day, observed this year on October 21 is a sweet and sticky celebration of one of nature's most cherished gifts, organised by The British Beekeepers’ Association (BBKA).
This day honours the hardworking honey bees and the delicious, golden nectar they produce. Beyond the delightful taste, honey plays a significant role in various aspects of human life, from culinary delights to health benefits and environmental conservation.
Honey bees are essential pollinators, and their role in our ecosystem cannot be overstated. They contribute to the pollination of fruits, vegetables, and flowers, making them crucial for agriculture and the preservation of biodiversity. National Honey Day serves as a reminder of the vital connection between honey bees, food production, and the environment.
Honey is not just a natural sweetener; it's a versatile ingredient used in cuisines around the world. From drizzling honey over pancakes to incorporating it into salad dressings and marinades, its unique flavour profile enhances a wide range of dishes. National Honey Day encourages food enthusiasts to explore the countless culinary possibilities honey offers.
Beyond its taste, honey also boasts numerous health benefits. It has natural antibacterial properties and is often used as a remedy for sore throats and coughs. Additionally, honey is rich in antioxidants, which can have positive effects on overall health. National Honey Day promotes the use of honey as a natural alternative to refined sugars and artificial sweeteners too.
National Honey Day is a fitting occasion to highlight the sustainable aspects of honey production. Beekeepers play a crucial role in protecting honey bee populations, and sustainable beekeeping practices are essential for preserving these invaluable pollinators. Celebrating honey encourages awareness of the importance of maintaining bee-friendly environments and supporting local beekeepers.
People celebrate National Honey Day in various ways, including honey tastings, visiting local bee farms, or participating in beekeeping workshops. Many communities organise events and activities that educate the public about the significance of honey bees and honey in our lives.
As part of the celebrations the BBKA, which represents 28,000 beekeepers, urges honey-lovers to buy a jar produced as close to their homes as they can. The BBKA is encouraging consumers who purchase a jar of local honey on National Honey Day to use the hashtags #NationalHoneyDay #LocalHoney #Beekeeping
The BBKA’s honey ambassador Lynne Ingram said: “It’s the end of the season and the honey harvest is mostly gathered in. This is our opportunity to celebrate the sheer variety, colour and taste of British honeys. From the water white borage honey to the darkest honeydew and gel like heather honey, the UK produces some remarkable honeys that are a joy to taste."
“Honey is made from nectar that is unique in colour and flavour to a particular plant, and to the soil and climate where it is grown – its terroir."
“In the same way that fine wines differ due to their terroir, honey, too, has different characteristics with flavours varying from the light and delicate to rich and mellow. Like wine, honey is delicious when paired with other foods such as cheeses.”
Most people in the UK are not far from a local beekeeper with bee hives managed in almost all environments from city roof tops to urban allotments as well as orchards, moors and agricultural land.
This year, with its cold spring, blazing June and damp summer, has produced some distinctive flavours. Some beekeepers have noticed harvests with rich tasting and highly aromatic honeys as a result of trees flowering during high temperatures.
Now in its second year, National Honey Day is going from strength to strength. The BBKA’s Chair, Diane Drinkwater, added that local honey shows attract crowds of non-beekeepers interested in how bees produce completely different honeys in one season.
“Honey bees are remarkable insects and so is the honey they produce. One bee can produce an average of 1/12 of a teaspoon in her lifetime and it takes two million flowers to produce one pound of honey or 0.45kg,” said Diane.
National Honey Day is more than just a day to enjoy the sweet taste of honey. It's an opportunity to recognise the intricate relationship between honey bees, the environment, and human well-being. As we savour the honey's sweet essence, let us also reflect on the vital role honey bees play in our world and the importance of preserving their populations for the future.
Find out more about the British Beekeepers Association here