Celebrate the Honey Bee

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Each year we celebrate National Honey Bee Day, on the third Saturday in August. The celebration began in 2009 with the purpose of the bringing together beekeepers, bee associations, and other interested groups to connect with the communities to advance beekeeping, using a united effort one day a year. What better way to celebrate the honorable honeybee than to enjoy their delicious honey!

Eastern North Carolina has many certified Beekeepers that are dedicated to beekeeping for honey and pollination of other crops. Honey (especially local to your residence) has a great deal of health benefits. Honey is known to; aid in the prevention of cancer and heart disease, reduce gastrointestinal disorders,  is a natural probiotic, regulates blood sugar and many believe it aids in reducing the misery of allergies. Be sure to always have a jar of local honey on hand.

Fun Facts you may not know about Honey Bees

  • Honey bees are not native to North America, they were actually introduced to the Americans from Europe in the colonization times.
  • Honey Bees are responsible for pollinating many of our most nutrient dense fruit and vegetable crops, such as avocados, blueberries, and watermelon.
  • Pure honey never spoils, it is very low in water and super acidic making a bad home for microbes.
  • Honey Bees can recognize landmarks, they find their way back to the hives using these like we use road signs.
  • Honey Bees communicate through a dance, this tells the other bees where to go for pollen.
  • Honey Bees have a very complicated family dynamic (I would almost have to share a diagram for this one, but look it up it is interesting)!
  • Some honey bee hives can produce 50-100 pounds of honey per year!
  • One of the biggest threats to the honey bee population is a tiny mite, if it enters the hive, it can cause death to the colony.
  • Honey bees cannot see red!
  • A honey bee colony is a superorganism, each individual bee has a specific job that contributes to the colony.

Let’s get cooking with some of these terrific recipes using honey! If you are looking for fresh local honey, be sure to check your local Farmers Market or check in with your local N.C. Cooperative Extension office.

Honey-Mustard Vinaigrette


  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard, your preference on course or smooth
  • ⅛ teaspoon “local” honey
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste (I use a lot)
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil


  1. Whisk together garlic, vinegar, mustard, honey, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the oil. Save in an airtight container!

Yields 8 1 tablespoon servings. Each serving contains Calories 84, Carbohydrates 0.5g, Sugars 0.4g, Fat 9.2g, Sodium 48.6mg.

Honey-Brined Grilled Shrimp


  • 1 ½ pounds unpeeled large shrimp
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons wildflower honey, divided
  • 2 cups ice cubes
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped white onion
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced


  1. Devein shrimp, and remove legs from shells, if desired. (Do not remove shells from shrimp.) Combine 1 cup boiling water, salt, and 2 1/2 tablespoons honey in a large bowl; stir until the salt dissolves. Add ice cubes; stir until mixture cools. Add shrimp, and refrigerate 20 minutes. Remove shrimp from bowl, discarding liquid. Pat shrimp dry with paper towels; toss shrimp with 1 1/2 teaspoons honey.
  2. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Place red wine vinegar and remaining 2 tablespoons honey in a large bowl; stir with a whisk to combine. Gradually add olive oil, stirring constantly with a whisk until well blended. Stir in parsley, onion, oregano, and garlic.
  3. Arrange unpeeled shrimp on grill grates coated with cooking spray; grill shrimp, uncovered, 2 1/2 minutes on each side or until lightly charred and cooked through. Add shrimp to bowl with vinegar mixture; toss well to coat. Arrange shrimp mixture on a platter; top with sliced jalapeno pepper.

Serves 4. Each serving contains  Calories 304, Fat 16g, Protein 24g, Carbohydrate 15g, Fiber 0.0g, Cholesterol 214mg, Sodium 544mg, Sugars 12.

Crock Pot Honey Garlic Chicken


For the chicken

  • 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
  • ⅓ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • ⅓ cup local honey
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons chili paste or hot sauce of your choice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

For serving

  • Prepared brown rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Chopped green onion


  1. Place chicken in a 6 quart or larger slow cooker. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the soy sauce, honey, tomato paste, chili paste or hot sauce, garlic and rice vinegar. Pour over the chicken. Cover and cook on Low for 4-5 hours, or on high for 2-3 hours, until chicken is done (internal temperature of 165°F). About halfway through flip the chicken if you are around, if not it will still be great!
  2. Once cooked remove chicken from the pot and allow to cool slightly. Whisk the cornstarch into the slow cooker remaining liquid. Cover and cook in slow cooker for 15 minutes, the sauce will thicken slightly, stir or whisk occasionally. If you like the sauce thicker you may cook for an additional 15 minutes. (This can be done in a saucepan on the stovetop, sauce will thicken cooked over medium heat in about 5-10 minutes).
  3. Shred cooked chicken, and return to the sauce in the slow cooker. Stir to coat the chicken. Serve over rice, or other options, and sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions.

Serves 4. Each 1 cup serving contains Calories 329, Fat 7g, Protein 35g, Carbohydrate 32g, Fiber 1g, Cholesterol 162mg, Sugars 25g.

Spicy Honey Garlic Salmon


For the salmon

  • 4 8 ounce salmon fillets
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)

For the sauce

  • ¼ cup local honey
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ⅓ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1½ teaspoon corn starch
  • ½ teaspoon ginger powder

Optional garnishes

  • Chopped green onion
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Lemon wedges


  1. Remove the skin from the salmon. Slice them into 8 ounce pieces and pat them dry.
  2. In a small bowl stir together chili powder, garlic powder, fresh ground pepper, and cayenne pepper. Season both sides of the salmon with this seasoning.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the sauce ingredients. Set aside for cooking.
  4. Bring a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Place the salmon in the pan and sear on each side for five minutes.
  5. Pour the sauce into the pan and let the sauce and salmon cook together for 2-3 minutes, or until the sauce thickens up. While it is cooking spoon sauce over the salmon.
  6. Remove from heat and garnish as desired.

Serves 4. Each serving contains  Calories 212, Fat 13g, Protein 3g, Carbohydrate 24g, Fiber 1g, Cholesterol 1mg, Sodium 1095mg, Sugars 18g.