Friday, 5 July 2013

Recipes: Bee Pollen & Lemon Cider Vinaigrette & Honey Strawberry Jam

A book that I enjoy popping into from time to time is Jonny Bowden's The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth: The Surprising, Unbiased Truth About What You Should Eat and Why. I first heard the author interviewed on CBC radio and what he had to say intrigued me, so I went out & picked up his book. His conversational style, his method of selecting the foods that made the cut into the book, his discussion of the politics of food science and his steadfast belief that we are misguided in North America when we define the "perfect diet" in terms of fat, protein and carbohydrates, was enlightening, engaging and has influenced my thinking around nutrition profoundly. And, well... chocolate makes his list (of course what he means is more like the straight cocoa that you could add to chilli con carne to enhance its flavours and not a decadent chocolate bar with its fat and sugar partners, but I'll take the silver lining wherever I can get it!)....
Bee Pollen is one of nature's amazing miracles. A true superfood. And it's one of the specialty foods that made the cut and got into Bowden's book. On its own, it definitely has floral undertones, it tastes tangy and it can have a wee bit of crunch. Put a granule on the tip of your tongue and see what it does....

Bee pollen is gathered by the worker honeybees and brought back to the hive where it is mixed with enzymes, nectar or honey, fungi and bacteria and packed and pounded, using the head of the worker bee, into the brood cells of the hive. The resulting granules look like very fine pea gravel, not unlike the stones used in the bottom of fish tanks.

Bowden asserts that bee pollen is jam packed with nutrition because it is "loaded with vitamins and contains almost all known minerals, trace elements, enzymes, and amino acids. It actually has more amino acids and vitamins than any other amino acid-containing product like beef, eggs, or cheese." Bee pollen contains:
  • digestive enzymes from the bees
  • 18 amino acids
  • DNA and RNA
  • vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 and B12 (it's one of the few non-meat sources of B12)
  • niacin
  • pantothenic acid
  • folic acid
  • vitamins C, D, E and K
  • choline
  • inositol
  • rutin and other bioflavonoids that have significant antioxidant properties
  • calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc
  • 10 types of enzymes
  • coenzymes
  • hard to get trace elements like silicon, molybdenum, boron and sulphur
Bee pollen can be purchased at the Southwest Edmonton Farmers' Market at Good Morning, Honey where it comes in three sizes. Jill Provencal, that beautiful smiling face that is always behind the honey booth, has developed a recipe for us to try. She has also included a recipe for rhubarb-strawberry honey jam (and she sells jars of this jam at her stall).

Just one word of caution: bee pollen should not be used by people with pollen allergies. I have a bee/wasp sting allergy, and have used bee pollen for years, sprinkling it on salads, with no side effects. But that is the only way I have ever used it, so I was quite excited when Jill accepted the challenge of coming up with a recipe for us to try at home... a recipe that takes away its crunch!

Bee Pollen & Lemon cider vinaigrette
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoon ground mustard
1½ tablespoon bee pollen
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoon honey
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon sweet paprika
½ teaspoon ground pepper
1 dash sea salt
Add all the ingredients together. Refrigerate for at least an hour to let the bee pollen dissolve. SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE!!! Drizzle over your salad and enjoy!

Jill suggests that if you don’t like using bee pollen, you could take that out and make the 2 teaspoons of honey into 1-2 tablespoons of raw, unpasteurized honey. And if the vinegar just isn’t your thing, increase the lemon juice to 1/3 of a cup and add 2 tbsp of water.

a thought...
When you work with the granules of bee pollen in this recipe, just imagine the way in which each granule was head-butted into its unique shape by the determination, perseverance and actions of a single worker bee. What an amazing image.

rhubarb-Strawberry honey jam
Rhubarb is still available at Dargatz Family Farm and at Riverbend Gardens at our market. Strawberries were still available at AIG and Red Apple last week.
3 cups rhubarb, chopped into 1/2" to 1" pieces 
1/2 cup water 
2 cups fresh strawberries, cut into half 
2 tbsps. lemon juice 
3/4 cup honey 
1 pouch liquid pectin (85 ml size)
Place 4 clean 250 or 236 ml jars, on a rack, in a boiling water canner, and fill with water. Cover and boil hard for 10 minutes to sterilize the jars.

Boil the discs for the lids for 5 minutes to soften the sealing compound on their rims. Keep the jars and sealing discs hot until ready to use. 

In a non reactive pan, combine the rhubarb and the water. Bring the rhubarb to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until rhubarb is tender. Add the strawberries and the lemon juice. Cover and allow to simmer until the mixture is soft (about 5 - 10 minutes). Add the honey, and bring to a boil. Stir constantly to avoid sticking. Add the pectin and boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and skim off foam, if necessary.

Ladle the hot rhubarb jam into the jars and leave 1/4 inch at the top for headspace. Wipe jar rim if necessary with a clean cloth, apply the hot sealing disc, and screw lids until lids are fingertip tight. Place jar back in canner. Repeat for remaining jam. Cover the canner, and return water to a rolling boil. 

Process the jars - boil the filled jars for 10 minutes, or as per manufacturer's instructions, and then remove jars. Cool, undisturbed, for 24 hours. Store in a cool, dark place.

After opening, jam must be stored in the refrigerator. Makes approx. 4 jars. (250 ml. size) of DELICIOUS STRAWBERRY RHUBARB JAM!

Recipe from Jill Provencal of Good Morning, Honey
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Contributed by Sheri Hendsbee & Jill Provencal

1 comment:

  1. This is a very interesting post as this gives me a concrete idea on how to incorporate bee pollen as part of the food recipe.