What would you do if you were to find out that the single most important creature in our food system was in trouble? Our honeybees are disappearing at an alarming rate and, according to Rowan Jacobsen, award-winning author of the fascinating article on the importance of bees to our food supply in the April issue of EatingWell, that could spell disaster for our food system.
No one quite knows why or what is happening to bees but in the last two winters, America has lost more than a third of its honeybees—and around the world, beekeepers are experiencing what has come to be known as Colony Collapse Disorder.
And if bees go, it is not just the healing power of honey and all the delicious honey recipes (such as Almond & Honey-Butter Cookies) that we would lose, but also all the hundreds of other foods they help to pollinate: almonds, berries, most fruits and many vegetables. In fact, beekeepers have made a big business out of trucking their hives around the country each spring, putting their bees to work pollinating crops. But now, that work is taking its toll.
Scientists have ruled out many different reasons for why the bees keep dying and are now focusing in on the pesticides beekeepers themselves have been using to keep their hives free of mites. One way you can help is to purchase organic honey and also honey from local vendors. Use it in some of these sweet recipes:
Almond & Honey-Butter Cookies: This thumbprint cookie uses honey as the only sweetener and tender ground almonds to replace much of the butter found in similar cookies. Just a touch of butter mixed with honey in the filling gives it a rich flavor without too much saturated fat.
Almond-Crusted Pork with Honey-Mustard Dipping Sauce: Sliced almonds add a delectable, almost-like-fried-chicken crunch to the breading for these tender pieces of pork.
Chicken with Honey-Orange Sauce: Here we combine raisins, cinnamon, honey and almonds with orange juice, zest, wine and broth to make a rich, savory pan sauce for chicken.
Honey-Soy Broiled Salmon: A sweet, tangy and salty mixture of soy sauce, rice vinegar and honey does double-duty as marinade and sauce. Toasted sesame seeds provide a nutty and attractive accent.