Hawaii Pollinator Week focuses on role of bees in maintaining diverse ecosystemsby: Stephanie Loui
posted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 11:13 AM
Hawaii honey history
The first three beehives arrived on Oahu in 1857, having survived an 18-day journey across the Pacific. The Royal Hawaiian Agricultural Society purchased the hives for $100 each, and shortly thereafter beekeeping became a major industry in Hawaii.
Thanks to the warm climate and agricultural abundance, the Islands are an ideal location for cultivating bee colonies. In 1940, honey was ranked one of Hawaii’s eight most valuable food exports, alongside coffee, pineapple and bananas. Today, Hawaii is among the world’s leading exporters of queen bees.
A spoonful of honey
Studies conducted with children ages two and older have shown that a teaspoon of honey before bedtime can help ease mild nighttime coughs caused by upper respiratory infections. (Maybe Mary Poppins was actually on to something!)
Additionally, raw, unprocessed honey contains antioxidants and reportedly helps to protect against certain types of cancer. Unlike various other sweeteners, raw, unprocessed honey is 100 percent natural and organic.
Due to its high sugar concentration, acidity, and trace amounts of hydrogen peroxide, honey is never in danger of bacteria growth. While it may harden or crystallize, it never actually goes bad. When archaeologists unearthed honey in Egyptian tombs from as far back as 2000 years, it was reportedly still edible!
So, it’s OK to keep it out of the fridge. Remember, though, no double-dipping.
Flavor of the Islands
Honey is cultivated on all eight of the major islands, and each colony produces a unique flavor, aroma and hue. Some of the most popular flavors come from the pollination of the ohia lehua blossom, the macadamia nut tree, and the kiawe (mesquite) tree.
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