I've lived in Florida since I was eight years old. We grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and as an adult, I moved with my Husband to the Jacksonville area with our two sons. For the first time in a very long time I got to experience a change in seasons. I was so ready for what I consider a real winter, or at least, the closest I'd get to one while living in Florida! Cold air, fireplace burning and trees, lots and lots of trees that had nothing in common with the palm trees I grew up with! I just knew that I'd get a white Christmas! That move was in 1992 just after hurricane Andrew devastated South Florida.
Instead, I got asthma and double bronchial pneumonia, twice in a row. When I got sick the second time I knew I needed allergy testing to find out what was causing this. Who knew I'd be allergic to northern Florida? My only options according to the physician treating me were asthma preventative medications, inhalers and allergy shots. Yikes! Needles! Run! Run! Run!
To the rescue was my Father in Law who loved Prevention magazine. Bless his dearly departed soul. Stewart could talk your ear off. He's the only person I know who would answer the door to a stranger and talk for an hour or more in his monotone voice to those who dared knock on it, particularly if it was about religion or politics. Ahh, but I digress. He told me that he'd read in Prevention magazine that by eating honey you could build up a natural resistance to some allergens. And he told me I should eat locally grown honey every single day to give my body a chance to build up a tolerance to my new location. Wow! Let me think here.. honey or needles and meds... honey or needles and meds...
And so, my life with honey began that day. And I'm not talking about the honey you buy in a grocery store that looks like a lovable teddy bear... No, I'm talking about pure, natural, raw honey grown locally.
At first I didn't like honey and it was a chore to find a drink or food product to hide it in. Yes, I said hide it! You get creative when you know you have to have it but really can't abide it. My solution? Mix something I really like with something I really don't like to end up with something tolerable. It's true, that's the way I thought about it back then. I didn't like it in coffee or tea... So, I put the honey in my hot sauce and used it on my chicken wings! Mmmmmm and it is delicious!! What a chore <
Fast forward 15 years and I've got a new and improved Husband and the best honey in the world, in my honest opinion. The man my Husband works for raises bees at his home and he harvests the honey for his family. We feel fortunate to be able to purchase honey from him. I even painted a jar with a Z's Honey B's™ logo for him should he ever decide to "do" this as a business. This is a dark amber, wildflower honey that is indescribably delicious. I find reasons to add honey to everything and have been known to eat it right out of the jar.
Now I've got two favorite flavors, Vanilla and Honey.... What to do?? What to do??
You can't begin to understand just how delicious a combination that is until you've tried it!
Vanilla Honey is spectacular on biscuits and toast or drizzled on my homemade yogurt either by itself or over chopped apples for my Husband.
This is such an organic and lovely combination. And it's super easy to make.
Simply cut up a quality vanilla bean or two, slit it down the center and add it to your honey jar and shake. Then, as your jar gets low, simply add more honey! If you want instant gratification, simply scrape the seeds out of the vanilla beans and put them into the honey and shake it up.
Take a look at what I created with my Vanilla-Honey. Say hello to Vanilla-Honey Butter! Read about it here!
This is a terrific gift to make and share, too. Honey will keep indefinetly in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Should it ever crystallize, simply heat up some water in a pot until it's medium-hot, remove the pot from the heat and stand the jar of honey in the heated water until it returns to it's liquid texture.