Recipe – Honey and Sultana-Glazed Croissants

25 Apr



Preparation method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.


  1. Place the croissants cut-side up on a non-stick baking sheet. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle over the sultanas.


  1. Transfer to the oven and bake for five minutes, or until warmed through.


  1. To serve, place the warm croissants onto serving plates and dust with icing sugar.

Honey more effective to heal wounds than betadine

23 Apr

Dr Pillai uses a locally-manufactured ventriculo-peritoneal (VP) shunt to drain out fluid from the brain.

“Traditional shunts made abroad are 10 times costlier  the ones we use cost Rs 3,000 per unit,” says Pillai.

In dealing with severe head injuries and disease of the nervous system, it is crucial that the pressure inside the brain be measured accurately.

An intra-cranial catheter is inserted and the reading taken on a monitor. The catheter usually costs Rs 30,000 and the meter is worth about Rs 10 lakh.

Pillai instead inserts a simple sterilized rubber tube, filled with water, inside the brain and then connects it to any pressure monitor in the OT.

“The tube costs just a few rupees. Whenever there is an effective local option, which has been documented and proven to be safe, we try to use it,” adds Dr Pillai.

In 2012, surgeons at AIIMS published a paper in the Indian Journal of Surgery, which showed that using honey (procured from beehives on neem trees) healed wounds better and faster than povidone-iodine (betadine), standard ointment used in such cases.

Dr Anurag Srivastava, head of surgery at AIIMS, says that there was significant decrease in the surface area of the wound and pain in the group, where honey was used as wound dressing.

“As long as you follow basic principles of sterilization and operative technique, and provide good post-op clinical care, it is safe to use low-cost substitutes,” says Dr Satish Shukla, an onco-surgeon based in Indore and president of ASI.

He further points out that although the US FDA doesn’t allow the reuse of catheters in cardiac and renal surgeries, surgeons in India safely recycle them for cost-effectiveness.

In 2003, the Indian Journal of Surgery published a paper by Dr Ravindranath Tongaonkar on the use of the mosquito net in treating adult groin hernia.

Traditionally, a polypropylene mesh is used to fix the ruptured tissue but it is an expensive material. So Dr Tongaonkar replaced it with mosquito net cloth.

At the time, a meter of mosquito net cloth cost Rs 40 while the imported surgical mesh cost Rs 9,430 for a 30 cm x 30 cm patch. Dr Tongaonkar has used the mosquito net mesh in more than 500 hernia operations.

Similarly, instruments used in a range of expensive cosmetic procedures can be replaced with common household items once sterilized properly.

Dr Shibu Thomas, a senior cosmetic surgeon who runs the Inceptor cosmetic surgery and skin institute in Mumbai, uses 24-inch household electric ties (used to hold wires together) as a substitute for surgical tourniquet to put compression at the base of the breast during breast reduction surgery.

While surgical tourniquets are imported from the US and cost Rs 3,000 to Rs 6,000, a pack of electric ties comes for Rs 500.

He also uses a stainless steel kitchen strainer(Rs 350) to filter fat harvested for grafting instead. The medical version of the strainer can cost up to Rs 12,000.

“Most conventional surgical devices, in keeping with the US standards, are disposable.

Given the cost of these devices they simply do not fit the Indian business model,” says Dr Thomas. However, he also cautions that such ‘jugaad’ should never be used as implants because that could lead to serious complications.

Feds unveil plan to save honey bees — and $15 billion in crops they pollinate

21 Apr

Claiming that the future of American food production depends on a revived honey bee population, the Agriculture Department on Tuesday announced it will spend $3 million to help ranchers and farmers improve the health of the bugs, key to pollinating $15 billion worth of food.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement, “Expanded support for research, combined with USDA’s other efforts to improve honey bee health, should help America’s beekeepers combat the current, unprecedented loss of honey bee hives each year.”

The money will be in the form of financial assistance and technical help targeted to five Midwestern states: Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

“Honey bee pollination supports an estimated $15 billion worth of agricultural production, including more than 130 fruits and vegetables that are the foundation of a nutritious diet. The future security of America’s food supply depends on healthy honey bees,” added Vilsack.

The bee industry has been under assault from pests and enemies for years, but the recent emergence of mysterious “Colony Collapse Disorder” has resulted in the deaths of 30 percent to 50 percent of honey bee colonies each year, double the normal rate.

Ag said the assistance “will provide guidance and support to farmers and ranchers to implement conservation practices that will provide safe and diverse food sources for honey bees. For example, appropriate cover crops or rangeland and pasture management may provide a benefit to producers by reducing erosion, increasing the health of their soil, inhibiting invasive species, providing quality forage and habitat for honey bees and other pollinators, as well as habitat for other wildlife.”

The area was chosen because over 65 percent of the commercially managed honey bees in the country are dropped in farms in the five states.

Bee managers would also like the administration to limit the use of exotic pesticides which them blame for some of the colony deaths.

Medicinal Uses of Honey

20 Apr

By Julie Edgar

WebMD Feature

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD


Honey has a long medicinal history. The ancient Egyptians not only made offerings of honey to their gods, they also used it as an embalming fluid and a dressing for wounds. On that last point, at least, they were on to something.

Today, many people swarm to honey for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Holistic practitioners consider it one of nature’s best all-around remedies.

But outside of the laboratory, claims for honey’s healthfulness are unproven — except in the area of wound care and, to a lesser extent, cough suppression.

Here’s the truth behind the claims about honey’s health benefits — and an important warning.

Never Give Honey to an Infant

Honey is natural and considered harmless for adults. But pediatricians strongly caution against feeding honey to children under 1 year old.

“Do not let babies eat honey,” states, a web site of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

That’s because of the risk of botulism. The spores of the botulism bacteria are found in dust and soil that may make their way into honey. Infants do not have a developed immune system to defend against infection, says Jatinder Bhatia, MD, a Georgia neonatologist who heads the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Nutrition.

“It’s been shown very clearly that honey can give infants botulism,” a paralytic disorder in which the infant must be given anti-toxins and often be placed on a respirator in an intensive care unit, he says. Bhatia has never seen a case of infant botulism.

But parents may feed their infants cereals that contain honey, he says. “It’s cooked, so it’s OK,” Bhatia says. He explains that when it comes to botulism risk, “we’re talking about honey out of the bottle.”

The National Honey Board, which the USDA oversees, also agrees that infants should not be given honey. “The concern for babies stems from the fact that infants lack the fully developed gastrointestinal tract of older humans,” the Board’s web site states.

Antibacterial Honey?

In the laboratory, honey has been shown to hamper the growth of food-borne pathogens such as E. coli and salmonella, and to fight certain bacteria, includingStaphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, both of which are common in hospitals and doctors’ offices. But whether it does the same in people hasn’t been proven.

Shop for honey and you’ll see that some are lighter, others are darker. In general, the darker the honey, the better its antibacterial and antioxidant power.

Honey comes in many varieties, depending on the floral source of pollen or nectar gathered and regurgitated by the honey bee upon arrival in the hive.

Honey producers may apply to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for a grade on their product, but the score does not account for color. Rather, the honey is judged for clarity, aroma, and flavor, and the absence of sediments, such as honeycomb particles.

Preserving that Beautiful Buzz

19 Apr

Posted by Kerry R. Smith, Laboratory Approval and Testing Division Director, AMS Science and Technology Program, on February 25, 2014 at 1:00 PM

Work at USDA’s National Science Laboratories helps researchers and beekeepers better understand the effects of pesticide residue exposure on honey bees.

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

In agriculture, buzzing can be music to our ears—especially if that buzz means pollinators are busy helping produce our fruits, nuts, vegetables and field crops.  Unfortunately, the sound of my favorite pollinator, the honey bee, has grown fainter in recent years due to higher rates of over-winter colony loss. These losses were initially attributed to a condition described as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).

Many factors involved with CCD are not yet fully understood.  Honey bee research is focused on gathering data from multiple angles to increase the understanding of overall honey bee health. Many USDA agencies and industry partners are conducting research to better understand the complexities of honey bee health and working to develop best practices to improve the honey bee population.

Since 2007 the National Science Laboratories (NSL), a part of the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), has provided pesticide residue testing services to honey bee stakeholders, supporting research into the causes of CCD and other related honey bee health issues. As part of the long-term efforts focusing on the causes of honey bee decline, we test a broad range of pesticide residues in honey bee products—including pollen, beeswax, honey, nectar, royal jelly and the bees themselves.

In exploring possible factors, researchers studying honey bee issues have discovered many sub-lethal effects of pesticide residues, but no single pesticide has been identified as a direct cause of CCD.  It is possible that pesticide residue exposure may play an indirect role in honey bee health, which is why it continues to be an important aspect being studied.

Our work is helping researchers and beekeepers better understand the effects of pesticide residue exposure on honey bees.  Our scientists also work closely with Federal and State government agencies, academic institutions, industry corporations, beekeepers and honey bee advocates. With a reputation for quality pesticide residue analysis, we have provided apiculture—or beekeeping—sample testing for more than 60 stakeholders.

Located in Gastonia, NC, our lab is a user-fee supported facility. We offer chemical, microbiological, and bio-molecular testing services for on a wide variety of agricultural products including bee keepers wanting hive products tested for pesticide residues.

By providing high-quality pesticide residue results, the NSL is helping to keep that beautiful buzz going in the pollinator field.

Honey a sweet treat in buttery tart

18 Apr

Emily Luchetti

Published 11:05 am, Friday, February 7, 2014


I apologize if you’re expecting a Valentine’s Day column. The closest connection to romance here is the use of honey in the recipe.

I’m not a curmudgeon. I just think every day – and not just Valentine’s Day – is a day for something sweet.

When I choose honey as a dessert ingredient I don’t use it as an alternative for granulated sugar. I use it for the flavor it brings.

Honey tends to dominate desserts. That can be a good thing when you want a honey flavor, but if you are using it instead of sugar, be prepared.

An all-honey dessert doesn’t provide the sweetness balance needed in a great dessert. The sweetness stays on one level and doesn’t round out the other flavors. Using some granulated sugar balances out the overall sweetness and gives the dessert depth. Granulated sugar provides sweetness but stays in the background behind chocolate, pecans, vanilla and other dessert ingredients.

Pairing honey with walnuts and a buttery crust is a triple play. None of the three flavors is overwhelmed by the other; in fact, each is enhanced by the others’ presence.

For the accompanying Walnut Honey Tart, use a crust bound together with egg and cream instead of water. The egg and cream make a rich, buttery crust with a cookie texture; pastry made with water comes out flakier.

Don’t skip the step of toasting the nuts. Baking them in a preheated 350° oven for about 10 minutes, until they begin to color, brings out their flavor and dries them out. That way they won’t get soggy in a tart with a liquid filling like this one.

You can make a caramel with honey and sugar but I prefer to add the honey at the end with the cream. Honey’s golden hue darkens the cooking sugar and makes it trickier to see when the caramel turns a medium mahogany. If you don’t cook the caramel enough, it will be thin; cooking it too long will turn it bitter.

For the ultimate lightness, freshness and contrast between the crust and the filling, tarts should be baked and served the same day. You can line the dough in the tart pan a day in advance and refrigerate it until ready to bake. You can also prepare it a week ahead, wrap it well so it doesn’t get freezer burn, and freeze it until ready to bake.

Seller finds many uses for honey

16 Apr

Published: February 26, 2014 3:00 a.m.


Diana Parker | The Journal Gazette


Fort Wayne – Cindy Sheets, 48, and her daughter, Sadye Howald, 23, run Sweet Life Honey Farm and The BeeHive in Huntington County.

Sheets, a surgical nurse at Dupont Hospital, says the business was created in order to help her fruit trees.

“There’s a few fruit trees planted in the front yard,” she explains. “We had blooms but no fruit. Someone suggested bees. We fell in love with the bees, and it took off from there. The bees right now are in Texas. They’ll be here in April. We spread them out around here, close to home and surrounding counties.”

And the choice of the business name says a lot about the women. “We decided we wanted to live a sweet life from now on,” Sadye says.

Sheets says the business was formerly known as Majenica Creek Honey Farm. They started in 1991, but The BeeHive has been open since June, she says. “I’ve wanted to do it for years and things fell into place. We have a lot of things (on to do) list.”

Sadye laughs.

Sheets’ looks over at her daughter and says, “We have a huge list. We want to add a fruit market and tours.”

“Something educational, more classes,” Sadye says.

Sheets’ daughter also raises queen bees and ships them all over the United States.

“I’ve been doing it a while. I just never knew how much I liked it until last summer,” she says.

In addition to honey, patrons will find honey flavored candies and baked goods at The BeeHive (5386 W. 200 S. in Huntington) for sale. There are also honey and beeswax soaps, lip balms, lotion bars and other body care products.

Not all the honey on display is the same color. Sheets says that honey may come in different colors because of the seasons. While spring is a light shade, fall is darker and summer is usually a medium shade.

“All honey can be different colors, but last year it was too dry and we didn’t have any fall honey. But we had spring and summer,” she says.

In baking, Sheets replaces honey for sugar.

“To substitute honey for sugar in baked goods we suggest starting with only substituting half of the sugar,” she says. “Start with decreasing the sugar by half and using honey in (its) place. You should also decrease liquids by 1/4 cup for each 1 cup of honey used and try adding a 1/2 teaspoon baking soda for each 1 cup of honey used. Honey will often cause things to brown quicker so the oven may need to be adjusted along with the baking time. We like to start by decreasing the temp in the oven by 25 degrees.”

Q. What’s your favorite cookbook?

Cindy: Our house burned down three years ago. I used to have a cookbook filled with favorite recipes by ladies of the church I used to go to, but I lost it in the fire.

Q. What do you do to keep meals healthy?

Cindy: We eat lot of vegetables. And we try not to use oil in our cooking.

Sadye: We cook our vegetables in a little honey and garlic powder.

Cindy: Instead of using margarine, butter or oil, while making vegetables on the stove top try using 1 to 2 teaspoons of honey. This really brings out the flavor of the vegetable and it takes out the fat.

Q. Who would you say is your cooking idol?

Cindy: I always said my grandma, the late Charlotte Goodwin. She taught me to make noodles. She made Lefse, it’s a Norwegian recipe according to my grandma. My mom, Charlene Sheets, continues that tradition and makes that for my birthday.

Q. What’s something people would not find in your refrigerator?

Cindy: I don’t know what’s not in our refrigerator. Fish. I know it’s healthy, but it never tastes fresh to me. I like ocean fish, if it’s fresh.

Q. What one word would describe your cooking style?

Sadye: You’re a country cook or homestyle.

Cindy: From scratch.

Q. If you were stuck on an island, what’s one food you would have to have?

Cindy: I want a coconut tree so I could survive for the rest of my life. Coconut milk, toasted coconut, coconut shrimp. Or honey bees because they would be producing honey.

Q. What advice would you give beginner cooks?

Cindy: Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. If you burn one sheet of cookies, oh well, dog biscuits.

Honey Sweet Green Tea

6 green tea bags

Water, for steeping and mixing

1/2 cup of raw honey


Steep green tea bags for about 20 minutes. Remove tea bags and while tea is still warm, add raw honey. Mix and add ice and water to make one gallon. Serve. Makes 1 gallon.

Honey Mustard

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup honey

1 tablespoon mustard

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Mix all ingredients together. Makes 3/4 cup.

Honey Butter

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup honey

Whip with electric mixer until blended well. Makes 1 cup.


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