26 Oct Robin’s Huckle-Bear-y Honey Muffins
Robin Haglund, CPH, sent me this recipe for Huckle-Bear-y Honey Muffins along with a guest blog about bees and honey. She and Corky Luster, owner of Ballard Bees, will be speaking at the show about “The Sweetest Buzz! From Politics to Plants – Keeping Bees in the Urban Garden” on Sunday, February 27 at 2:45 pm in the Hood Room.
Bees, Bears & Berries
By Robin Haglund, CPH
Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat: I’m glutton for honey. Once, as a kid, my folks stopped at the local apiarist’s to pick up several pounds of honey for mom’s weekly bread baking. As a special treat, each kid got a honey bear squeeze bottle full of honey to enjoy. I managed to down that sucker that afternoon, and yes, I felt pretty sick afterwards. But, it didn’t end my love for honey. To this day, both my husband and my friend and Ballard Bee Company (http://nwf.gs/af8f2z) apiarist, Corky Luster, refer to me as the “honey bear”.
Now that I’ve admitted to my addiction, I want to be clear: I host honey bees in my garden many reasons eclipsing my infatuation with the sweet, golden oozy stuff they produce. As I’ve known for many years now, bees and other pollinators are facing declining populations. Despite any number of reports on the issue, we simply do not know yet what exactly is causing the overall decline. It may be a combination of problems ranging from pesticides to mites to pollution to stress to fungi and bacteria team efforts to possibly things we still don’t recognize. And, if the bees and other pollinators go, we’ll follow shortly behind them. (links: http://nwf.gs/aVAzRD and http://nwf.gs/bN26Uo)
Consider this: one of every three bites of food we eat can be traced to the work of pollinators and over 80% of flowering plants rely on pollinators for survival (source: http://nwf.gs/armqzA). Without the work of bees and their fellow pollinators, fruit formation on plants will weaken as well.
So, I keep honeybees. Corky makes sure the hives are healthy and well fed. I provide a space for their hives and create a pesticide-free, floriferous haven in which they thrive right along side wild bees, hover flies, wasps, hornets, hummingbirds and mason bees, which I host through Hunter’s Mason Bee program (link: http://nwf.gs/aiI50m).
In my own garden, I strive for planting diversity inclusive of herbs and native plants, which the bees love. One native I adore for just about any garden is Vaccinium ovatum (Evergreen Huckleberry). Not only does this plant look great throughout the year, but the pollinators love it, and it produces some of the most delicious berries ever – blooming repeatedly summer into fall. During late summer and early fall, I visit the local farmer’s market where foragers sell bountiful, forest-ripened huckleberries. To augment my small urban harvest, I buy them by the pound and freeze them for use in cobblers, jams, pancakes, and muffins in the winter months ahead. Combining two favorite foods of bees and bears, I fashioned a tasty muffin recipe that we enjoy year-round.
Robin’s Huckle-Bear-y Honey Muffins
Since these muffins are only mildly sweet, the flavor of the huckleberries is prominent. Still, I often can’t resist drizzling just a bit of fresh honey over a warm, just-out-of-the oven morsel. Go ahead. Call me a honey bear. I don’t mind. Muffin photos by Robin Haglund
1 ¾ cups unbleached, all purpose flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 cup fresh or frozen (not defrosted) huckleberries (blueberries may be substituted; bees love these too!)
5 Tablespoons butter
½ cup honey
1 egg, slightly beaten
½ cup milk
¼ t lemon zest (optional)
Preheat oven to 375F. Oil muffin tins thoroughly. Set aside.
Melt butter. Combine with honey. Stir until honey melts into butter. Add milk and egg.
In large bowl sift together flour, baking powder and salt.
Place huckleberries in small bowl with lemon zest. Add 1 T. of flour mixture and toss to coat berries to help keep them from “bleeding”.
Stir butter mixture into flour mixture. Stirring until just blended; dough will be sticky, not runny. Stir in berries.
Spoon about ¼ Cup globs of dough into muffin cups of tin.
Place in preheated oven and bake 15-20 minutes (or until toothpick comes out clean of dough.)
Enjoy these delicious muffins! For more information visit Robin’s website at http://nwf.gs/c00db4 or follow her on Twitter @gardenmentor. And don’t miss Robin and Corky’s important seminar at the show! For the complete seminar schedule, go to www.gardenshow.com. – Janet