Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Honey White Wine Sangria and Buzzing Bees!

Honey White Wine Sangria
photo by sweet friend Helen Wheeler-Shaw

Yes, It's official, we are crazy.  I figure the first step to recovery is acknowledging there might be a problem.

Jess and I, along with 2 other couples ordered our honey bees and after lots of preparation and anticipation they are here and buzzing away.  After a lot of discussion about the plight of the bee population, the prospect of our own honey and the bonus to our gardening efforts, we made the decision to do our part.  Here's a couple of pieces about bees and how they affect all of us. 

Source: Guardian.co.uk

Bees in general pollinate some 90% of the world's commercial plants, including most fruits, vegetables and nuts. Coffee, soya beans and cotton are all dependent on pollination by bees to increase yields. It is the start of a food chain that also sustains wild birds and animals.

But the insects, along with other crucial pollinators such as moths and hoverflies, have been in serious decline around the world since the last few decades of the 20th century. It is unclear why, but scientists think it is from a combination of new diseases, changing habitats around cities, and increasing use of pesticides.

Bee Decline May Spell End of Some Fruits, Vegetables

National Geographic News

Bees, via pollination, are responsible for 15 to 30 percent of the food U.S. consumers eat. But in the last 50 years the domesticated honeybee population—which most farmers depend on for pollination—has declined by about 50 percent, scientists say.

Unless actions are taken to slow the decline of domesticated honeybees and augment their populations with wild bees, many fruits and vegetables may disappear from the food supply.

Bottom line....We can make a difference and just might get some really good honey out of the deal.

My amazing husband helped by building this bee-u-ti-ful "Top Bar Bee Hive".  A little different than what you might be used to, but perfect for the home beekeeper.  He constructed it and I painted it.

Complete with a door and viewing window, pretty custom!!

Our friends Helen and Eddie drove to Austin to pick up all of our bees.  One hive for us, two for them and two more for our friends Polly and Sam.  That means 12,000 buzzing bees per hive, times 5, equals 60,000 bees inside their suburban with them.  Man, that takes guts.  They all arrived safely with nerves still intact, the same would not have been said for me.  Cheers to Helen and Eddie!!!

The can is filled with sugar water.
 It keeps them alive until they are released in their hive.

Oops, one of the little buggers got out!

So now we have to get them OUT of that box and INTO their new home.  I made a little mistake and didn't order a veil and hat for myself.  So that's me in my redneck getup.  Jess loaned me his camo veil from his bow hunting gear and that's my cute new hat I bought while on vacation in Florida.  Who knew it could double as bee gear. 

We look like we are ready for a space walk.

Anyway, so we all remained calm (I practiced my yoga breathing) and got to work. It was Jess's job to do the honors of dumping the bees into their new home, pretty brave if you asked me.  Did I mention we also forgot to re-order his Epipen? 

Well he did it! 
No mad bees attacking us, no stings and everyone looks pretty happy!

Now we wait.

As usual, that means an excuse for a party!  Jess found the perfect wine for the occasion and I decided we needed White Wine Sangria to quench our thirst.
Perfect choice for the occasion!

The night before I made ice molds with fresh fruit and lemonade.  It helps to keep it all chilled and when they melt they don't dilute your Sangria. Once you have made the molds ahead of time it's super easy to throw together at the last minute, just make sure all of your ingredients are chilled ahead of time.

Honey White Wine Sangria
The Chef In My Head

2 bottles sweet white wine, chilled
1  lg can frozen concentrate lemonade, prepared by recipe on can
4 oz Brandy
32 oz Gingerale, chilled (I used Diet Gingerale)
1/2 C Honey
Fresh or frozen fruit of your choice
I used:
Fresh strawberries
Fresh pineapple
Fresh blueberries
Fresh raspberries
Frozen peaches
Sliced lemons
Sliced limes

The day before:  Prepare the lemonade and use it to make molds with some of the various fruits and freeze.  I used small Jello molds that I had but you can also use small Dixie cups.  Make sure all of your ingredients are refrigerated!

Just before serving:  Combine all remaining ingredients, stir well and serve.

Note:  I used one of the large glass jars with the spigot.  You will want to have a ladle handy so you can scoop a serving of the fruit into each glass.  It's pretty that way but honestly I think a punch bowl would have been just as pretty and easier to manage with the fruit. 

Let's start a movement to make the punchbowl cool again!!!!  Enjoy!

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  1. Looks and sounds like an awesome experience and a great recipe. My parents have some friends in pennsylvania who make their own honey on the side (just for fun) and that's where i get all my honey from. homemade honey is totally fabulous. I can't wait to try it in your sangria recipe this summer :)

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  3. This is Hungarian acacia honey packed in Spain. Acacia Honey is clear, transparent golden liquid that literally shines like a precious stone. Its bouquet is as bright as its color. Its texture and flavor are ethereal, ambrosia-like finishing with a haunting floral note. It is one of the mildest honey in the world.Honey from Spain


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