BEEKEEPING IN THE NORTHEAST - An account of my beekeeping, not a treatise of expertise, but for friends & family who wish to keep bees vicariously through me, and for the occasional apiarist passer-by.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Adventures with Honey: American Bamboo (Japanese Knotweed)

I have always loved this "brown sugar" of the honey varieties here in New England. Dark, rich, but mildly sweet knotweed honey. Very high in the anti-oxidant Resveratrol. Some research suggest it helps the bees combat nosema disease as a fall nectar source. Of course, it is invasive, and there are very aggressive campaigns to eradicate it.

Nonetheless, last Saturday some beekeepers came up to the kitchen and we spun about 33 lbs out of just nine medium frames, but my personal supply came from Crystals Bees down in Massachusetts. The bees love it and it is amazing to eat, cook with and known to produce a wonderful mead. I'll find that out tomorrow, or at least in 3 to six weeks, after our class in mead making at the shop in Center Ossipee. James Lindenschmidt of will be teaching The Lore & Craft of Mead from 2 to 4 on Sunday, April 10. In the mean time, let's make cookies!

Ginger Knotweed Honey Cookies

Sift together:

  • 2 1/4 c flour
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup knowweed honey (or buckwheat or molasses)
  • 1/2 cup organic sugar crystals
  • 1 duck egg... or chicken
  • Optional: add raisins soaked in rum... yum!
Plop dough into a sheet of plastic wrap and roll into a rope for chilling. 1/2 hr in the freezer will do. Cut into slices, roll in organic sugar crystals - white or brown - and bake on a greased cookie sheet at 400 degrees for 12 minutes.

Quoting wikipedia: "Japanese knotweed flowers are valued by some beekeepers as an important source of nectar for honeybees, at a time of year when little else is flowering. Japanese knotweed yields a monofloral honey, usually called bamboo honey by northeastern U.S. beekeepers, like a mild-flavored version of buckwheat honey"