Take a Big Bite Out of Beebread (Pollen in Honey Comb)

beebreadcover2One of the most delicious things to come out of a bee hive besides honey is pollen stuffed, white comb beebread.  What a treat!

Beebread is actual honey comb with packed cells of pollen and honey. If you’ve never tried it, this is something you should seek out from the many local beekeepers in Hawaii.

 

 

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Pollen sacks

Honey bees collect pollen from flowers and store it in pollen baskets on their legs and carry it back to the hive. You can see the little balls of pollen on bees in the field.

When bees collect pollen, they do so by only collecting from only one kind of flower each trip out of the hive. So, if it’s orange blossoms that trip, it’s only orange blossom pollen they collect and no other flower’s pollen.

 

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Pollen in comb

If you stand by a hive and watch,  you can see the many bees enter the hive each baring different colored pollen baskets. Pollen comes in many colors, such as, bright orange and vivid or pale yellow.

Pollen collecting bees do not also collect nectar. That’s another bees job for the day.

 

 

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Capped honey, beebread and brood

Bees use pollen to feed their young. As with most man devised bee houses, honey and pollen are in large supply. As a beekeeper, you learn to recognize the proper time you can successfully pull honey and pollen from a hive without giving the bees a shortage.

Maybe you’ve tried the somewhat dry, little balls of pollen you can purchase at the natural food store? This is not it.

Pollen in little balls are collected by the beekeeper by placing pollen traps at the hive entrance  As the bee enters the hive, the pollen is pulled from its body and drops down into a storage tray. These aren’t left on too long in most cases.

 

whitecombPollen collected this way is not as nutritious as pollen that’s been packed with precision into the honey comb by the bees. When the bees place pollen in the comb it ferments from the bees own saliva which contain additional enzymes and nutrients.

 

 

 

2014-12-09 12.14.13-1Not all beebread is created equal. Most often bees reuse comb for honey storage, pollen or brood. Older honey comb most likely has been used to raise young and contains the cocoon and is darker from the many years of use and propolis coatings. It takes a little more courage to sample older, pollen filled comb. If it’s packed with pollen, you won’t mind!

 

 

 

oldcombBee bread is very delicious and often tastes tangy, with flavors of citrus, flowers and other fruit flavors. Eating beebread will give you a boost of energy because it is high in vitamin B. To get a full break down of the nutritional value check out the Bee Pharm page by clicking on the link.

If you ever have the opportunity to try beebread you must. Though finding a beekeeper who is willing to share might be a challenge. I always offer it up to the people on my farm. A good place to look for it is at the Locavore in Hilo, HI. Most people love it -even if at first they are slightly leery.

 

 

 

 

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