Saturday, November 14, 2009

My favorite things: 1

Uli, 11 months--sweeter than honey

Yes, I did recently post about distressful commercialism and our nation’s unfortunate and exponentially growing desire for new/better “stuff.”  But I figure that even those living off grid find an occasion when they want/need something that they cannot feasibly make, grow, or gather themselves.  There’s no shame in needing others’ help, skills and ideas to outfit your house and home.

In the spirit of sharing and growing, I enjoy hearing about others’ favorite purchases (for example, CapitolMommy’s recent post), even if I don’t intend or cannot afford to buy the items they’ve purchased. Sometimes you can make something similar for yourself. Other times it’s just interesting to hear how others go about meeting their needs and solving household problems, and it starts a conversation in which you can share your own innovations. Similarly, I also like to hear about items that are flops, especially if I were considering trying those items myself.

So, I don’t ask that you run right out and buy the thing that work for me, but if you were already thinking about purchasing it’s like, I think it’s helpful to hear a review. Thus, here begins the first of what I plan to be a series (I’ll just say that the wool diaper covers review was a prequel).

One of my favorite things:

Really Raw Honey from Baltimore, MD

I buy mine at Woodman’s here in Madison, but wherever you are, if you’re having trouble finding good raw honey locally, you can purchase jars directly from the company via their website—they have free shipping!.

What I like about RRH:

  •  It’s packaged in glass jars, which is much nicer than the plastic that the majority of honey comes in. Glass is not only easy to recycle with most cities recycling programs, but it’s also easy to re-use at home (for example: I use a glass honey jar to mix lanolin with hot water—shake, shake, shake!—before adding the mixture to my woolens-wash). Also, if your household is one that takes months to get through a jar, honey can become hardened and difficult to scoop. When honey is packaged in glass jars I can happily heat the jar in some hot water to re-liquefy the honey without worrying about the glass leaching harmful chemicals into the honey—I can’t say the same of plastic containers. 
  • When you first open a jar of RRH you’ll see it’s sealed with “cappings” of honeycomb, pollen and propolis. You can scoop off the cappings and chew them like gum (they’re supposedly nutrient rich—not to mention tasty sweet!). 
  • The honey itself is creamy and opaque and full of goodness, not transparent like the refined honey you usually see in the grocery store. It’s easy to spoon. 
  • It tastes amazing!

I know honey is a controversial subject for those who are trying to reduce their use of animal products and live sustainably. I have cut honey out of my diet in the past (avoiding all honey-topped breads, etc.), but I’ve finally decided that I’m comfortable using honey if I buy it from a reputable company. And Really Raw fits the bill. I’ve called the company and believe they have compassionate and sustainable bee-keeping practices:
      • they always winter-over their bees
      • they leave the bees enough honey for their own use
      • they don’t clip the wings of the queens
      • they never transport the bees to single plant factory-type farms

However, for those interesting in avoiding honey or those looking for a substitute (while you’re waiting for your Really Raw to arrive!) I am always a fan of substituting good organic maple syrup or agave nectar for honey in recipes—a quick homemade maple syrup-and-mustard dressing beats a store-bought honey-mustard any day.

Hope your day is a sweet one!


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