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Watch GLBC’s Genji Leclair make Habanero Honey Margarita and Healthy Honey Ball on Good Day Northern Michigan

 

In celebration of National Honey Month this September, Great Lakes Bee Co. Owner Genji Leclair recently shared her Habanero Honey Margarita and Healthy Honey Ball recipes on Good Day Northern Michigan on 9&10 News.

“Margaritas are basically just citrus and tequila, so you can get creative in how you make it,” Leclair told Good Day Northern Michigan hosts Sid Simone and David Lyden as she began mixing grapefruit, lime, lemon and orange juices with tequila. “What makes ours special is the habanero honey – it’s a great alternative to sugar.”

Great Lakes Bee Co. – producer of Hasselman’s Honey – was founded by Larry Hasselman in Newaygo in 1974. Leclair, who grew up on honey, took over for Hasselman when he retired eight years ago.

“I’m a honey person. When I moved to Newaygo, I popped into the local grocery store and bought the local honey. When I tasted the honey, I had to call Larry to find out why this honey was so good,” Leclair said during the live Good Day Northern Michigan segment. “From there I learned all about the honey.

“We do it exactly the same way as Larry’s done since 1974,” Leclair added. “We’ve changed nothing. It’s all delicately handled. We don’t overheat the honey at all – it’s raw right out of the hives and it’s very special because the microclimate in Newaygo is very unique with an unusual blend of flowers. We only collect and sell the honey from summer – and so you have this crazy good taste that’s different – very different. It’s just amazing honey out of Newaygo.”

For the Healthy Honey Ball
• Leclair recommends having a base, such as oats (grinded) and a nut butter – peanut butter, almond butter or cashew butter.
• Then pick what you would want to mix in: cacao, turmeric, cinnamon, chocolate chips, cranberry, raisins, apricots, etc.
• Mix together – then add the secret ingredient: Honey
• Stir and roll it into a ball with your hands, then roll a topping like, coconut shavings or pecans or other nuts, over your ball and voila!

Charcuterie, Cheese or Fruit Board
• Add honey to enhance your charcuterie, cheese or fruit board flavors and pairings
• Blue cheese pairs well with honeycomb
• Goat cheese pairs well with lavender honey
• Leclair recommends playing around with different flavors of honey: pepper honey, habanero honey, etc.

“There are different flavors in the region depending on the floral sources,” said Leclair. “You can go to northern Michigan and you’ll get a lot of star thistle, which is a little bit lighter honey, and as you head down south, you get different types of flowers so you’ll get darker and different blends. It’s fun to taste honey from all regions. I really enjoy honey – people send me honey from all over the world and it’s just crazy how different they taste from region to region.

“Even just here in Michigan, across the state from north to south, you’ll get different honey and its different in the spring than it is in the summer and the fall. You’ll get a great experience tasting honey all over the world, but especially here in Michigan, we just have a lot of flavors.”

Great Lakes Bee Co.’s Hasselman’s Honey can be found at Whole Foods Grand Rapids, Spice Merchants inside Downtown Market in Grand Rapids, Rockford Cheese Shop; and in area Spartan Stores soon. It’ll also be available at West Michigan Meijer stores starting in mid-October. All honey products, including beeswax, candles, balms, salves, can also be found line at www.GreatLakesBeeCo.com

Watch Genji Leclair’s full interview on Good Day Northern Michigan, here.

 

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Month in the Hive – September

 

West Michigan bees have had a busy couple months making honey, and now it’s time for beekeepers to cash in on the gooey sweetness.

September is National Honey Month, or as beekeepers call it, “Harvest Month.” It’s a beekeeper’s favorite time of year as they visit their colonies and reap the benefits from the beehive’s work throughout the past couple of months.

Experts recommend that beekeepers harvest their honey crop when the hive is full of capped honey – or when a cell is completely covered in white wax and honey is not visible. In Michigan, this can happen anytime toward the end of August through the first frost – usually in early October.

Begin your honey harvest by clearing the honeybees off of the frames, then scraping the wax capping from the top of the honeycomb. (Don’t throw away the wax! You can do so much with beeswax – more on that later.) Once the wax has been removed, you are ready to extract the honey.

Trained beekeepers often use an extracting machine to get the honey out of the comb and into a jar. This helps to preserve the comb so the bees can still use it and fill it back up with honey.

If you don’t have a honey extractor, no problem. One of the more common ways to extract honey without an extractor is to crush and drain the comb. Using common household items, such as a wooden spoon or potato masher, mash the comb in a clean bucket and then strain it through a colander or smaller kitchen strainer.

We recommend feeding bees over winter and checking the sugar patties from time to time to make sure they have food.
Enjoy your freshly harvested honey by the spoonful or drizzled on top of your favorite dish!

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The Declaration – St. Paddy’s Day Cocktail

For this year’s St.Paddy’s Day, up your mixology game with this Irish cocktail. What makes the drink Irish? Well Irish whiskey, of course! This cocktail is sure to help you celebrate the holiday without all the shots of Jägermeister. Prefer a botanical taste to your cocktails? Check out our recipe for The Irish Maid, which uses elderflower liquor for a light, herbal essence.

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Honey Masala Chai

Fall is (almost) here! Time to bundle up, cozy up, and drink up some delicious, sweet- you guessed it, honey masala chai, commonly referred to in the U.S. as “chai tea”! After making this recipe, you’ll not only have a steaming cup of yummy tea in your hand but you’ll also have a home filled with the comforting aroma of these delectable spices. 

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Strawberry Honey Lemonade

August in Michigan is HOT! If you’re looking for a way to cool down, look no further than this Strawberry Honey Lemonade recipe. It’s the perfect combination of sour and sweet! So delicious, so refreshing. This recipe is bound to become a staple of your summer and your family’s new favorite refreshment. Sweetened with our natural, local honey, it’s is healthier than other lemonades that contain processed sugars. This recipe will provide your body energy rather than a sugar crash. Whip this up on a sunny Friday afternoon and enjoy all weekend long.

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Gold Rush Cocktail

The Gold Rush cocktail is as simple as it gets. It just needs three ingredients: bourbon, honey simple syrup, and lemon. This cocktail resembles a whiskey sour, except it takes honey simple instead of regular.  There’s also no egg white in a Gold Rush, meaning it’s smoother and less fizzy. Don’t be mistaken, using bourbon instead of whiskey along with the addition of honey truly transforms this cocktail, giving it a taste different from a sour.

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Mint Julep Cocktail

 
 
Celebrate The Kentucky Derby this year with a sweet, little twist on the iconic Mint Julep cocktail. All the same ingredients, just with a dash of honey to enhance the flavors in the Kentucky bourbon. This age-old drink can be enjoyed anytime of the year, but definitely something you should make if you’re partaking in Derby festivities.

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