How bees make honey and what cooks can do with the storied sweetener are among the topics to be explored in a FREE presentation that will take place Friday, October 23, at 6:30 PM as part of the fifth annual Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival.

Master beekeeper Cecile Parrish and renown San Antonio chef Elizabeth Johnson will team up for Bee My Honey, a 90-minute session that will combine the science of bees and and the making of honey with a cooking lesson.

The virtual event allows for participants to engage hands-on with meal kits perfect for a stay-at-home date night while increasing understanding of how pollinators make one out of every three bites of our food possible.

Renown San Antonio chef Elizabeth Johnson will lead a virtual cooking class for menu inspired by honey. Courtesy photo

Details and registration link here.

“It’s an ongoing cause for concern that so much of our food comes encased in plastic, with people having no clue about the long term ramifications of our packaging choices.” said Johnson, who takes a local and seasonal approach to her menu at Pharm Table.

Johnson, a “Food as Medicine Guru” according to the James Beard Foundation, has created a honey-inspired menu. She promises that the virtual cooking lesson will be friendly to even the most novice of chefs.

Master beekeeper Cecile Parrish works as the Urban Agriculture Coordinator at Eco Centro and is one of the managers of Garcia St. Urban Farm on San Antonio’s East side where she grows vegetables and cut flowers. She’s worked on farms and as a beekeeper for more than a decade and refers to her bees as “my lovelies.”

Parrish will present the science of beekeeping and serve as “honey concierge” in a local honey tasting that will unfold during the webinar. Three local honeys will be sampled and discussed.

Master beekeeper Cecile Parrish checks on her “lovelies” at a bee hive in downtown San Antonio. Photo by Monika Maeckle

“People don’t realize that honey can taste as varied as wine,” said Parrish, pointing out that the type of blossoms harvested by bees, time of year, and other factors produce honey that ranges in color and taste from amber and pungent to blonde and tart.

In addition to supporting local beekeepers, and thus local bee populations, choosing and consuming local honey can also provide  important medicinal benefits.

Local bees make honey from local pollen which comes from local plants. Since seasonal allergies are often caused by these same plants, eating honey that contains local pollen can help combat those allergies by helping create immunity. 

In contrast, commercial, mass produced honey is often filtered to remove trace amounts of pollen, robbing it of potentially beneficial  nutrients that can help allergy sufferers by building immunity. Reports of commercial honey containing high fructose corn syrup also make the case for buying local honey.

Two meal kits will be available for pick-up at Pharm Table in San Antonio: A honey sampler containing honey from three different local farms, and a virtual cooking class meal kit for two that includes the makings of the honey-fueled feast that Johnson will prepare during the webinar.

Kits can be ordered until 9 PM Monday, October 19 at Pharm Table for pick-up before Friday’s event. 

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