What if we tell you that there is a massive fire blazing on top of an ice block, and the ice refused to melt? What if we told you that the fire was pink or even purple?
Sounds absurd, right? Well, it isn’t as crazy or impossible as you may think. You may not have heard of it before, but the Fireweed is one of the most popular wildflowers known in the Pacific, northern America, and Alaska, where Fireweed is the most abundant and well-known wildflower. And here steps the irony.
How a plant with "fire" in its name grows in one of the coldest regions on the planet? Funny enough, the herb was originally noted to rapidly dominate areas of land that had been scorched by wildfires.
It filled up gardens and plots just as quickly as it did to the damaged terrain, though its presence in agricultural grounds was not in the least appreciated. Hence the name Fire-weed emerged.
Fireweed has a short blooming season and reaches peak bloom by late July and early August. This makes Fireweed Honey premium monofloral honey, such as Sourwood honey, very rare and pretty expensive.
Because of its scarcity and the high price of real fireweed honey, Alaskan homesteaders would create a substitute by boiling the blossoms in a mixture of sugar and water.
This “recipe” is still used today, but the owners of the real recipe for fireweed honey are actually the bees!
But if one thing is sure, it’s that fireweed does, in fact, serve our diets well - just not directly. Fireweed or Champagne Honey is another one on our list of rare commodities, but it is oh-so-addictive once you get a jar in your hands.
So why don’t we take a look deeper into just how exactly this ironically named honey is formed:
Fireweed flowers are beautifully coated in bright shades of rose or violet and may even include a tinge of white in their petals. The herb is skilled in using this feature to attract passing honeybees and entice them to take a few sips of its sweet nectar.
What follows is a tedious process for the bees to transform this sugar-filled liquid into a rich and creamy natural honey mixture. The nectar is processed to remove excess water and then stored in the honeycomb's wax structure as a viscous syrup.
To get this on the shelves, beekeepers are responsible for stashing out the honey from the honeycombs just in time before the bees can use it all up as their food source. The other issue is that because Fireweed is a wildflower, its honey is often mixed with that of the nectar of neighboring varieties that bloom in the same season.
Some keepers try to isolate their Fireweed crops by searching for areas that have been significantly affected by fires, but not even that can give a 100% guarantee that the bees will only scout for nectar in these areas.
In the end, the farmers often find themselves translocating their hives in hopes of getting a pure by-product.
This makes it extremely difficult to come up with a pure batch of Champagne honey. If you do get so lucky to find an authentic jar on the shelves or, most likely online, it will definitely cost you some money.
Beware of sellers who promise pure versions of Fireweed honey but actually mix it with other types, just to make a few dollars more. The flavor will never be as genuine as the real deal.
Speaking of which…
Fireweed honey has an unmatchable flavor across the market. It’s such a shame that many have not come to know of its wonders. There is a distinct floral essence that comes with every serving of Champagne honey, almost as if you can taste its aroma.
Apart from this, it has the expected sweetness of any honey product and has a fruity or tangy aftertaste that lingers after each gulp.
The benefit is that the sugar content of Fireweed honey is much healthier than any of the supermarkets' granulated versions. It makes a great concoction with fruit teas and berry-flavored beverages.
Need we mention the importance of taking everything in with moderation? Though it is a healthier alternative, sugar is sugar and must not be consumed uncontrollably. But we do understand why you may want to with this honey.
Have you started to wonder about its color yet? Or did you assume that it would be just as pink as its blossom?
Fireweed honey is actually light amber and sometimes even a bit greenish. The resulting shade of the product depends on the source of the nectar.
Good sources of this unpasteurized honey can be found in countries with booming honey industries like New Zealand and Denmark.
Generally, honeys own a lot of characteristics that make them beneficial to our health. From medicine to beauty and just your basic food recipes, there is always a way to include them in your day-to-day activities.
The structure of honey is filled with natural enzymes, nutrients, pollen, and antioxidants that help keep you in good health and even improve your status if you haven’t been up to par for some time.
However, only raw honeys contain these components since the heat and sifting from ultrafiltration and purification processes often cause them to become denatured.
Try at least one teaspoon of raw Fireweed honey, or any that you may have at your disposal, to reap the benefits of:
Cold and flu relief
Wound healing and disinfection
Controlled insulin levels
Reduced digestive inflammation
When the writer said “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” it was no joke. Might we also add, “Don’t judge a honey by its name”?
It may not be different from the other type of honey in its usefulness and benefits, but Fireweed honey certainly stands out for its uniqueness in flavor and origin.