Saturday, October 19, 2013

Fruit Salad with Wasp Honey

It may come a surprise to many that there as wasps in the world that produce honey.  In Mexico in particular that is a species of wasp called Brachygastra mellifica or Mexican Honey Wasp (pictured above), which is a type of neotropical paper wasp, produce copious quantities of honey.  They range from Texas well down into Mayan territory and this honey is traditional ingredient in several native cultures there; to some, it is even sacred!  It is a very good quality of honey, but not really commercially available, and if the wasps have been collecting from datura plants, it can be toxic.  Any type of honey can to substituted, buckwheat honey comes about as close to this as you can get.

This recipe comes from a funky little cookbook by Julieta Ramos-Elorduy Ph.D. (photos by Peter Menzel) called Creepy Crawly Cuisine.  I discovered this book when my late father dared me to give my mother a book on eating "insect critters" for her birthday one year....which I, obviously, took him up on.  It actually contains a far number of native Mexican recipes, especially Nahua ("Aztec") ones.  This one, though, is Mayan.  It can be easily varied.  So, I thought since we are having a belated birthday celebration for my mother today, I'd post something from this book.

Fruit Salad with Wasp Honey

2 red apples, cut in wedges
2 golden apples, cut in wedges
3 peaches, cut in wedges
2 bananas, sliced
2 pears, diced
3 oranges, peeled and sectioned
3 mandarins (that's a tangerine)
2 kiwis, peeled and sliced
1/8 lb. granola
1/4 cup raisins 
4 oz. chopped macadamia nuts
1 cup wasp or other honey
2/3 cup plain whipped cream

Mix all the fruits together, toss well.  Then add in the rest of the ingredients and toss to dress.  This best chilled.

South Seas Variation

1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
1 carambola, sliced

Plate these in an attractive pattern and mix the rest of the ingredient together in a bowl.  Either sprinkle the dressing on the fruit or put it in an attractive bowl and serve it along side as a dip.

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