It’s that time of year again when the beautifully blooming flowers beckon you outside. But crippling allergies scratch at your eyes and keep you inside. According to World Allergy Organization, about 40% of the world’s population struggles with allergies every spring. But, did you know that eating raw, unfiltered honey, produced within a 50-mile radius of your home is like getting an all-natural anti-allergy shot? Research is in the early stages, but this scientific review touches on a few potential reasons why this could be. First, honey has anti-inflammatory properties that could ease irritation. Second, honey contains pollen from your local environment and by ingesting small amounts at a time, you could build up immunity. And honey’s benefits go far beyond allergy aid for that 60% of the population lucky enough to live allergy free.
Meet Björn’s Colorado Honey
“Honey, I’m home,” says Pontus Jakobsson, the Swedish beekeeper behind Björn’s Colorado Honey. To be honest, we aren’t sure if he is talking to his business partner and wife Lara Boudreaux, his adorable daughter Ester, or the bees; he has such an affinity for all three.
The couple met the way you would expect for free-spirited, globe-trotting nature lovers: on a backpacking trip in Bali, Indonesia. The two immediately hit it off and began traveling together for the next two months. By the end of the trip, they were in love. Jakobsson came to Colorado to visit Boudreaux and never left. “It wasn’t Colorado, I just really wanted to be with Lara,” he jokes. “No, actually I really love Colorado. It just felt like home.”
Originally, Jakobsson’s goal growing up was to take over his grandfather’s farm in Tämta, Sweden, called Skogshonung, which translates to “forest honey.” After making the move to Colorado, he instead carries on his grandfather’s legacy by naming his company after him: Björn. Jakobsson is also spreading the key ingredient in Swedish honey to America: Propolis is another bee byproduct with antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and antifungal properties.
“I think of it as a doormat for the beehive,” Jakobsson explains. “The bees make propolis out of plant resins and tree saps and then coat the entire hive with it. So, when the bees fly around outside, they may step in diseases. But, when they put their little feet on the doormat, the propolis stops bacteria, fungus, and viral infection from entering the hive.” A 2022 study discovered that propolis contains hundreds of polyphenols, antioxidants that fight disease and damage in the body. When applied externally, data shows propolis is one of the most effective cold sore and genital herpes treatments. One study shows that even just the act of eating it is good for our oral health by battling infections in our mouths and throats. And the big kicker—propolis fights cancer and chronic illness. A study done in 2021 found that propolis kills cancer cells and blocks their progression pathways and another study in 2019 found that eating foods rich in polyphenols reduces your risk of high cholesterol, heart disease, and stroke. Björn’s is bottling that magic so we can experience its healing benefits with products like the Propolis Colorado Honey.
Honey also has anti-infection properties that make it great for tricky skincare conditions such as acne. And, it is one of the few acne treatments that doesn’t dry out your skin while clearing up your blemishes. “Honey sucks the moisture out of the air,” Jakobsson explains, “so if your skincare products have honey in them, you are constantly pulling new moisture into your skin from the air around you.” Björn’s line of skincare products includes a face mask, sunscreen, hand and body cream, chapstick, and toothpaste. “We also add bee’s wax to our products to lock that moisture into your skin for all-day access.” Now, with Colorado’s climate having what feels like negative moisture in the air, the products do what they can.
Tricky Temperatures and Times
Jakobsson, likewise, does what he can with Colorado’s difficult-to-control climate. “Temperature fluctuations are not good for bees. But what is Colorado known for? Just that,” he says. “So, if we have a warm day in February and bees come out of their cluster and start flying around, that can be dangerous because as soon as the temperature drops again, they won’t survive outside of the hive.” It’s a difficult task to care for a hive in Colorado yes, but a labor of love nonetheless.
Björn’s quickly became a family business with Boudreaux as the artistic director and Ester, now 6 years old, as the cuter-than-cute poster child for the brand. She even has her very own baby-sized beekeeping suit that she wears when she wants to pet them. Yes, that is correct, some kids pet their dogs, and Ester pets her bees. She has a fondness for the hive unlike most children her age who know just two things about bees: their nectar is yummy and their stings hurt. Ester, however, understands the importance of treating the bees with kindness because without them, her favorite flowers would never bloom again and her favorite fruits would no longer be on the table.
Jakobsson stresses that without the bees, the food we eat would be really boring. The fruits and vegetables we are used to seeing on our plates would vanish. This is already happening in some parts of China where bee populations are declining. Farmers then have to hire manual labor to literally go around with a paintbrush, pollinating the flowers. This amounts to millions of dollars of labor. So, to save your favorite foods and save your money, let’s start by saving the bees.
Take a Taste
Björn’s Colorado Honey offers an extensive line of honey from the American-style raw traditional to European varieties of whipped honey. “Whipped honey is the only way we sell it in Sweden,” Jakobsson says. Honey crystallizes naturally as the fructose and glucose molecules bind together and are then surrounded by water molecules. All quality honey does this over time. But with Björn’s whipped honey varieties, Jakobsson grinds those sugar crystals during the crystallization process. This creates a smooth, spreadable honey and makes for a more stable product that will never change on your shelf. The newly released Lavender Whipped Honey is a great example of this Europe-style sweetener and a must-try. The flavor is milder in this form with a more coarse, granular texture that is well complemented by the subtle hints of lavender. Björn’s also offers a full line of health and skincare products, beeswax candles, honeycombs, bee-themed jewelry, honey spoons, and wildflower seeds.You can find Björn’s Colorado Honey stores in Breckenridge, Steamboat, DIA kiosks, and opening this summer, a store in Golden. You can also find Jakobsson and Boudreaux at many of the local farmer’s markets like South Pearl Street and City Park. Additionally, the products are sold at Marczyk Fine Foods, Rosenberg’s Bagels, Terra Apothecary on Broadway, Miller Lane Mercantile, Devil’s Food Bakery, The LOCAL in Parker, Süti & Co in Boulder, and The Mountain Fountain in Longmont. And of course, Björn’s Colorado Honey’s website. Once you get your hands on the family’s products, dig into their recipes. “We cook with honey every day,” says Boudreaux. “Honey has a much stronger flavor than white sugar so when you use honey to sweeten things like tea or baked goods, you don’t have to use as much of it.” Boudreaux also uses honey in savory applications like roasted carrots and fried chicken. The possibilities are endless, but if you are looking for a jumping-off point, consider trying the honey rose petal lemonade.
Honey Rose Petal Lemonade
- ⅔ cup pink lemon juice (If you can’t find pinklemons, regular lemons or other citrus fruit also work great.)
- ½ cup organic rose petals (Preferably from your or a friend’s garden.)
- ½ cup Björn’s Colorado Traditional Honey
- Ice (To taste.)
- Sparkling water (To taste.)
- Squeeze the lemon juice through a kitchen strainer into a glass measuring cup. Add the rose petals. Let soak for 30minutes, or overnight on the counter or in the refrigerator. Once the lemon juice has infused with rose petals, strain the petals out and pour the lemon juice into the measuring cup that you measured your honey into. Stir the lemon juice into the honey. It will take some time for the honey to dissolve, but keep stirring. If this is too time-consuming, add a tablespoon of boiling water to the mixture and it will combine much more quickly.
- Once you have your sweetened lemon juice, pour it over ice in a larger container like a glass pitcher or big mason jar. Generally, you’d want to double the amount of ice to liquid. Start with less ice, as it is it’s easier to add more ice than to remove some. Also, if you are using sparkling water, note that the lemon juice can make it bubble so some people like to add it after they pour the juice over the ice. You can also use still water.
- Once the lemonade has been stirred, serve in colored glasses or mason jars with slices of lemon and rose petals to garnish. Consider leaving the rose petals in the bottom of a clear pitcher with the ice on top. It keeps infusing the lemonade and looks lovely. Enjoy and happy spring!
Looking for more? Check out one of the family’s many other recipes:
Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Björn’s Sweet and Spicy Honey
Honey Crème Caramel
Björn’s Honeyed Blood Orange Panna Cotta
Canelés De Bordeaux Using Björn’s Beeswax In The Molds
Honey Sweet Mulled Apple Cider
Honey Rhubarb Raspberry Pie