Conscious Food’s Executive Director, Sanjeev Azad, is a happy and proud man. And he has every reason to be. For the past three months, Sanjeev has been trekking the pristine, pure hills of Bhimashankar with his team in search of the elusive Harde Honey, and has finally found an ethically viable way to bring this to the market.
What is it about the Harde Honey that makes it so sought after? Why has Sanjeev been chasing this magical ingredient since 1990? A few basics first—Harde or Haritaki, is a medicinal herb, one of the Triphala trinity, which is known for its varied health benefits, ranging from alleviating respiratory disorders, correcting digestion, and promoting overall immunity. The thing about Harde honey is, that like most organic honey, this too is uncultivated. The Harde tree only flowers once a year; this makes the honey derived from the pollen of these trees, a single flora honey—a rare and prized commodity. The cluster of Harde trees that Sanjeev found was is the bio-diverse area of Bhimashankar but in the recent past, climate changes had affected the flowing of the Harde trees thereby resulting in a drop in the collection of honey.
The best custodians of the Harde honey in this area and truly in such cases, are the locals; in this particular instance, the resident tribals of the hills. Conscious Food went from house to house and met the tribals over a period of time, gradually wining their trust. Conscious Food buys Harde Honey from the Bhimashankar honey collectors at a fair price thereby ensuring the well being of the collector’s family.
This deep golden honey is more opaque than translucent (a sign of its purity) and has a bitter-sweet flavor, reminiscent of the trees that housed it—the Harde and Jamun. The delicate enzyme structure of this raw honey (unlike other commercially available honeys, which are pasteurized and stripped of their essential benefits) ensures that all the nutrients are kept intact.
The best way to use Harde honey is to simply stir it in your herbal teas or use in salad dressings or as a topping for breakfast pancakes. Paired with some nut butter, it makes for an excellent topping for crisp apples and seasonal pears, offering the perfect balance between sweet and savoury.
It is July—the season for the collection of Harde Honey has come to a close. Our bottles of pure, organic, ethically sourced Harde Honey have just come back from verification and we couldn’t be prouder.
Honey-Glazed Baby Carrots
This super quick recipe is a great way to get children to eat carrots and walnuts, and keep infections at bay thanks to the Harde Honey.
- 5-6 baby carrots, peeled and parboiled
- 2 teaspoons butter
- Sea salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- 5-6 walnut halves
- 2 tablespoons Harde Honey
- A little chopped coriander (optional)
- Toast the walnut halves in a dry pan. Set aside.
- In the same pan, heat the butter and toss in the carrots. Season with salt and chili powder and toss until the carrots are soft and cooked through.
- Turn off the heat, add the walnuts, drizzle the honey and sprinkle with a final flourish of freshly chopped coriander.